Right in time for the Tour de France (which gets underway tomorrow) the Open University has released a new video series called Science Behind the Bike. During the past two decades, science has taken cycling to new places — sometimes good, sometimes bad. The introduction of performance enhancing drugs nearly damaged the sport beyond repair, and it certainly destroyed the careers and reputations of many leading cyclists. But all along, somewhere outside the public glare, many well-intentioned scientific minds have toiled away, trying to find legitimate ways to advance the sport. Physiologists, physicists, engineers, software designers, techies from Formula 1 racing — they’ve all brought a new perspective to cycling.
In the video above, Science Behind the Bike looks at how science and technology have influenced the making and breaking of the prestigious World Hour Record first established in 1893. Then, below, Forces breaks down the physics of cycling; Physiology explains, well, the physiology that boosts performance; and Technology digs deeper into the high-tech hardware that cyclists push along. If you’re a fan of the sport, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate appearances by Chris Boardman, Francesco Moser, Graeme Obree and Rebecca Romero.