blog entries

Why cycling is not like Formula One

There's a lot of nonsense talked about the 'trickle down effect' of technology from high tech industries. Formula One motor racing is one example, where 'trickle down' is cited in order to justify its environmental contribution and astronomical costs.

There is very little trickle down from Formula One to the man in the street unless he happens to be driving a McLaren or Ferrari. Formula One in technology terms is largely irrelevant to you and me and will remain so until KERS and blown diffusers make their way onto everyday mass production vehicles.

The reason Formula One technology does not appear in mass production vehicles is the business of mass production itself which, whilst it brings the cost of a car within reach, cannot be employed to manufacture parts to very tight tolerances out of carbon, titanium and other exotic materials.

Which brings us to bicycles. Pro machines and our machines are, apart from the odd hand-cut tub, largely the same. I feel confident that I could replicate the mounts of Boonen and Cavendish with £10,000 in my pocket. This is a great deal of money but is less than the price of a McLaren or a Ferrari.

This accessibility is one of the factors that makes me feel close to the world of pro cycling and makes pro cycling relevant to me. I can ride the very same roads on the very same machinery. I can compare times, even.

This is one of the many appeals of our sport. Long may it continue.