July 10, 2001–AnalyticCycling.com is a recreational web site powered by Wolfram Research’s new webMathematica engine. Technically oriented cyclists often make “back of the envelope” estimates of cycling performance. Now, AnalyticCycling.com offers web-based calculators that take a no-compromise, textbook approach to computing cycling performance. The site writes the equations of motion, expresses them as differential equations, and uses the power of Mathematica to give numeric solutions that can be plotted or evaluated to find the parameters of interest.
Tom Compton, an avid cyclist and long-time Mathematica user, is the author of AnalyticCycling.com. He provides the site mostly as a “labor of love” for people with an interest in cycling, but his audience includes users from more than 50 countries around the world. Recreational riders find it interesting to estimate the power their favorite racer needs to climb a hill at race pace. Triathletes use it to pick wheels for a particular time trial. Manufacturers quote it in their product literature.
The site has already been used to answer critical questions such as “Should I use my time-trial bike or my road bike at the Sydney Olympic games?” The course was expected to be windy with lots of turns, and the rider had wind-tunnel data for each bike. Says Compton, “We used the ‘Wind on Rider’ calculator at AnalyticCycling.com to model the course in three dimensions and the drag on the rider, bike, and wheels as a function of wind direction and speed. Integrating over the course gave a quantitative estimate for each bike. The rider rode the time-trial bike as recommended and ended up on the podium.”
The technology being employed here is newly developed by Wolfram Research and will soon be available to the public as webMathematica, allowing access to the world’s leading technical computing software from any web browser or web-enabled device. Built around Java Servlet, a proven server technology, webMathematica is fully compatible with state-of-the-art dynamic web systems and is the fastest, easiest, and most dependable method for providing custom-designed computations on the web.