Friction- an evil double agent.

There was a mental crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné race yesterday on a patch of newly laid tarmac. After a rain shower, there would have been zero grip for the tyres on the fresh black oiled surface. Makes us think that cyclists spend their entire career and disposable wallet dealing with friction.

We generally wish to minimise friction on the body for airflow, chain rotation for efficiency. The hubs and bottom bracket, we lightly grease and polish to diminish friction for speed. Within the chamois we match the pressure points for comfort and work to eliminate friction during the pedalling rotation. Friction is the enemy of cycling.. on all but our tyres. 

Between rubber and road we need friction, without it we are lost. To corner and climb safely is a dance with friction.  Too much and it affects our speed, not enough and we see the hedge close up. So we adjust tyre pressures and tyre widths to fine tune the balance between sending it and washing out. 

 Friction makes us indulge in ceramic bearings and has us waxing chains at dawn on race day. We fuss over chamois creams,  3D saddles and silicone grease impregnated with teflon and graphite. All in the battle with friction. We love it and we hate it. 

As the peloton slid down the road in Southern France yesterday, their dance with friction was assaulted by water as a lubricant . The area of the tyre that touches the ground, or the tyre patch, creates a frictional force called TRACTION with the surface.  The water and oil on the road surface greatly reduces the traction. Zero friction on a chain is celebrated, on a road it is deadly. So Friction hold me close, hold me up but set me free.

We dance every time we ride. 

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