What Is Bicycle Aerodynamics, and Why Is It Important? How to Decrease Air Resistance?
Aerodynamics is a discipline of hydro- and aeromechanics, which studies the laws of motion of air (or other gases) and the forces occurring on the surface of the bodies relative to which it moves.
What Is Bicycle Aerodynamics?
The aerodynamics of a bicycle is made up of components designed to reduce wind resistance by the bike rider, which has the most significant effect on the cyclist’s speed. The oldest aerodynamic component remains the curved handlebar. Over time, other parts of the bike have been created that are produced in an aerodynamic version. Frontal drag and air friction are some of the major aerodynamic hindrances.
A blunt object with many ledges offers a lot of resistance to smooth airflow, as well as the low-pressure areas behind the object. The high pressure in front of the cyclist and the low pressure behind him pulls him backward. Various fairings ensure that the air flows smoothly around the object and reduces the interference from air turbulence. Direct friction occurs when the moving air makes contact with the outer surface of the bike and rider. Therefore, riders use a tight fit to gain more aerodynamic capabilities and reduce direct friction.
Aerodynamic efficiency is a streamlined shape that has less air resistance, which allows you to ride faster with less energy. The higher the speed of the cyclist, the more energy he has to expend to overcome air resistance. Therefore, in preparing riders to achieve high speeds, not only power (and other physical) training is taken into account, but a lot of attention is paid to aerodynamic fit as well.
How to Decrease Air Resistance?
- Wear tight-fitting clothing. By far the easiest way to make a bicycle faster is to buy a good-cut cycling set of clothes that are perfectly tight around the body, while still leaving you feeling comfortable. This is usually the best way to achieve the expected results.
- Keep your bike in working order and make sure the bike has nothing extra. Excess parts on your bike add unnecessary resistance and weight. We mean excessive anti-aero equipment. For example, an excessively long brake hose, shift wire, or cables sticking out of the frame.
- Shave your legs. Specially designed tests of several cyclists before and after they shaved their legs showed that shaving their legs saved about 50 seconds for every 100 miles. We’ve written an article before about why cyclists shave their legs! Make sure you read it!
- Buy an aerodynamic bike helmet. While not a complete solution to the problem, buying a new helmet will kill two birds with one stone – you need to protect your head anyway, so why not get faster with this equipment? The aero helmet time savings is estimated at 1-2 minutes for every 100-150 miles. An aerodynamic helmet will definitely do you more good. This is one of the five things, combining the use of which will easily bring significant benefits, just like fast aerodynamic wheels and a quality frame.
- Get rid of the huge bag. If you’re in pursuit of speed, then throw away the huge seat bag. Believe us, it certainly won’t help you. If there is still a great need for it, then just use a smaller model of bike bag.
- Proper cycling clothes. Bicycling clothes that are tight on the body will have a good effect on your speed. Button up your clothes so that they don’t flap in the wind when you’re riding at a good speed, or better yet, use tight armbands or knee pads that you can easily pull off and put in your pocket in case of heat.
- Bicycle. The most important condition is a good quality bike. A professional and suitable bicycle can be not only comfortable, but also effective in terms of pedaling. It will allow you to take a comfortable, low stance for long time periods, rather than towering over the handlebars. Since the rider himself is also a point of aerodynamic drag, you need to consider the correct position in space, a comfortable position in the saddle, and the correct grip on the handlebars. If your arms are not spread out, but carefully positioned to the handlebars, the bike, and your whole body becomes streamlined. The same goes for the legs, the technique of pedaling is very important, the knees should not be spread apart, as by doing so you will increase the resistance.
Try it, and you are sure to succeed, and if you have something to share from personal experience, feel free to share it!
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