A good ride, and a bit of bike physics

This was a nice surprise:

I haven’t been on a real ride for a couple of weeks. Sure, I did CicLAvia last Sunday, but that’s sort of a lazy amble through downtown. Today, I actually got to do my regular Warner Brothers – Forest Lawn – L.A. River – Burbank Bike Path loop. I didn’t push, just rode comfortably… and had my Eighth fastest time for the route. Neat.

Two Points About Bike Physics:
(Note: If you are looking for bike psychics, please go here.)


  1. When a rider want to make a bicycle move, they apply force to the pedals, which transfer that energy into the crank, chain, gears, and wheels. The wheels transform the energy into acceleration. This acceleration is limited by the energy the rider puts into the system. Energy is also lost to forces like friction and gravity. In general, the amount of possible acceleration is lower than the acceleration possible from a car. So: If you are in a car, and you’ve pulled into a bike lane behind a bike to make a turn, it’s very likely that it will take the bike more time than the car to accelerate.


  2. Honking your horn will not transfer energy to the bike and so will not decrease the time it takes for the bike to get out of your way. In fact, in may increase the time, for the rider might stop to find out why you honked and/or stop to yell at you for honking at him while in the bike lane.


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