THE EFFECT OF BODY CONFIGURATION ON CYCLING PERFORMANCE

Danny Too

Abstract


Introduction
In the 1930's, Francois Faure, a relatively unknown racing cyclist, defeated the world champion Lemoire, in a 4 km pursuit race.
What was unique aboubt this feat, is that Faure used a supine
recumbent bicycle and broke track records that had been established on conventional bicycles. In 1980, the single rider Vector tricycle
established a new human powered speed record at 56.66 mph (25.33 m/s) with the cyclist seated in a supine recumbent position.
It is well documented that recumbent human power vehicles are
more effective aerodynarrrically than the standard cycling position (Kyle, 1974, 1982; Kyle & Caiozzo, 1986; Kyle, Crawford & Nadeau, 1973; 1974; Whitt & Wilson, 1982). With speeds of some human powered vehicles exceeding 60 mph (96.6 kmlhr) (Gross, Kyle & Malewi ki, 1983), it is obvious as to the importance of minimizing aerodynamic drag. However, when the drag coefficient and effective frontal area have been reduced in some human powered vehicles to 0.11 and 0.5 square feet, respectively (compared to 1.1 and 6.0 square feet,
respectively for a standard upright bicycle) (Gross et aL, 1983), it is questionable as to:
1) how much lower the aerodynamic drag can be reduced;
and 2) how significant such changes would be. The design of human powered vehicles has focused exclusively on the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle with the cyclist. To further improve
performance, it becomes necessary to focus on some aspect other than the aerodynamic properties. The most logical area to explore would be the human engine which powers the vehicles.

Keywords


cycling

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ISSN 1999-4168