Cyclists have real-time test data projected onto the floor in front of them so that any changes in position or performance can immediately be seen. Four HD cameras catch all angles.

Open access to elite cycle training at the Boardman Performance Centre

Image credit: Tim Fryer

Fancy testing your cycling prowess? A new wind tunnel designed specifically for cyclists is now open – and you don’t have to be a pro-pedaller to try it out.

Britain’s bike boom now has a new facility to add to its armoury. The first dedicated wind tunnel for cycling has been opened at the Boardman Performance Centre in Evesham, Worcestershire.

Cyclists have real-time test data projected onto the floor in front of them

Image credit: Tim Fryer

Previously the main wind tunnel options for cycling came from the world of Formula 1. To switch from automotive to bicycle use takes time and time is expensive. Occasional testing to get body position right, or perhaps find the most aerodynamic helmets and clothing, has been an option for the relatively well-funded elite British cyclists, but that has been the extent of it.

Aerodynamic analysis is used for training the body position to match the optimised model

Image credit: Tim Fryer

The new wind tunnel changes this. Testing costs hundreds of pounds rather than thousands – which may be more than loose change, but it does bring wind tunnel access to a broader user base. Cyclists can now use the facility for training, not just for quickly collecting test data. The facility can be part of a bike selection process.

Elite cyclists and enthusiastic amateurs are all welcome to book a wind-tunnel session that meets their needs

Image credit: Tim Fryer

It can also be used for R&D by designers of bikes and accessories. Enthusiastic amateurs can therefore now have a taste of the professional world, while the elite have a facility that will be the envy of international competitors.

The air inlet cone, made largely of plywood, features a three-stage conditioning process

Image credit: Tim Fryer

Boardman used KWSP to design, build and deliver the wind tunnel. Kieron Salter, KWSP’s managing director, says: “The entire LabView data acquisition system and the mounting of the bike is developed in line specifically with the cycling.” However, it can be readily adapted for skiing, skating, skeleton and even – by suspending the athlete from the roof – for ski jumping.

The Woodcock & Wilson fan draws air through at speeds up to 25m/s

Image credit: Tim Fryer

Using vision systems and a projector puts the athlete in control. Salter continues: “The difference in what we do is that most of the time the athlete can be the tunnel controller and operate it themselves – they are conducting their own tests.”

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