#367: Aeropants

Racing cyclists have resting heartbeats of 32, shave their entire bodies and dress in skintight lycra. These characteristics alone would mark them out as ‘different’ but they are, as a breed, also uniquely fetishistic about their kit. You can pay £700 for a pair of turboflex graphite composite aero blades…without having a clue about why they can cut your triathlon time by 0.0001 sec…you just have to buy them.

Today’s invention is for all those obsessives to whom such cycling minutiae matter.

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Given that aerodynamic forces are highly significant, I suggest that one of the most obvious sources of drag are the legs of the rider thrashing up and down. If you don’t want to encase him in a monocoque, then you have to live with that…well, no.

Each leg of the cyclist’s skintight outfit would be equipped with four, tubular air bladders (one for the front and back of the upper and the lower leg). Each of these would lie flat when deflated and when inflated, take up a triangular cross-section -like the trailing edge of an aerofoil.

As the cyclist presses down on the pedal, (ie leg moving backwards relative to the air) some of his effort is used to pump up the bladders on the front of his leg, providing it with a temporary, low form drag configuration. When the foot pressure is released (leg moving forward), the air is transferred to the bladders on the rear of the leg.

This can be accommodated within a standard flexible suit and would also provide an illusion of enhanced muscularity.

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