This is a photo of two people rowing a boat in a canal.
Figure 8.1 Rowing a boat downstream can be very relaxing, but it takes much more effort to row the boat upstream.

Like rowing a boat, riding a bicycle is a situation in which going in one direction, downhill, is easy, but going in the opposite direction, uphill, can be more work. The trip to reach a destination may be quick, but the return trip whether upstream or uphill will take longer.

Rational equations are used to model situations like these. In this chapter, we will work with rational expressions, solve rational equations, and use them to solve problems in a variety of applications.