Biking biomechanics, pedalling muscles, cadence, etc.


As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)


I’m back online after an unplanned hiatus — I’m currently on a reporting trip in South Africa, and had some trouble (now sorted out) updating the blog. As a result, I didn’t get a chance to point out this Jockology column that appeared last week: it’s an infographic with a somewhat random assortment of neat tips and factoids about cycling. I particularly like the illustration of which muscles you use at various points of the pedal stroke.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to watch the Comrades Marathon, an 89-km race that had somewhere around 23,000 entrants. It was a pretty amazing sight. Here’s a picture of the literally thousands of runners streaming towards the finish line in the last five minutes before the 12-hour cut-off (at which point the race director fires a gun indicating the course closing, and volunteers rush across the finish line and link hands to prevent anyone else from crossing and getting an undeserved finishing medal!):


And here’s another shot showing something that I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot of in the coming month: those colourful horns are called “vuvuzelas,” and they make an incredible racket. Anyone with ticket to a South Africa game during the World Cup had better bring earplugs…