Reviews of Cycling Science

Rather than read what I think of the book, here’s what reviewers are saying. – 4.5 stars out of 5!!!

“Journalist Max Glaskin has brought together his expertise in science and technology and his interest in cycling to write this book, which is clearly a labour of love and no hack project. Equal credit should go to the design team and the illustrators, Robert Brandt and Nick Rowland, whose graphs, charts and inventive graphics help make this book both accessible and a pleasure to read.” – “It is a godsend”

“This is not like other sports science books, which bamboozle you with complicated VO2 max graphs and highlight goals, which, to be honest, are out of the reach of all but the elite athletes…There is just the right amount of narrative and scientific fact to explain the subject, with beautifully drawn diagrams to illustrate. For people like myself who massively struggled with physics, possibly due to the outdated Victorian textbooks I was subjected to at school, it is a godsend.”

BBC Focus – “Fascinating read”

One of my favourite popular science magazines, BBC Focus, carries a top review in its July issue. Triathlete James Witts says “This is a great book for the two-wheeled aficianado”

Cycling Active – “Very accessible”

Derri Dunn also praises the book in her review in this great magazine, the Summer 2013 edition of Cycling Active. “…rather than sucking the joy out of cycling with the appliance of complex science, this fascinating read instead brings a very accessible new perspective through easy-to-understand language and plenty of images. There’s loads here you can apply to your own riding as well…”

Star Buy – 100% rating

A lengthy, detailed and balanced critique by Nick Dey, science lecturer and experienced road cyclist, includes the following:
“…straightforward, user-friendly, and consistently informative and entertaining”
“…well-presented and supported through the use of info-graphics and supporting text pitched at an appropriate level for the non-specialist”
“The presentation of some traditionally tricky physics is dealt with intelligently and thoughtfully”
“…allows the reader to access a deeper comprehension and, with diligence, understanding of what goes on when designing, building, riding and racing a bicycle”
“Experts, fear not! The book contains, as all books of this type should, a very detailed reference and further-reading list with web links”
“…can only enhance the experience of cycling, in whatever form you may take it”
I’m embarrassed to include more so read Nick’s review here.

Informative and entertaining

“It’s kept me chuckling and informed for a wee while now.” John Galloway, podcast 30 minute interview

Informative, illuminating… hugely entertaining

“Once you can ride a bike you never forget. But how often do you analyse, really analyse, how you and your bike work as one?  This is what  award-winning science and technology journalist Max Glaskin sets out to explain  in Cycling Science. Illustrated with diagrams and illustrations throughout, each chapter explores a different aspect of cycling, from aerodynamics to frame design, materials to power output. If you have ever wondered if shaving your legs is going to shave time off your Strava segments then this is the book for you. Informative and illuminating on many subjects, but hugely entertaining, read this book and your love affair with your bike will become that little more intense!” The Wheelsuckers’ 2013 Christmas Books Guide

Highly recommended for all readers

“Usually, coffee-table books are for browsing and display. Here is an exception. This book has enough content to get the attention of readers – from those interested in bicycling as a mode of transportation to those who work out on bicycles to professional racers…” N.Sadanand of Central Connecticut State University in CHOICE – Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April 2013

No need for a PhD

“This book was a pleasure to just hold and just look at – maybe only if you like bikes. It would be a nice book for your coffee table if you don’t want to read it. It contained a nice mix of facts and illustrations. The book contained scientific discussion of bike topics without calling for a PhD in physics. There were times it could have gone into more detail, but that wasn’t really the author’s goal. The text is heavily footnoted so anyone looking for more info on sections of the book can easily look it up.” Good Reads retrieved 2 May 2013

Rating: 9/10

Webzine Bike Soup has a long, well-considered review of the book which I won’t reproduce here because it would be a waste of bits, bytes and bandwidth when you can go to the site and read it yourself. The kick at the end is “Rating: 9/10”.

“You’ll love this”

“Ride a bike? Like facts and figures? Then you’ll love this – new book” Tweet from 09:50 Thursday 11 April 2013

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist…

Here’s an excerpt from a review by Steve, a recreational rider and blooger who spent hs own hard-won money to buy the book:

“Although the book isn’t afraid to take on scientific concepts such as rolling resistance, carbon foot prints, circular force, and other scary terms, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist (or any kind of scientist for that matter) to understand and enjoy the book.”

First tweet review – of UK edition

“got advance copy of Cycling Science book today. First impressions – a thing of beauty and substance.” Trevor Ward (@willwrite4cake) of BikeSoup online cycling magazine, 4.32pm, Saturday 6th April


Excellent, by the way

The blogger at Cycling Digest is too timid to reveal her/his name, so her/his kind comment carries no more weight than anonymous criticisms. “Max Glaskin… has written a book called Cycling Science…which is excellent, by the way…”

Great for the curious cyclist

“Are You Looking For A Scientific Performance Edge?

