Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What's the Fastest Tire Pressure? - A Science Lesson

Global Cycling Network is a popular YouTube channel that produces high-quality videos about all aspects of bicycle riding. The videos are hosted by retired professional cyclists. The topics covered by GCN range from basics like picking a proper helmet to more nuanced topics like finding the tire pressure that will make you fastest on your bicycle. That's the topic covered in this GCN video featuring Emma Pooley, a retired professional cyclist who also holds a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering.

In What's the Fastest Tyre Pressure? Emma Pooley does some road testing of tire pressures before then heading into the classroom to explain the physics factors that influence the speed.


Applications for Education
Before showing this video to your students they could do some of their own testing of tire pressure on bicycles. Have them make some hypotheses about which tire pressure will be the fastest on their own bicycles. Or if your school is one that has bicycles available in the physical education department, make this experiment an outdoor activity during the school day.

The video could also be useful in demonstrating to students the many variables that must be accounted for when conducting an experiment. For example, in the first few minutes of the video there are many opportunities for students to identify variables that could affect the outcome of the experiment.