According to a piece on the BBC News website, Olympic cycling has taught us five science lessons…

  1. Slipstreaming saves energy – the cyclist in front uses about a third more energy than the one behind
  2. The centripetal force in a flat circular track would make it hard for cyclists to stay on track – so the velodrome is an oval and is banked
  3. Aerodynamics is important – by making themselves small, wearing sleek helmets and by riding bikes with solid wheels, the cyclists cut wind resistance
  4. Muscle makes a difference – cyclists build up different kinds of muscles for sprint (fast twitch muscle) and endurance cycling (slow twitch muscle)
  5. High tech clothing helps – once piece suits are designed not to soak up sweat and to smooth air flows

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

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