Air resistance, also known as drag, is the force that opposes the motion of an object through the air. The air resistance depends on the shape, size, speed, and density of the object and the air. The more air resistance, the more energy is required to overcome it and maintain or increase the speed.
Air resistance is derived from the Latin words for air (aer) and resistance (resistentia). It is a concept in physics that describes how air molecules collide with the surface of a moving object and create friction and pressure.
Air resistance is relevant for all types of cycling, as it affects the performance and efficiency of the bicycle and the cyclist. Air resistance is the main source of resistance for cyclists on flat or downhill terrain, increasing exponentially with speed. Therefore, cyclists may try to reduce their air resistance by using aerodynamic equipment and techniques, as mentioned above.
Some synonyms or related terms for air resistance are drag, wind resistance, or aerodynamic drag.
An example of air resistance in action is the drafting or slipstreaming technique, where cyclists ride closely behind another cyclist or a vehicle to take advantage of the reduced air resistance in their wake. This can help them save energy and increase their speed.
Alex Lee is the founder and editor-at-large of Mr. Mamil. Coming from a professional engineering background, he breaks down technical cycling nuances into an easy-to-understand and digestible format here.
He has been riding road bikes actively for the past 12 years and started racing competitively in the senior category during the summer recently.