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Paperback | $29.95 Trade | £20.95 | ISBN: 9780262731546 | 485 pp. | 6 x 9 in | March 2004

"“University Presses in Space” showcases a special sampling of the many works that university presses have published about space and space exploration."

Essential Info

Bicycling Science, 3rd edition


The bicycle is almost unique among human-powered machines in that it uses human muscles in a near-optimum way. This new edition of the bible of bicycle builders and bicyclists provides just about everything you could want to know about the history of bicycles, how human beings propel them, what makes them go faster, and what keeps them from going even faster. The scientific and engineering information is of interest not only to designers and builders of bicycles and other human-powered vehicles but also to competitive cyclists, bicycle commuters, and recreational cyclists.

The third edition begins with a brief history of bicycles and bicycling that demolishes many widespread myths. This edition includes information on recent experiments and achievements in human-powered transportation, including the "ultimate human- powered vehicle," in which a supine rider in a streamlined enclosure steers by looking at a television screen connected to a small camera in the nose, reaching speeds of around 80 miles per hour. It contains completely new chapters on aerodynamics, unusual human-powered machines for use on land and in water and air, human physiology, and the future of bicycling. This edition also provides updated information on rolling drag, transmission of power from rider to wheels, braking, heat management, steering and stability, power and speed, and materials. It contains many new illustrations.

About the Author

David Gordon Wilson is Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the coauthor of the first two editions of Bicycling Science and was the editor of the journal Human Power from 1994 to 2002.


"...full of interesting material to ponder while pedaling down the road.", Jearl Walker, American Journal of Physics

"Bicycling Science...dispels the mythology that so commonly surrounds bicycle technology, while encouraging the passion riders feel for the sport...", D.R.S., American Scientist

"Will be cherished by the cyclist who wants to know more about what makes him and his bicycle tick.", Bicycling, Fred DeLong

"This expanded and updated edition of a classic work offers a comprehensive introduction to bicycle technology... The information Wilson provides may be most appreciated by bicycle designers and builders, but is likely to interest anyone who competes, commutes, of just likes to have fun on two wheels." Science


"The third edition of Bicycling Science is the best book of its type since Archibald Sharpe's 1896 Bicycles and Tricycles. Wilson's book includes excellent updates on topics ranging from bicycle history, human power, and bicycle stability to aerodynamics and mechanics. It will become the essential reference for those who really want to understand what makes a bicycle work."
—Chester Kyle, Co-founder, International Human Powered Vehicle Association

"If you want to really understand the physiology and physics that make your bike fun and fast, Bicycling Science is the one book you need. For more than a quarter century, it has been bicycle technology's Rosetta stone for dedicated enthusiasts and professionals alike. The third edition expands on this tradition nicely, adding and updating valuable information."
—John Schubert, Technical Editor, Adventure Cyclist Magazine

"In this much-modified third edition of Bicycling Science, David Gordon Wilson has at last compiled the definitive book about this efficient method of travel. He covers all of the bicycle's facets, from history to physics to aesthetics, in a book that is both exacting and entertaining."
—Paul B. MacCready, Chairman, AeroVironment Inc.

"Bicycling Science is the ultimate fundamentals book in cycle science. The third edition of this highly respected work is more comprehensive and better than ever—rigorous in its scholarship, yet clear and entertaining, at times even lighthearted. Wilson sets out what is established and known on the physics of cycles and human power, and identifies open questions and directions for ongoing research. For anyone with a deep interest in cycling science and human power, this book is simply essential."
—Richard Ballantine, President, International Human Powered Vehicle Association

"Bicycling Science is the bible for bicycle and human-powered vehicle development. It offers the reader a good understanding of the technical aspects of bicycle design, as well as a look back at where we've come from, and perhaps where we're going. Everyone involved in the bicycle industry should read this book—a real gem."
—Bob Bryant, Publisher, Recumbent Cyclist News