Cycling Science

April 25, 2014

Today’s Friday Rest Day book Review is of Cycling Science (2012) by Max Glaskin, 192 pages.

Cycling Science Book Cover

This is a fun book! I say that primarily due to all the graphics. It doesn’t go into too much detail about any specific aspect of cycling. Here is an image captured from the book – I had use the gear section since I just posted about gears :)


I got the image from another blog post about it by the author, which you can read here:

There is also a blog about the topics covered in the book written by the author, which you can read here.

Alright, back to the book itself. I also liked how simple the science part was to understand. I am sure that irritates some people who were looking for an in-depth review of the science of cycling, and I could see that from the title of the book. This book is geared (See what I did there? Haha!) toward a more novice person without a Ph.D. in physics or bicycle design. In several reviews of it I read, people referred to it as a “coffee-table book” and that’s probably a pretty accurate description of it.

The book is divided into 6 chapters: 1) Fundamentals 2)Strength and Stability 3) Materials 4) Power On 5) Aerodynamics 6) The Human Factor. Each chapter then covers a variety of topics in a format I like to think of as similar to a columnist. This makes sense, since Glaskin is “an award-winning science and technology journalist with a special interest in cycling” according to the back flap. Therefore, the book is a series of two-page spreads, each of which is in response to a question at the top of the page. For example, “How important is wheel weight?” and “How do wheels affect aerodynamics?” He then answers these questions with a few paragraphs of text and lots of diagrams/pictures.

Although it isn’t a giant tome of physical principles and super detailed, I actually think you can learn a lot from this book. And then of course you could always dig deeper in if you wanted – I’m sure those super detailed books/articles exist. You don’t need to know much, if any of this, to be a good Ironman cyclist, but I think knowledge is always – ALWAYS – a good thing. If nothing else, it makes you sound smart and cool, right? ;) I had a ton of fun reading this book, and I totally recommend it.


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