Human Control of a Bicycle: Jason K. Moore


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On the road to a higher degree, there are always many people who assist in the process, from one’s professors to librarians, but there are always some very special folks to thank. Jonathan Eisen, a professor at Davis, pointed out once during a talk that he thought the acknowledgement sections of papers were the most under-utilized sections in scientific literature. I agree with him and can only hope that I can give my gratitude to all who have helped me during my tenure as a graduate student.

This first person I’d like to recognize is Mont Hubbard. He has been my adviser since I took his multi-body dynamics course during the Winter of 2006. Along the way he has always been there for me academically in every way possible and I’m grateful for his dedication to working closely with his students and his willingness to more than share his time. I don’t explicitly name him much in the dissertation, but his thoughts, ideas, and support permeate all of the content. We’ve also become great friends and have worked together on many projects both inside and out of our academic lives. His search for Luke and my preliminary exams through a mound of trash is a typical example of his devoted care for his students. Secondly, I owe much to my long time lab mate and great friend Luke Peterson. We’ve been working on understanding the same bicycle stuff for years now and if I didn’t have him to bounce ideas off and his deep nerdiness to keep my work in check I’m not sure where I’d be with all this. Next, I owe my wonderful Fulbright experience to my advisor Arend Schwab and colleague Jodi Kooijman in the Netherlands. I’d like to thank them for giving me so many great opportunities and allowing me to see the research world from the viewpoint of another culture. I’d also like to thank my co-advisor Ron Hess at UC Davis who has worked closely with me these past couple of years on the human control and identification portions of my research. His expertise allowed us to stand on a strong foundation and get to the solutions much more quickly than we would have on our own.

We’ve had several graduate student interns who have played important roles in the project. Both Danique Fintelman and Peter de Lange were able to do their TU Delft Master’s internships with us. Danique helped up sort out our early design ideas for data collection and Peter enlightened us about system identification, eventually using some of the data collected here in his excellent Master’s thesis [DL11]. Chris Dembia worked with us one summer, impressing us with his excellent software work. Gilbert Gede helped with the mechanical design and construction of the instrumented bicycle and Garry Negroni documented the electrical system.

We also had quite a few undergrads work with us on the instrumented bicycle designs and the physical parameter measurements: Steven Yen, Mohammed Osman, Joe Rinek, Eric Chan, Chet Corcos, Steven Brendel, and Derek Pell all contributed to the work herein.

The experimental work couldn’t be done without many folks help: Jan Wright, Tai Stillwater, Alvin Yu, Andrew Kickertz, Zach Sabato, Elliot Marshall, and Ziqi Yin all helped run the experiments. I’m also grateful to the experimental subjects for sitting through long hours on uncomfortable bicycles riding the same line over and over again: Charlie Persson, Victor Alhm, and Luke Peterson.

Dr. Knoek van Soest allowed us to use the large treadmill at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and Richard Casius ran the motion capture equipment for us. At Davis, Dr. James Jones and George Crocker graciously allowed us to use the horse treadmill facility in off hours.

Several players in the bicycle dynamics world have come to my aid or given great insight over the years, in particular Jim Papadopoulos, Andy Ruina, Karl Åström, and Chet Kyle. Also the folks on the single track vehicle dynamics email list have always been a great help.

Both Batavus and Amped Bikes donated equipment for the projects. Both Dave Scurti at Pacific Medical Prosthetics and Orthotics and Renee Vondelft at Anchor Orthotics and Prosthetics helped out and donated materials for the body harnesses.

I made use of many software packages to analyze data, make plots, and build this dissertation, most of which are open source. I’d like to thank all the thousands of people involved in developing all the open source software tools that I use. And in particular, I’d like to thank Matthias Troffaes for helping me get his sphinx bibtex extension working with my bibliographic data in the final weeks.

On that note, I’d also like to thank the thousands of researchers that I’ve based my work on. If it weren’t for the available reports[1] of years and years of research successes and failures, I would have been in a much different position at this point. The ideas herein are an amalgamation of many people that I’ve read and interacted with over the years. I thank you all.

I’d like to thank the Fulbright program. The experiences I gained through it are invaluable and have affected my life in so many ways. Programs like these are essential for promoting understanding among cultures and building bonds among the countries of the world.

The UCD librarians have found virtually every obscure article that I’ve asked them for. In particular, I’d like to thank Bob Heyer-Gray for all his work.

Thanks to my UC Davis qualifying exam committee: Dr. Ron A. Hess (Chair), Dr. Fidelis O. Eke, Dr. Donald L. Margolis, Dr. Keith R. Williams, and Dr. Michael R. Hill.

The NSF grant we received really gave us the freedom to explore this somewhat obscure topic and I’m grateful that we have a country that supports the sciences like it does. Their official disclaimer follows:

This material is partially based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0928339. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Finally, I’d like to thank my friends and family for their support over the years. My parents, Cindy and Mark, have given me unconditional love and support through all of my schooling and I’m grateful to have such caring parents. My girlfriend, Yumi, has been by my side for the last two and half years where we have both been working to finish our doctoral degrees. Her love and support have helped kept me going through the high stress of getting all this done. She also drew the wonderful studying bear drawing for my cover page.


[1]Actually all papers aren’t always available and are often extremely difficult or not possible to obtain. Open access has to become the de facto norm in science if we expect to make greater strides than in the past.


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