“Many cyclists find themselves baffled by science when they often simply wish to go out and ride their bike. However put in the right context you can use scientific advances to help your cycling training progress to higher levels.

“Max Glaskin’s Cycling Science: How Rider and Machine Work Together is a great text that helps to explane the wonders that account for speed and fitness. The book itself is written by answering a large number of cycling questions based on the subjects of the fundamentals of cycling, strength, stability, bicycle materials, the application of power, cycling aerodynamics, and the human factor involved in performance.

“This is a great book for the curious cyclist that wants to expand their mind.” Liam Hallam, Cycling Fitness

Wealth of fascinating explanations

“It explores the science behind the sport, something few of the 1.2 billion bicyclists around the world consider. How does bike geometry relate to gender? Does a tandem have scientific advantages? How does a bike turn effort into speed? How does the air flow around a cyclist? What position is the world’s fastest.

“There’s a wealth of fascinating explanations, illustrations and photographs that take riders from wobbling starts to the fastest speeds.” Sharon Wootton, The Herald

Treat for any regular rider

“A great book on bikes to flip through when the whether gets too cold to ride regularly. The physics of riding and the interaction between the materials in a bike and the human form are explained thoroughly and the illustrations are equally satisfying. You will find this a welcome diversion from the usual books on biking and its place in our lives today. A great treat for any regular rider. ” Henry at Book Court, Brooklyn NYC

Straddles the gap between popular and academic

“Max Glaskin’s Cycling Science: How Rider and Machine Work Together straddles the space between popular accounts typically found in cycling enthusiast magazines and the more academic treatments of David Gordon Wilson or Edmund Burke. It’s a fairly large gap, but Glaskin spans it ably.

“Approaching its subject from the standpoints of both rider and machine (as the subtitle promises), the book covers all the basics of human performance and how a two-wheeled conveyance converts that into the world’s most efficient transportation system. Illustrations are perhaps the book’s greatest strength: Prior to the back matter of notes, glossary and index, not a spread goes by without at least one.

“The book is also an unusual mixture of the timeless and the transitory. The basic theories—aerodynamics is one of the book’s strongest—have been established over more than a century and will persist; treatments of particular technologies—for example, comparisons of different brands of cranks and power meters—are undoubtedly already marching inexorably toward obsolescence.” David Schoonmaker in American Scientist, the magazine of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

Accessible and satisfying

“This book explores everything from the aerodynamics of bicycle helmets to reaction times to finding the perfect bicycle frame, drawing on studies from disciplines such as physics, brain science and biology. Its accessible format and broad range of topics make it well suited to satisfy the curiosity of the casual recreational rider, or even the hard-core cycling enthusiast.” The (Toronto) Globe and Mail

Entertaining, enjoyable and crystal clear

“Just received my copy today. Congratulations Max on this fantastic achievement. The graphics are incredible and your explanations are crystal clear. You’ve made entertaining and enjoyable what might otherwise be daunting and difficult topics. I love the idea of plasma generators to make us go faster, and the graphics of foot pressure stand out for me (no pun intended), but the riches go on and on. Of course, very exciting to see a reference to my work as well. A wonderful resource!” Hugh Trenchard, Vancouver BC

Absolutely gorgeous

“Your book arrived today, and it is absolutely gorgeous. I had no idea it would be so beautiful. It’s in my pannier for the ride home. I’m so much looking forward to losing myself in it, over the weekend.” Charles Komanoff, transportation expert, blogger and cycling activist

Love it

“Received Cycling Science in the mail and love it.” Online editor of Popular Mechanics.

Clear, interesting and compelling

“The main attractions of this book are two – the author’s ability to explain potentially difficult technical detail with clarity and interest, and the illustrations of what he is saying. These illustrations are both colourful and well laid out. But the author’s text make the book compelling for those riders like me who normally just get on the machine and hope it goes, without thinking any further. Now I am thinking a bit further! The whole thing is like the book of a TV series that hasn’t yet been made but perhaps should be.” John Rowntree,

Should I shave my eyebrows?

“Text, charts and art answer questions: How does my brain help me ride? How can I calculate the perfect fit? Does skin really affect riding efficiency (or, should I shave my eyebrows as well?)? Great for recreational riders to pros.” Tattered Cover Bookstore


The managing editor of the UK cycle industry website BikeBiz, Carlton Reid, describes the book and includes a few of his own comments:
“Glaskin has condensed a great deal of often tricky subject matters and dry research papers into an entertaining, informative coffee-table book….’Cycling Science’ is illustrated throughout by colourful, infographic-style line drawings, which aid understanding…”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: