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Understanding the Magic of the Bicycle

Basic scientific explanations to the two-wheeler's mysterious and fascinating behavior
Joseph W Connolly


The bicycle is a common, yet unique mechanical contraption in our world. In spite of this, the bike's physical and mechanical principles are understood by a select few. You do not have to be a genius to join this small group of people who understand the physics of cycling. This is your guide to fundamental principles (such as Newton's laws) and the book provides intuitive, basic explanations for the bicycle's behaviour. Each concept is introduced and illustrated with simple, everyday examples. Although cycling is viewed by most as a fun activity and almost everyone acquires the basic skills at a young age, few understand the laws of nature that give magic to the ride. This is a closer look at some of these fun, exhilarating, and magical aspects of cycling. In the reading, you will also understand other physical principles such as motion, force, energy, power, heat, and temperature.

About Editors

Joseph Connolly is a Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Scranton, his master's degree from the University of Illinois and his PhD from Pennsylvania State University. He joined the University of Scranton in 1983.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents: Introduction–the magic of the wheel / The evolution of the bicycle / A review of basic ideas / Linear motion / Forces—Newton's laws of motion / Gravity / Momentum–impulse / Work–energy–power / Temperature and heat / Rotational motion / Torque—applications to the bicycle / Centripetal acceleration—turning and bicycle stability


Paperback ISBN: 9780750328562

Ebook ISBN: 9781681744421

DOI: 10.1088/978-1-6817-4441-4

Publisher: Morgan & Claypool Publishers


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