The Bicycle Science list is concerned with the science and engineering of bicycles. Appropriate subject matter includes analysis methods, experiments, and scholarship. A longer-term goal is to refine the questions we ask, and codify the understanding we develop.
The Bicycle Science list was conceived as an alternative to rec.bicycles.tech, which sometimes suffers from personality conflicts, superficiality, and recurrence of last year's questions. I'm aiming for more considered, serious communications.
Although the ultimate aim is not discussion per se, the development and dissemination of archival-quality organized knowledge will rely on a community of participants, who are glued together by that discussion.
THIS IS A MODERATED MAILING LIST
The Bicycle Science list is moderated -- every submission must be approved by the Moderator (who am I? see below) before it is posted. This allows me to ask for a level of quality which is rarely found in rec.bicycles.tech.
Submissions with the following defects will generally not be posted (I will either edit them, or send a note to the author requesting changes, or simply discard them):
anything but a courteous and reasonable tone
too cryptic to understand
too disorganised to respond to clearly (e.g., too many tangents)
too long and rambling to be read easily
containing factual or logical errors
relying on unsubstantiated opinion (especially if the facts are easily found)
lacking meaningful content
revisiting old topics out of ignorance
unrelated to the list's science focus
Sometimes I will ask for additional information (such as references or explanations) if it seems likely to make the contribution more useful or accessible to others.
Of course, exceptions are possible, so you can try to make a case, or just submit your material and see what happens. As a highly personal endeavour, this list is undeniably subject to Moderator caprice!
The bottom line is: most submissions will be edited, unless they are nearly perfect.
The editing/rejecting process is potentially frustrating for authors. Not only is it sometimes slow (hours or days), it bruises egos, and may even (mistakenly) misrepresent the author's ideas or attitudes. I will try to indicate when substantial changes have been made, and I will also acknowledge and try to correct what authors feel misrepresents them.
If you wish, you may clearly state (on the first line) that your submission may only be posted as is, without any modification. Of course, in that case you risk that I might not approve it.
Appropriate topics include, but are not limited to: any aspect of bicycle performance, construction, or failure; and most aspects of rider propulsion, control, 'fit', perception, etc. Issues of advocacy or public policy, and questions about 'what to buy' or 'how to train' generally won't belong, although there are grey areas. If you wonder whether a given subject belongs, you can either ask me or just go ahead and try submitting it.
Submissions will often concern:
mathematical or computer analyses
design of experiments or apparatus
user observations (in context)
logical questions or explanations
clarifying/correcting/extending previous postings
reviews of bicycle-related published literature
references to technical literature from other fields
industry standards & practices
debunking common mythology
policies and events (our own, or others') which bear on our concerns
Note: a good question or criticism can be just as valuable as a 'result'!
A VOLUNTEER ACTIVITY
The Bicycle Science list will become significant only if many people help make it so. This will entail expenditure, mostly of labor but sometimes of money.
If you feel you could contribute in some way, I urge you to volunteer. (Of course, technical postings have the greatest value to this endeavour, but I sense that the majority are supplied by only about 10% of the subscribers.)
Here are some suggestions for potential volunteers:
telling potential subscribers and contributors about bisci (e.g., post an announcement or description on rec.bicycles.tech or other newsgroups!)
administering an archive project (Eric Schweitzer is doing this for a model 'bicycle chain' archive)
maintaining a hypertext document at a stable Web site (Eric Soroos has set up a model for this at http://e-soroos.ce.washington.edu/bisci/)
co-ordinating/moderating a 'dissent archive'
digging for library references
reviewing library references
administering a 'database of references'
co-ordinating a 'subscriber-profile' activity
making connections to University engineering departments (regarding student projects)
administering a 'research prize'
supplying bike parts, or electronics, or writing software, for researchers who need it to proceed (many of us do this in our basements with no support)
Postings since November 1999 are archived and may be searched at:
Contains a lot of technical history of bicycles (as compared to cycling or history of bicycle companies, etc.). It discusses what are some of the engineering issues but does not treat any one subject in detail.
Mostly contains everyday cycling information but also contains some bicycle information. This is not an engineering text but I highly recommend it for discussing basic issues of physiology, lubrication, weather, traffic engineering, etc.
To subscribe or unsubscribe to The Bicycle Science list:
Sorry, the list is not currently active.
ABOUT THE MODERATOR
Sheldon Brown of Newtonville, Massachusetts, is a mainly self-taught bicycle mechanic, writer and Webmaster. He has been working with bicycles one off and on since the 1950s. He has worked at several different bicyle shops in eastern Massachusetts, including Marblehead Cycle, The Bicycle Revival (Cambridge), Life Cycle (Cambridge), Wheelworks (Belmont and Winchester), Frank's Spoke 'n' Wheel (Waltham and Framingham.)
He is service manager and Webmaster at Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts.
He is a co-founder of the Broadway Bicycle School, and taught bicycle mechanics for many years at the Boston Center for Adult Education.
He has written a great many magazine articles, for Bike World, Bicycling, and American Bicyclist. Some of these articles formed the nucleus of his technical Web reference resource, one of the largest bicycle-related Websites in existence.
The magnum opus of this site is the Bicycle Glossary, an encyclopedic reference which is also hyperlinked to the articles on the site.
He owns more bicycles than any sane person would want. For more about him, see his Home Page
Jim Papadopoulos email@example.com is a bicycle science fanatic and imperfect perfectionist. He is also a professional engineer (mechanical) and PhD (mechanical engineering).
His current co-ordinates are:
629 St Martin Ct
Green Bay, Wisconsin 54311
(waking hours only please)
WORK: Rexnord Technical Services
5101 W. Beloit Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53214
414/643-2747 tel, -3200 fax (with cover sheet only)
English by birth (1954) and raised in the US, Jim spent his pre-college years in Providence RI, Madison WI, and Corvallis OR.
College included metallurgy studies at Manchester Polytechnic (England), mathematics at Oregon State University, mechanical engineering at MIT, and mechanics at Johns Hopkins.
His jobs have included Post Doc (at Cornell Bicycle Research Project), and Faculty (at Cornell and at Northern Illinois U.). He also had a stint as a consultant and inventor with Bicycle R&D (his one-man engineering and testing business). Now he is an R&D engineer at Rexnord, a major manufacturer of industrial transmission products. (The R&D division also performs mechanical testing for Rexnord and outside clients.)
Jim's cycling activities have included touring, and road and track competition. (That was 15-25 years, and 30-40 pounds ago.) But nowadays it's only the occasional commute to work. He has dabbled in bike mechanicking, frame building, and component design.
He has thoroughly reviewed technical literature related to handling dynamics and to spoked wheels. He has carried out theoretical and/or experimental investigations into bicycle wheels, frames, handling, tires, biomechanics, components, suspension, and fatigue testing. He has written articles and columns on bicycle science subjects (and also a number of research reports). And, he has supervised a score of undergraduate student projects related to bicycles.
Jim is inventor on two US patents related to bicycles. He is a technical journal referee, and chaired the ASTM task group on handlebar/stem testing.
Before starting HBS, Jim was Associate Editor for Engineering, and a sometime contributor, at Cycling Science magazine, and a frequent participant in rec.bicycles.tech discussions
I can't think of any better place to acknowledge those who have inspired my bicycle science efforts:
David Gordon Wilson
Of course, that doesn't mean that they endorse what I'm doing here!