In this activity, students measure speed and drag for a person on a bike to determine the effects of aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance on a cyclist’s maximum speed.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • measure distance and time to calculate a cyclist’s maximum speed
  • describe what might affect aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance
  • experiment to find out how the maximum speed that a cyclist can reach is affected by different drag and rolling resistances
  • measure the forces of drag and rolling resistance for a cyclist on a bike being pulled at a constant speed
  • explain how forces need to be balanced for a cyclist to travel at a constant speed.

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • extension ideas
  • student worksheet.
    Published 22 February 2011