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Halfords donates state-of-the-art wind tunnel to British Cycling

Facility that formed part of the Boardman Performance Centre will be relocated to Manchester

Halfords is donating a state of the art wind tunnel that was part of the Boardman Performance Centre in Evesham, Worcestershire, to British Cycling, which will relocate the facility to Manchester.

The multi-million pound wind tunnel, conceived by former Olympic and world champion Chris Boardman and developed in partnership with Halfords is described as one of the most advanced in the world.

It will be housed at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance on the Etihad Campus in East Manchester, next to the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre.

Boardman Performance Centre-28.jpg

Coming into operation by the end of the year, it will be used by British riders ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and by the Great Britain Cycling Team as it prepares for the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It will also be available for public use, including the wider cycling community, cycling-related education programmes and equipment development and research teams. 

Stephen Park OBE, performance director at British Cycling, said: “The primary focus of the Great Britain Cycling Team is to support talented riders to achieve their best and continue to deliver world-leading performances.

“Having this facility in Manchester, the home of British Cycling, means that, thanks to Halfords, we will be able to continue to develop our understanding of bicycle aerodynamics, the related performance impact and therefore provide an even better service to riders who represent this country with pride.

“It will be a fantastic addition to the elite training facilities available to British riders while providing even better value for the investment we receive from the National Lottery via UK Sport,” he added.

Halfords will continue to be associated with the facility, which is being upgraded to ensure it remains at the forefront of research into cycling aerodynamics.

The company’s CEO, Graham Stapleton, said: “We’re delighted to have found a new home for this facility.

“We’re also pleased that the wind tunnel will continue to be made available to the public as well as providing the Great Britain Cycling Team with an invaluable world-class resource.”

Boardman Performance Centre-34.jpg

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods at Manchester City Council, commented: “East Manchester and the Etihad Campus continues to advance as a world-leading sporting centre of excellence, with the new wind-tunnel facility at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance a significant boost to the sports, research and science offer.

“The Manchester Institute of Health and Performance brings together leaders from elite sports, grassroots community sport, and world-class healthcare to deliver cutting edge care and facilities for everyone from elite athletes to the community.

“We’re delighted that British Cycling athletes will be operating within the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance ecosystem, along with welcoming a full range of users to advance all levels of cycling across the nation."

The Boardman Performance Centre opened in 2018, but Halfords, which acquired the Boardman Bikes brand from Chris Boardman in 2014, announced in March last year that it was to be closed following a review of the group’s businesses.

> Halfords reveals plans to shut Cycle Republic chain and Boardman Performance Centre

In 2019, road.cc’s Dave Atkinson spent a day at the facility to take part in an Aero Fit session, and you can read his detailed report of his experience by following the link below, and watch how he got on in the video.

> Wind assisted: a day at the Boardman Performance Centre

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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14 comments

Avatar
brooksby | 3 years ago
7 likes

Well, yeah, but the fan will be on backwards and it will have to go back to a local branch... 

Avatar
Sriracha replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
0 likes

Except you can't really put a fan on "backwards", as it still blows forwards.

Avatar
Seanster replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
2 likes

You can put a fan on backwards...

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Sriracha replied to Seanster | 3 years ago
0 likes

... but it will still blow in the same direction as before.

Avatar
Welsh boy replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
1 like

Sriracha wrote:

... but it will still blow in the same direction as before.

The fan is behind the rider and "sucks", it doesn't "blow".

Avatar
Sriracha replied to Welsh boy | 3 years ago
0 likes

So you're saying it blows out its exhaust?  3

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brooksby replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
0 likes

The blades are directional.  You can change the direction that it blows or sucks.

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wycombewheeler replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
0 likes

Yes, but if the fan is installed such that the blades have to be turned theynit has been installed the wrong way round.

Your argument is like saying the wheel has not been fitted the wrong way round, as the tyre and qr can be reversed.

In wind tunnel tests the fan should always draw air from the chamber, such that the effects of the fan blades do not interfere with the results 

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Mungecrundle replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
0 likes

What if you install it backwards and then run it in reverse?

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Sriracha replied to Mungecrundle | 3 years ago
0 likes

Whilst the profile of fan blades is directional mounting fan backwards on its rotor does not change the direction of the airflow, it just makes the fan less efficient because the leading and trailing edges and profile are all reversed. In the simple case of flat blades angled at 45 degrees it makes zero difference.

Installing the fan backwards and running it in reverse is identical to pivoting the entire assembly (other than the ducting etc) 180 degrees, so obviously the airflow will likewise be turned 180 degrees.

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mdavidford replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
0 likes

Seems to me you're working from two different definitions of 'fan'. You're taking 'fan' to mean just the assemblage of blades, whereas Brooksby et al are using it to mean the the entire contraption, motor and all. So you're just talking at cross-purposes.

Avatar
Hirsute replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago
1 like

Wasn't brooksby just making a very subtle joke independent of how a fan actually works?

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Captain Badger replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
0 likes

hirsute wrote:

Wasn't brooksby just making a very subtle joke independent of how a fan actually works?

Yeah, but it sucked....

Ps, to be clear, I actually thought it was quite funny. I'm just joining in the general tom foolery.

Avatar
mikewood replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
3 likes

brooksby wrote:

Well, yeah, but the fan will be on backwards and it will have to go back to a local branch... 

Far too subtle but I did laugh!

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