Ryder’s Runaway Bike

From a friend: I called into the office of a fellow who is doing a Research PhD in Astrophysics following on from a First Class Honours in Mathematical Physics. I showed him the video of Hesjedal’s ‘spinning bike’ in Staqe 7 Vuelta a Espana 2014. We both agreed that perhaps had the TV motorbike stopped short of his bike and we were to have seen perhaps another 3 to 4 seconds more of Hesjedal’s ‘spinning bike’ it would be safe to conclude that whatever he was sitting on, it wasn’t a conventional bicycle! That said it looks fairly dubious from what little footage there is as the bicycle remains relatively stationary from 8 seconds to 11 seconds and then, very weirdly, from 12 seconds until it goes out of view, it magically starts to turn counter-clockwise on the road. Again, another 3 seconds would have been a help, but my wiser friend from TCD (Trinity College Dublin) concurred that it looked extremely suspect.

We viewed a number of videos of crash compilations from a number of Indoor Cycling Velodromes where the falls occurred at high speed on what are extremely smooth surfaces with relatively minimal friction when compared to a public road. In all crashes observed in the Indoor cases the bikes just slipped ahead with little or no directional deviation until they came to rest. The only exceptions being where a foot or a leg clattered off the bike while the rider was becoming detached. What was also noticeable was that the indoor cyclists showed no concern whatsoever for their bikes when they had fallen and appeared to be attempting to settle themselves to see if they had sustained any injury as a result of the fall in each case. Looking through a number of the dodgy cycling road tour videos of the falls of suspected ‘mechanically-propelled-riders’ they seem to demonstrate an inordinate amount of concern towards grabbing their bikes and getting them upright after a fall… My TCD colleague and I concluded that if we were on a jury judging this we would concur with the view that in Hesjedal’s case the bike was being propelled alright but not by the cyclist himself!
Ryder’s Runaway Bike


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