Monday, July 1, 2019

Resources for Learning About the Tour de France and Science of Cycling

One of these two people has won
a Tour de France Green Jersey.
The Tour de France starts this coming Saturday. The race always ends in Paris, but it starts in a different place and takes a different route every year. This year's course starts in Belgium. You can see the whole course here on the official Tour de France website. If you or your students have an interest in the race or cycling in general, take a look at the following resources.

Wear a Helmet!
On Friday I witnessed a hard crash at over 20mph in which a rider in my group broke an orbital bone and suffered a concussion. Fortunately, he was wearing a top-of-the-line helmet or it may have been much worse. The rules of UCI (the governing body of professional cycling) require all riders to wear a helmet at all times. Just wearing a helmet isn't enough. The helmet much be properly fitted and buckled to your head. The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky offers some good resources about brain injury prevention. One of those resources is a short animated video designed to teach students about the need for wearing a helmet and how to wear helmets when biking or skateboarding. In the video students learn how to pick a helmet and how to properly fit a helmet.

Tour de France Animated
This animated video provides an overview of the tactics of the race, the logistics of the race, the physiology of riding in the race, and many other interesting facts about the world's most famous bicycle race.

How the Tour de France is Won
How is the overall winner of the Tour de France determined? It's not as simple as you might think. In addition to the overall winner's Yellow Jersey there are other prizes awarded in the race. Learn all about how the race times and points are calculated by watching the following video from the Global Cycling Network.

The Science of Cycling
There is a lot of physics involved in casual bike riding and in racing. Here's a selection of videos that explain the physics of bicycling.

The first time that you ride in a pack of experienced cyclists you'll feel the power of drafting. Besides their incredible fitness and bike handling skills, drafting helps cyclists in the Tour move quickly. The following video explains how drafting works.

Minute Physics offers two videos about the physics of bicycles. In How Do Bikes Stay Up? we learn how bikes stay upright, how design and weight influences balance, and why bicycles are difficult to balance in reverse.

The Counterintuitive Physics of Turning a Bike explains how we turn bicycles.

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