Monday, February 9, 2015

ST-5: Grannies, Freds, and LSD: A Non-Pedestrian Introduction to Bicycles

A review by Robert Sette
 As an avid recreational cyclist and rabid cycling fan, from the time I first perused the list of presentations for ATA’s 55th Annual Conference in Chicago I had circled the presentation mentioned above, which was to be presented by Carola Berger, an English-German translator. My anticipation level was high, and the presentation certainly did not disappoint.
 Berger used her experience as a cyclist and cycling coach to highlight not only some of the scientific aspects of cycling, for example the forces working on a cyclist and machine while cornering and the aerodynamic features of various types of racing bicycles, but also bicycle construction and componentry, as well as training parameters that are used to gauge and improve performance.
 In surveying the construction and componentry of cycles, Berger noted the international provenance of many components, from frames designed (and sometimes built) in the U.S., to saddles produced in Italy; from shifting components from Italy and Japan, to Australian seatposts. The presenter also gave a good overview of the terminology used for various parts of a racing bike as well as the materials (carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium) and processes for constructing bike frames, specifically related to carbon fiber/composite processes.
 Later in the presentation, Dr. Berger presented a number of terms used in professional as well as recreational cycling: terms such as peleton and echelon, and even LSD and brevet (not a patent, for you French speakers!) were discussed.
 The discussion that followed the presentation was lively and interesting; it was apparent that there are many cycling aficionados in the ranks of ATA. Perhaps at a future ATA Annual Conference we could organize an ATA Century; I’ll see you in the autobus, I’m sure!
 (To review the slides from Carola Berger’s presentation, please consult her website.)

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