'Cycling Science: How rider and machine work together' by Max Glaskin is a good looking book which, the blurb promises, 'takes readers through a wide variety of topics, from tyre rolling resistance and the difference between yield strength and ultimate strength; to the importance of aerodynamics and the impact that shaved legs have on speed.'

That it does. But before you take a deep sigh and roll your eyes at yet another complicated scientific textbook, just pause. This is not like other sports science books, which bamboozle you with complicated VO2 max graphs and highlight goals, which, to be honest, are out of the reach of all but the elite athletes.

Max Glaskin has the answers to those cafe stop conundrums.
Max Glaskin has the answers to those cafe stop conundrums.

'Cycling Science' sets its stall out in easy to understand chapters. Each topic within that chapter is then discussed over a double page spread, often phrased as answers to the sort of question you might well have found yourself asking - for example, "Should I buy lighter wheels?"

Treatment of each question is short and to the point, but with little loss or dilution of essential detail. There is just the right amount of narrative and scientific fact to explain the subject, with beautifully drawn diagrams to illustrate. For people like myself who massively struggled with physics, possibly due to the outdated Victorian textbooks I was subjected to at school, it is a godsend. In one illustration Glaskin highlights the benefit of using just one single front deep section wheel on a two-hour training ride; a saving of 30,000 joules of precious energy - marginal gain.

I don't think 'Cycling Science' is meant to be a cover to cover bedtime page turner; rather a reference bible to those questions discussed on a club run that nobody can give you a definitive answer to:

- Why do we still use oily chains?

- What's so special about carbon frames?

- What part does my tyre play in moving me forward?

- What difference does an aero frame make?

I think 'Cycling Science' would make an excellent addition to any cyclist's book shelf. It is by no means an idiot's guide to cycling science, but its accessible approach explains concepts and technicalities well enough for this idiot to make an informed decision about his holistic cycling existence.

'Cycling Science: How Rider and Machine Work Together' by Max Glaskin, £16.99 - www.quartoknows.com