By Tim Gearey
It’s not every day that you’re lucky enough to meet one of your sporting heroes. I’m a massive cycling geek and have been for years. My love affair with cycling started way back in 1984 with the Tour de France when Scotland’s Robert Miller ripped the peloton apart in the Pyrenes on his way to the King of the Mountain jersey way. And I’ve followed le Tour and the sport ever since…the ITV4 coverage is fantastic and Chris Boardman’s expert commentary makes the programme.
Boardman is a legend within the cycling fraternity. He famously won an individual pursuit gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992; broke the world hour record three times; as well as winning three stages at the Tour de France. Since retiring, he’s been just as busy with TV work and of course launching a very successful cycling business. First came Boardman bikes, then Boardman clothing…and now his latest project the new amazing Boardman Performance Centre.
“Would you like to attend the VIP opening of the new Boardman centre” asked one of my colleagues? Without hesitation “Oh go on then. Yes” I said…”I’ll take one for the team!” (while in my head fist-pumping with delight!!)…
Located just outside Evesham (literally a stone’s throw from my house so thank you very much), the new Centre opened in May and undoubtedly is a cyclists paradise. The new Centre boasts the biggest range of Boardman bikes in the UK – racers, mountain bikes, tri-bikes and loads of gadgets and gizmos. What makes this Centre so different though it that it includes a data capture system, a wind tunnel, physiology testing, bike fitting and level of performance and positional data that will help the cyclist get the best out of their chosen sport.
During his cycling career, Boardman was a keen user of power measuring devices and notably pushed the boundaries when it came to bike design during his career…so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s still very much involved in technological developments to help cyclists long after retiring. It’s all about marginal games in most performance sports. Cycling probably more than most. Riders will happily pay to knock hundredths of seconds off their times, or improve their aerodynamic position.
The new centre will provide so much data covering all aspects of the rider – from their pedal stroke efficiency through to how they are sitting on the bike. No stone will be left unturned or escape analysis to the nth degree.
Our client, KW Special Projects and Sports Aero Solutions, in co-operation with Boardman, are the driving force behind the new wind tunnel within the Performance Centre. We were privileged to receive a behind-the-scenes look at the wind tunnel as part of the VIP opening. What really struck me is the sheer size of the thing. It reminded me of Space Rocket you’d see in a Space Museum. The wind tunnel is capable of producing 50 mph cross winds. Its fan blades are an incredibly 2.2m! Cyclists are going to love it – access to leading-edge technology without a huge price tag.
For any cycling geek, it’s a truly impressive facility. I’m convinced it’ll become a mecca for professional and amateur cyclists alike… people will come from far and wide…not just around the UK but all over Europe and further afield. It’ll put Evesham on the map which will be good news for the town. Even better for me, I can cycle to the place…happy days!