There are a couple of existing questions about riding bicycles off of Earth.

Bicycles are lightweight and proved a reliable method of using leverage to multiple the speed and/or power potential of the human body.

In a low gravity and low atmosphere environment how could I make a bicycle like effective transportation. This answer by Loren Pechtel suggests multiple magnets in the wheels and a steel track. After considering it for a while, I wondered if a single round magnet in hollow wheel might work (the magnet would roll inside the tire, a single magnet per tire should maintain grip)

Then I got wondering about a cable system... Where the cable was your road way, similar to a gondola but without a central power source.

How could you make an effective very low gravity bicycle and roadway?

  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately a pressured space suit is not very useful to ride a bike. Movement of the knee and hip joints will be restricted and restrained by suit and its pressure. But don't forget the heat produced by the astronaut. When the astronaut is powering the bike with 150 W, about 450 W of heat should be removed from the suit to keep the suit temperature comfortable. Of course more oxygen and more carbon dioxide scrubber is used by the astronaut when driving the bike. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Feb 18 '19 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ Uwe - won't space suits need to be able to enable and cope with physical exertion? Or will restricted movement - and reduced work effectiveness - be an unavoidable consequence of working outdoors on Mars or in space? $\endgroup$
    – Ken Fabian
    Feb 18 '19 at 23:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ JCRM - For Mars, gentle accelerations and braking should still allow conventional bicycles to work on flatter ground and recumbent style - usually tricycles - might have advantages for low centre of gravity. Spiked wheels, like get used with ice sometimes could provide the grip needed on natural ground with inclines - with wrap around guards over them to reduce accidents I would hope. Not necessarily as low friction as we might like, but making metal roads would involve a significant investment in circumstances where ready resources are scarce and infrastructure costs are already very high. $\endgroup$
    – Ken Fabian
    Feb 18 '19 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ Obligatory Heinlein quote from his 1952 novel The Rolling Stones: "The solitary prospector, deprived of his traditional burro, found the bicycle an acceptable and reliable, if somewhat less congenial, substitute. A miner's bike would have looked odd in the streets of Stockholm; over-sized wheels, doughnut sand tires, towing yoke and trailer, battery trickle charger, two-way radio, saddle bags and Geiger-counter mount made it not the vehicle for a spin in the park - but on Mars or on the Moon it fitted its purpose the way a canoe fits a Canadian stream." $\endgroup$ Apr 10 '19 at 20:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.