An unconventional cycling manoeuvre has caught the attention of many on social media who thought it might have been some kind of online hoax.
And while ‘planking’ was an amusing internet meme from back in the day, this footage is not only the real deal, but it’s actually an effective cycling method backed by science.
The footage originally uploaded to YouTube in early 2017 of Italian cyclist Michael Guerra has popped up again online with many armchair experts questioning the legitimacy of the strategy.
But it appears the cyclist’s ‘Superman’ method where he is seen stretching out completely horizontal on top of the seat actually gives the cyclist an advantage over his competitors – albeit a dangerous one.
A 2016 article in Engineering Sport details how the position is a perfect prone and breaks down the physics to explain how:
> Despite the fact the prone cyclist has stopped pedalling he begins to accelerate.
> Despite the fact the other cyclists are still pedalling, he passes them all.
> The lead cyclist, in a tucked position and pedalling furiously, is unable to accelerate to match his speed.
Strange, but true. If you’re interested in the full explanation, you can read the article here.
Daniel is a Melbourne-based multimedia journalist with international experience as an editor, producer, designer and artist at some of Australasia’s biggest newsrooms. A longtime commentator and reporter on internet culture, he now journals his observations on digital life and counterculture for Boldly.