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Video: Design Behind the Bike traces bike history, technology & aesthetics

Bernard Hinault, Phil Liggett and many more in new Open University video series

Got half an hour to kill? You could do a lot worse than spend a chunk of your lunch break watching this series of five short films from the Open University on bike design.

Called ‘Design Behind the Bike’ and produced by Anthony McCrossan and Cyclevox, it features bike designers and other experts discussing that place where technology, sport and aesthetics all intersect to produce today’s bikes.

Among the luminaries interviewed are five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault, commentator Phil Liggett, former pro Roger Hammond and product managers and designers including Geoff Giddings of Raleigh, Brian Naronha from Reynolds, Rapha’s James Fairbank, Ben Spurrier of Condor, Brieuc Cretoux from Mavic and Genesis duo Albert Stewart and Phil Hammill.

The series is a sequel to the 2012 Open University collection called the Science Behind the Bike and uses a similar format to take the viewer through the interplay between design, science and technology.

“This time the Cyclevox team travelled more extensively,” Anthony McCrossan told “We met Bernard Hinault at the Tour de France to talk about the dawn of carbon fibre, we traced the history of Reynolds tubing, the progression of household names like Raleigh and Condor and visited Mavic and other manufacturers.

“It was fantastic to get the views of ex pros like Roger Hammond and John Herety, as well as spending an enthralling few hours with Phil Liggett recalling his memories of bikes changing during his time on the Tour de France.

“It took a few months to film and produce the series, over 30 people to make it all happen, but we are really proud of the end product. The last series was the largest global download on iTunesU for a period of time and we hope to see this series get just as much interest.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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PJ McNally | 10 years ago

Thanks for this!

Phil Leggett speaks on the early history of the bike, as if he was there to witness it - hilarious.

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