The Tour de France starts at the end of this week. As an avid cyclist, I love to watch it and find it offers great opportunities for science, health and physical education classes. Here are some of my essential resources for teaching and learning about the Tour de France.
The science of bikes and cycling
There is a lot of physics involved in casual cycling and racing. Here is a selection of videos that explain the physics of cycling.
The first time you ride in a pack of experienced riders, you will feel the power of traction. In addition to their incredible physical condition and their handling of the bike, drafting helps Tour de France cyclists to move quickly. the next video explains how the editorial staff works.
Minute Physics offers two videos on bike physics. In How do the bikes stay in place? we learn how bikes stay upright, how design and weight influence balance, and why bikes are difficult to balance in reverse. The counter-intuitive physics of the bike turn explains how we rotate the bikes.
The diet of a Tour de France rider
I’ve done long days on my bike over the years, including a double century ride and in the end, I always felt like I could eat anything in sight. It is because I have burned thousands of calories. But even then, I didn’t burn the 6,000-8,000+ calories that a typical Tour de France rider burns each day of the race.
What does it look like and what does it feel like to eat like a professional cyclist? That’s what Joshua Robinson of The Wall Street Journal decided to find out in his 6,000 calorie challenge. Watch the video below to see how he did it. Pay attention to the professional cyclist at 2:40 mark in the video for comments on energy gels, as they surprise you and make you rethink whether or not the average weekend warrior needs the expensive “energy sports” products for a mere hour of training.
If you want to delve a little deeper into the science of cycling nutrition, take a look at this video featuring the nutritionist from EF Education First’s professional cycling team.
How much do professional cyclists earn?