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Top pro cyclists in Open University video lectures

Graeme Obree, Chris Boardman, Enve's Simon Smart and Francesco Moser among star names...

The Open University has created a series of four films with Graeme Obree, Chris Boardman, Enve's Simon Smart and Francesco Moser that investigate how science and technology have transformed the sport of cycling.

The eight-minute films, produced by Cyclevox, are named The Science Behind The Bike, and we've embedded them below for your viewing pleasure.

Find out about the legendary Hour Record (the record for the longest distance cycled in one hour), learn about technology, discover the forces that have to be overcome to ride fast and understand how the body deals physiologically when riding at Olympic level.

In The History Of The Hour Record, Gerard Vroomen, Innovator and Cervélo Bicycle Designer says: "I think that Graham Obree is really the example of how innovation can help your performance.

"I think that Graham Obree raced against people who were probably athletically more gifted than he was but with aerodynamics its ninety per cent resistance; the body is two thirds of that and you come out with the better body position than everybody else it doesn’t matter that .. is maybe ten per cent less than the other guy. If your aerodynamic resistance is ten per cent less you're the winner.


In Physiology, Paralympian Sarah Story OBE says: "I think to make a top rider or even a top athlete in any sport I think you need a mixture of a few different things; mental attitude and the ability to work hard are probably at the very, very top of that.

"You do need Mother Nature. You do need a certain level of physiology and natural body composition. If you're naturally carrying weight around your hips or you know around your belly and you want to be an athlete then potentially you're not gonna be able to do that without even more hard work.

"That’s not to say you can't change what Mother Nature’s given you. Hard work is at the centre of most things and also a friend of mine used to say there's no escalator to success. You have to take the stairs."

Inspiring stuff.

The four films can be downloaded via iTunesU.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on

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