Friday Transportation Seminar: That Bike is Too Heavy: Merging Bicycling Physics, Human Physiology and Travel Behavior

Portland State University, Transportation Research and Education Center


Friday, May 3, 2019
midnight - midnight CDT

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Are the Biketown bikes too heavy? Does better gear motivate people to cycle more? How much faster will someone go on an e-bike?

Although urban cycling is widely known as physically active transportation, the actual physics of cycling have been given little attention in transportation engineering and planning. In contrast, the field of sports science has developed detailed data and models of road bicycle performance, but only for sport and racing cyclists.

What can we learn about utilitarian cycling by integrating knowledge of the physical attributes of bicycles and cyclists?

This seminar examines the ways in which bicycle physics, and the physiology of cyclists, can influence outcomes of interest to transportation professionals, from speed and stopping distance to cycling frequency and health benefits. Findings will be presented from recent and ongoing studies aiming to quantify these relationships and enhance travel analysis tools with an understanding of the physical aspects of cycling. 


  • What are the key physical attributes of bicycles and cyclists that are relevant for transportation analysis?
  • How do these attributes vary among cyclists?
  • How do these attributes relate to travel habits and preferences?  

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