Science Online | Books & Reports | Newsletters | SB&F | Annual Report | Store
Home About AAAS Programs Membership Publications News Career Resources


Science Books & Films

Triple-A S: Advancing Science, Serving Society

Publications of AAAS and Science

May is National Bike Month
Welcome to the SB&F Editor's Blog. I am Maria Sosa, Editor-in-Chief of SB&F. Through this blog I hope to interact with the SB&F community and post news and information related to science books, videos, authors, opportunities and other topics of interest to our readers. I hope you find the blog useful and entertaining. Please, join the conversation by posting a comment on our Facebook page. I'd love to hear from you!


Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclist the month long celebration bike riding include Bike to Work Week from May 16-20 and Bike to Work Day on May 20. Biking to work is a great way to help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint, and a great way to add exercise to your daily routine. Check out the League of American Bicyclist web page for more information and ideas on celebrating Bike Month! 

And while on the subject of bikes…..why not learn about the science of bicycling with a few recommended books and a website from SB&F: 

Bicycle Science Projects: Physics on Wheels. Robert Gardner. (Illus.; from the Science Fair Success Series.) Enslow, 2004. ISBN 0-7660-1630-7. 

Bicycle Science Projects is a very good book for the middle school student and a good resource book for high school students as well. The introduction includes basic safety rules, science fair information and a metric conversion table. Reflecting the topics they examine, the five chapters of the book are titled “The Emergence of Bicycles,” “Bikes, Gears, and Speed,” “Using Your Bicycle to Measure Distance and Speed,” “Forces Every Cyclist Must Overcome or Apply,” and “Working on Your Bicycle.” Each chapter is subdivided into sections called experiments; each lists any formulas and conversion charts that will be needed. Each chapter starts with some background information that may be practical, historical, or both. A list of materials is then provided, followed by a list of ideas for science projects. The experiment is then presented, in clear and explicit terms. After its presumed completion, a set of follow-up questions is asked.  

Wheels! Science Projects with Bicycles, Skateboards, and Skates. Madeline Goodstein. (Illus.; from the Score! Sports Science Projects.) Enslow, 2010. ISBN 9780766031074. 

Wheels! is a thorough explanation of the physics behind the construction and use of bicycles, skateboards, and skates. The book begins with the invention, and physics behind the functioning, of wheels and axles. It then explains how positioning our center of gravity and correctly using muscles allows us to skate and ride effectively. A discussion of the conservation of energy and body manipulation helps explain skateboarder ”tricks,” and the center of gravity, gears, and wind resistance clarify the finer points of bicycle riding. In fact, almost everything you wanted to know about wheels and their uses in the means of conveyance listed in the title is explained. It is a fine introduction for middle schoolers and a good review for high school students. It could also prove useful to science teachers who are seeking practical experiments to illustrate Newton’s laws of motion, the conservation of energy, the center of gravity of an object, and several other points in the energy-and-motion curriculum.

Science of a Bicycle: The Science of Forces. Ian Graham, with Debra Voege, consultant. (Illus.; from The Science of …Series.) Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2009. ISBN 978-1-4339-0040-2. 

The Science of a Bicycle addresses the science of forces. The reader learns about the forces associated with the mechanics of a bicycle, including the forces that arise in the riding of these everyday objects. The book starts with the concept of gravity and includes a section about the center of gravity and how it affects stability on a bicycle. One learns about friction, both good (helping one brake) and bad (wearing down the bicycle’s gears without proper oiling). Simple machines are introduced in a discussion about gears and how the different parts of a bike work together, such as how springs and the crank influence how one feels while riding the bike. An insert on welding discusses materials used to make bikes. Newton’s three laws are stated on one page at the beginning of the book, with a brief description that illustrates the first and third laws well enough but doesn’t do justice to the second law of motion. Parts of a bike and how they affect motion are thoroughly addressed. Air resistance and drag are also included. The role of work and energy is introduced in a discussion of how eating harnesses the sun’s energy, enabling us to use our muscles to pedal the bike’s wheels. This discussion then segues into one on kinetic energy. On the same page, an examination of dynamos that can light a small bicycle light leads into a discussion of the law of conservation of energy and what happens to energy when a bike stops. 

Science of Cycling 

Learn about wheels, gears, aerodynamics, and more of bicycling on this site from the San Francisco’s Exploratorium museum.

Posted 12 May 2011 10:11 AM by Heather Malcomson
Filed under: