Thursday, June 11, 2009

5 Renewing Research Interest In Bicycles

"The early bicycle manufacturing industry laid the groundwork for interchangeable parts and the assembly line was used to bring down the costs of automobiles. Even Henry Ford's first automobile was driven on four bicycle wheels. The Wright Brothers utilized much from their knowledge of bicycle stability and component design to loft the worlds first airplane into the air. The automobile and airplane have received unbridled attention since their discoveries. We are now flying into space and developing cars with engines that run on water, but the bicycle has sadly lost the interest, both scientifically and financially, of the past century's scientists and engineers. If a renewed emphasis were given to the bicycle we may find we have already developed the truest "green" solution to many of the world's environmental, global warming, obesity, sprawl and gridlock problems. Using other industries as examples, these kinds of solutions most likely did not come from tinkering and backyard experimentation. Rather they required devotion of time and energy from the world's greatest scientists and engineers. At the Sport Biomechanics Lab at UC Davis, we like to think that we are taking a small step in this direction and we hope to aid the bicycle revolution in our own special way."

- Jason Moore, Bicycle Researcher and Graduate Student in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Delft University. More here.

P.S : You can read all about Delft University's exciting exploits into studying Bicycle Motion here. You can also read about Jason's bicyling experiences on his blog. Great stuff, Jason! Teach us all some Bicycle Dynamics when you can. And drop a hi sometime!

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  1. Ron, I think by concentrating on road bikes you missed the complete evolution of the mountain bike,that has happened in the past 30 years. We now have twenty seven speed four inch travel suspension bikes that weighs under 25 pounds with disc brakes that can ride over almost any terrain at a relativley quick speed. Under variable road conditions these bikes are by far the fastest bike ever engineered.

  2. As David Gorden writes in his book "Bicycling science".

    We should be proud that the bicycle frequently led to new technoligies, like:
    - Mass production and use of ballbearings
    - Pruduction and use of steel tubes
    - Use of metal stamping in production
    - Differential gearing
    - Tangent spooked wheels
    - Bushed power-transmission chains
    - Mass production and use of pneumatic tires
    - Good roads movement
    - and so on

    This how it has been and how it ALWAY will be ((o;

  3. Guido : I'm really proud of what cycles has offered to the world in terms of technology, inventions and ideas.

  4. Alloy : I apologize that I write little of mountain bikes. You will acknowledge that it is indeed tough to keep up with all developments in all areas of bicycles, whether they be road, mountain, bmx (look at what those guys are doing), electric bikes etc. Maybe I should do a better job. Shit.

  5. Anonymous10:12 AM

    There is also a strong research program beginning at Michigan Technological University in their Mechanical Engineering Department. Dr. Gershenson has been working with companies in the industry to advance their product lines. It seems that he has over 25 students from all majors collaborating with him and some supporting faculty.


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