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What is the physics behind a peloton when road cycling?
I like to understand things in more detail than anyone i know can provide!
- badbadleroybrownLv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
When riding, the vast majority of your energy goes towards overcoming aerodynamic drag. For 200lbs of bike & rider going 25mph it'll take about 300watts of power riding alone with about 75-80% of that energy going directly to overcome aerodynamic drag. If you're in a peloton, the lead rider has to exert that much energy to set the pace, the rider behind him exerts about 3-5% less.. the third rider about 5-8% less... by the time you're in the middle of the peloton, you're only having to exert about 200-210watts to maintain the same speed the lead rider is using 300watts to set. If you watch closely, you'll notice the guys at the front all pedaling hard while guys back in the group are able to pedal lightly and coast here and there.
This is why it's so hard for 'breakaways' to succeed in a big race... You get a handful of guys who break away from the pack trying to stay away for a long distance and what may be six or eight guys need to really work together to each take turns on the front pushing the pace or they stand no chance of fending off a large peloton of 100 or more riders where you can have only a minimal amount of people leading the train and still get 10-15 riders taking hard pulls at the front before falling back and recovering a bit.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
You have to overcome gravity, rolling resistance, and wind resistance. On level ground your are not fighting gravity that much and over 12 mph you are using more energy to overcome wind resistance then anything else. Riding at 20 mph takes twice the power that riding 15 mph takes. In a peloton the guy in front has to fight the full force of the wind while the ones behind him can pedal along at the same speed and use 30 % less energy by riding in his wind shadow.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
riders in front block the wind for everyone else
so you go faster
pretty dangerous though
- agb90spruceLv 71 decade ago
Here's a good start.Source(s): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drafting_(aerodynamic... http://analyticcycling.com/QCHome_Page.html