MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

Bicycling Science: Third Edition

Released in April 2004, David Gordon Wilson's updated Bicycling Science fills the gap between, on the one hand, shop manuals and training guides, and on the other, contemporary literature on human-powered vehicles.

Wilson, professor emeritus at MIT, navigates physics and physiology to produce a hefty source of insight.

He splits his book into three sections: the biology of human-power generation including the role of oxygen uptake and distributing, the physics of turning complicated muscle motions into linear velocity, and radical redesigns of the standard diamond-frame bicycle.

Bicycling Science can be used as a handbook for the armchair designer of human-powered vehicles or as a way to answer the nagging science questions that arise after a thoughtful bike ride.

Perhaps its most inspiring use, however, is as a bed-table compendium of standalone investigations into what engineers have come up with on a device that has been perfected, again and again, for decades longer than the internal combustion engine.