Monday, October 26, 2015

The Power of Breakfast

Having won the world championships in sprint cycling, and standing atop legs 74 cm in diameter, Robert Forstemann is undoubtedly a powerful man. But how powerful, exactly? A recent youtube video aimed to answer this question in terms of Robert's favorite breakfast item: toast. By attaching a 700w toaster to his stationary bike (along with a bunch of physiological measurement tools) we are able to see the exertion needed for that slice of golden-brown deliciousness (I, too, am a huge fan of toast).

Let's lay out our knowns and state assumptions. Robert maintains his level of exertion for 58sec, after which the bread pops up. The toaster is rated for 700w, meaning that for the duration of this time Robert is providing at least 700 watts through the bike. Let's assume he is doing the bare minimum. If you watch the video, here: obviously it is tiring, but numerically let's see.

So, Robert didn't really even earn his toast, as long as we are assuming standard white bread without butter (though everything is better with butter). Talking about cycling so much in class lately reminded me of this video, but the brief analysis above puts in perspective the luxury of power provided by an outlet. Imagine if we had to hop on a bike or do a bunch of burpees to power all of our cooking. Yikes. 

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