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Cycling Science by Max Glaskin

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Cycling Science book by Max GlaskinCycling Science: How Rider and Machine Work Together  by Max Glaskin is a new book from the University of Chicago Press that will be released in November.  I don’t have a copy of the entire book, just a 10 page preview sampler from the publisher, but from what I can see it looks like it might interest many of you who regularly read this blog.  As you might gather from the subtitle, Glaskin discusses the science of cycling as it pertains to both the bike and the rider. Unlike the classic books Bicycling Science by David Gordon Wilson, and Science of Cycling and High-Tech Cycling by the late Dr. Edmund Burke, which delve deeply into the science and engineering of bicycles and cycling, Glaskin’s books seems to be written for a more general enthusiast audience. That is not to say that it is not informative… just that you don’t need a degree in Mechanical Engineering or a PhD in Exercise Physiology to understand it. Glaskin does provide explanatory charts and graphs to illustrate his points, but if you are looking for page after page of equations and data (like Bicycling Science or even Bicycles and Tricycles), this may not be the book for you (again, based on just a few pages). If you want basic explanations of topics ranging “from tire rolling resistance,  the difference between yield strength and ultimate strength, to the importance of drag and the impact that shaved legs have on speed,” this book will definitely interest you.

The sampler booklet that I received included sections about gearing, aerodynamic drag, wheel design, and power output…and you can see photos of those pages below. These are just a small representation of the 192 pages in the full book, but based on what I have seen so far, I am looking forward to reading it when it becomes available.


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  1. Lloyd Lemons August 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm -  Reply

    Looks like the books contains some really interesting stuff. I’ll definitely check it out. On another note, I’ve just discovered your site. Looks like LOTS of interesting stuff. I’ll be back!

  2. Max Glaskin August 9, 2012 at 9:00 am -  Reply

    Many thanks for the heads up about my forthcoming book. It looks to me like the sampler you have received includes spreads written and designed before I got involved in the project. The finished book includes many references to reserach by engineers, physiologists and scientist, with some great graphics to make them more readily understood. There are some equations but, as you say, it’s not an engineer’s handbook. It’s the cycling science book for the rest of us. To get a taste, follow @CyclingScience1

    • James Thomas August 9, 2012 at 9:09 am -  Reply

      Hi Max, thanks for the comment and clarification. I’m looking forward to reading your complete book when it becomes available.

  3. Martin Hayman August 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm -  Reply

    Ah, Max! I trust the work prepared by Richard McAinsh of 3T will have proved helpful in preparing your book. I look forward to reading it and adding it to the supremely useful ‘Bicycling Science’ mentioned by Richard Hallett above.

  4. Max Glaskin August 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Martin, I, too, am looking forward to seeing the finished book. The US edition goes to press very shortly and is due on sale 2 Nov. Richard McAinsh’s work for 3T was very interesting. I’m not an engineer or physicist but I can only admire appreciate the depth and scope of ‘Bicycling Science’. In the meantime, I’m constantly coming across new research into all areas of science and cycling and tweeting it @CyclingScience1.

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