University of Sheffield researchers have created a large painting of a bicycle in a field to encourage people to cycle more and explain cellular metabolism.
The painting, created using eco-friendly materials and located near the route of the Tour de France has been unveiled following a recent study, which has found that although 43 per cent of Britons have access to a bike, only 34 per cent go cycling once a year or more.
The bicycle will also illustrate the Krebs cycle – the process by which mitochondria, the tiny “power stations” of the cells, turn food and oxygen into the energy needed for exercise. Local school children will play the part of molecules in a re-enactment of way the Krebs Cycle works on the field.
“The Krebs cycle is used by all aerobic organisms to generate energy and thanks to its discovery, modern endurance athletes are able to push themselves to their absolute natural limits,” said Matt Johnson, Fellow of the Krebs Institute at the University of Sheffield. “Today’s cyclists compete for longer periods than ever before and so understanding this process is vital.”
The Krebs cycle is named after Sir Hans Krebs who discovered how mitochondria produce energy while working at the University of Sheffield in 1937. Krebs identified two metabolic cycles that take food molecules, such as sugars and amino acids, and turn them into energy and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1953 for his discovery.
Up to three million people are expected to line the streets of Yorkshire to watch the opening stages of the Tour de France this July.
The Tour de France is the most high profile cycling event in the world and will this year start in the United Kingdom for the second time in its 111-year history. Yorkshire has a strong history of cycling achievements, being the home of Brian Robinson, who in 1955 became the first Briton to finish the Tour de France and was the first to win a stage of the Tour in 1958.
Following Team GB’s cycling success at the London 2012 Olympics, there has been an upsurge in interest in the sport, with 3,500 competitive events taking place each year in the UK. Despite this, many Britons fail to get in the saddle on a regular basis.
Invented in the 19th century, bicycles have come a long way since and are now packed with advanced technology