Thursday, June 11, 2009

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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Guido said...

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;

Anonymous said...

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.