A service to help cycling enthusiasts gain an advantage enjoyed by the sport’s top professionals has been launched in the Midlands.
James Webb has created a product that accurately measures the aerodynamic impact of changes that riders make to their position, bike or clothing in a bid to improve their performance.
A small sensor attached to the bike captures data previously restricted to a wind tunnel, enabling accurate measurement of aerodynamic drag and allowing riders to test out different positions and equipment.
James’ idea was originally born in a Coventry shed six years ago, as he was keen to explore ways that riders could investigate the effects of crosswinds.
The idea has now been converted from a concept into a commercial reality for James, who has set up his own business, Red Is Faster.
It follows assistance from Coventry University Enterprises’ (CUE) Technology Start-Up project, which is part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
James has systems being tested in the UK and USA and has lined-up European customers for the system, including consultancy for professional cycling teams looking to travel faster. He is also offering the same service to UK based riders across the country.
James, who gave up his previous job as a software developer last year to pursue his first ever business venture, said: “This product is helping to break down the costly barriers that are currently in place for cyclists looking for techniques to help them fly with the wind, rather than against it.
“It can cost upwards of £600 an hour to hire out a wind tunnel to test out different setups, whereas I am developing an affordable product that can be used at a rider’s leisure in a real-life environment.
“The challenge for athletes is finding what is faster for them in the real world when something as simple as a small tear in their clothing could cost them a win. The challenge for Red is Faster was measuring the data needed accurately enough to tease out such small details.
“I’m really excited about bringing this product to market later this year, and I’m also looking into other products that can enhance performance in cycling and other sports.
“As an engineer with no entrepreneurial experience, the help from CUE Business Solutions has been invaluable in getting me much further along the route to success.”
Paul Bennett, Business Advisor Technology Start-Up project at CUE’s Business Solutions, has helped James to put the wheels in motion on his business – including providing access to a Proof of Concept £5000 grant to put towards the development of prototypes, which included accessing wind tunnel facilities at Coventry University to validate the accuracy of the product.
James also received one-to-one support from Paul in setting up a business, marketing support, and building a network of contacts to help develop and sell the product.
Paul added: “James has produced a clever concept that will appeal to a very popular sporting market, and we have helped him through many essential steps to ensure he is set up for success.
“Any idea needs to have proof of concept first and foremost, and after that it’s about protecting the product’s intellectual property, exploring avenues for investment and having a support network in place to get the idea off the ground.”
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