This Cyclist Goes Faster by Flying Like Superman

Cycling is not just a physical activity but also a science. The key lies in finding ways to make yourself more aerodynamic, which would reduce wind resistance and ultimately lead to faster speeds. Michael Guerra, a fixed-gear cyclist from Dafne Fixed, has taken this physics concept to an impressive level.

In a recently uploaded video, Michael Guerra can be seen racing downhill in a Superman-like position, with his body parallel to the ground and legs extended behind him. The maneuver is both awe-inspiring and intriguing, with many people wondering how he manages to go faster.

First, let’s talk about drag, a force that holds back any moving object in the air, including cyclists. Reducing airflow obstruction is critical in cycling, enabling the rider to travel faster. The Superman position used by Guerra is designed to reduce drag significantly. By extending his body parallel to the ground, he creates a flatter profile that cuts through the wind more efficiently. Additionally, keeping his legs behind him reduces the drag caused by his lower body when pedaling.

Another critical factor that comes into play is gravity. Gravity is a universal force that pulls objects towards the ground. However, it’s not always easy to use it to your advantage while cycling. The Superman position used by Guerra is beneficial when going downhill as it allows the rider to be more aware of weight distribution. With his body extended off the bike frame, Guerra shifts his center of gravity forward and down, which gives him more control over his bike and allows him to go faster.

The Superman's Return - Michael Guerra is back on bike to fight road cyclists' crimes
The Superman’s Return – Michael Guerra is back on bike to fight road cyclists’ crimes

Maintaining balance while cycling is challenging, and getting it right takes a lot of practice. However, Guerra’s Superman position shows us that it’s possible to achieve balance even while in such an unconventional position. He reduces his wind resistance while maintaining control over his bike by keeping his arms and upper body low and close to the handlebars. This technique requires a lot of skill, strength, and flexibility in the neck, shoulders, and back.

It’s worth noting that not all cyclists should attempt the Superman position. For starters, it’s a dangerous maneuver that experienced riders should only attempt in safe conditions. Additionally, this technique is only useful when going downhill and should not be used while going uphill or on flat terrain. Attempting to ride in this position in inappropriate conditions could result in injury.

Fixed-gear cyclist Michael Guerra’s Superman-like position has overtaken the cycling world. It’s an impressive feat to watch and has raised many questions among the community. Ultimately, the Superman position reduces drag and promotes more efficient weight distribution while cycling downhill. This allows for faster and more controlled descents. However, it’s not a technique that should be attempted by novice riders or in inappropriate conditions. As with any sport, it’s essential to understand the science behind it and the risks involved. Cycling is not just a physical activity- it’s a science, too.

You may also enjoy reading these:

• 22 Best Physics Textbooks, According to a Harvard Ph.D. Student in Physics
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• Bicycle Powered Tree House Elevator
• Sherlock Holmes’ Most Difficult Math Problem: Bicycle Tracks

Ali Kaya


Ali Kaya

This is Ali. Bespectacled and mustachioed father, math blogger, and soccer player. I also do consult for global math and science startups.

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