Stopping Dynamics

Here we will consider the process of a cycling stopping pedaling and coasting to a full stop without the use of their brakes. That means the process of slowing is simply due to rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag.

You would expect that while the speed is above 12 mph, that aerodynamic drag would be the dominant force slowing the CyclistCycle down, and as the speed drops below that it is rolling resistance that takes over.  That is the case. However, no cyclist is going to patiently wait until that happens, and will use their brakes to come to stop more quickly.

Stopping Velocity Profile

The velocity profile is as you would expect. While it would take a good two minutes to completely come to a stop, no cyclist would dream of patiently moving at a couple of miles per hour and not applying their brakes much sooner. You can see that at 20 seconds, the slowdown factor of aerodynamic drag is comparable to rolling resistance, and after that as it drops to negliable, rolling resistance is the dominant factor.

Slowdown Distance Traveled

While this graph might be interesting, most cyclists would not be interested in it unless they were rapidly approaching a cliff. At 20 seconds, the speed would have slowed to 10 mph and the distance traveled would correspond to 600 feet.

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