Beryl Burton in the wind tunnel: What times would she be posting with today's equipment

CW Exclusive: New book recreates the position of the legendary time trialler to see whether or not she would still be the greatest

Beryl Burton in the wind tunnel
(Image credit: Paul Grove, CW archive)

As Beryl Burton’s sparkling old handmade steel TI-Raleigh bike was released and then carefully lifted from a mount, a series of engraved letters and numbers – ‘BB.1.81’ – briefly became visible on the bottom bracket. The exact machine on which Beryl raced during much of the 1980s, and which is photographed on the front cover of her autobiography, had just completed its most vigorous workout for more than thirty years. ‘People will struggle to believe this,’ muttered Dr Xavier Disley, one of the world’s leading experts on aerodynamics, as he clicked through various tables, graphs and spreadsheets and began to mentally compute the information in front of him. 

We were inside a wind tunnel at the Silverstone motor-racing circuit, and the objective for the day had been to finally resolve one of British cycling’s classic café stop debates.

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