# Physics of Mountain Biking Essay

1443 Words 6 Pages
Mountain biking is enjoyed by millions of people throughout the year, and is attracting more and more people everyday. Physics plays a vital role in this sport and without it, mountain biking would have no challenges and would cease to exist. The concept of mountain biking is simple. Just take your primitive bike riding skills, and ride trails found off the beaten path. From this notion of riding a bike, an Olympic sport has evolved and many people have found meaning and joy in their lives.

m = mass of bike and rider
g = gravitational force
A= acceleration
mu = kinetic friction coefficient

· Inertial Forces = m *A
· Frictional Force = mu * m * g * cos(theta)
· Gravitational Force = m * g * sin(theta)

Gravity is the force that
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In this case gravity is working to your advantage and is pulling you down the hill. So, as you bike down hills, you can accelerate due to your own power as well as accelerate due to the force of gravity.

Lets take a more in-depth look at this force called gravity!

The force of gravity exerts a constant acceleration of 9.81 m/sec^2 towards the center of the earth. While gravity is being exerted downward, a normal force is being exerted on the rider opposing gravity. This normal force acts perpendicular to the earth’s surface, and for our purposes the trail a biker is riding. So for example, if a biker were on a flat surface, both gravity and the normal force would be acting upon the biker, but in opposing directions, thereby canceling each other out and can be ignored. However, this combination of gravity and the normal force is what makes climbing up hills difficult, and riding down hills a breeze.

In the sport of mountain biking you experience both accelerations and decelerations. This is what makes mountain biking so exciting, but it also the reason why you should always wear a helmet! Acceleration is defined as a change in velocity divided by a given amount of time. A rider accelerates as he or she exerts energy and starts to pedal, but can also accelerate as he or she rides down a hill, and this acceleration is due to the force of gravity mentioned earlier. As you accelerate, the weight of the wheels affects the…