Faster by Dr Hutch: Dan Bigham and his relentless search for more speed

Dr Hutch speaks to engineer, aerodynamicist, World Cup winner and multi national champion Dan Bigham

Faster podcast with Dr Hutch
(Image credit: Stripped media)

This time, I’m talking to Dan Bigham. Dan is probably the only person who can stand right in the centre of the Venn diagram of cycling science and tech where literally everything – including riding – overlaps.

As a rider he’s a world championship medallist and a national time trial champion, and he’s also an aerodynamicist, engineer and manufacturer. 

He was the engineering brains behind the Huub Wattbike track-pursuit team – the four housemates from Derby who took on the national squads at the track World Cups, and caused them such embarrassment that the UCI apparently changed the rules to stop them.

His meticulous approach started with aerodynamics, “I reckon I’m about 30-40 watts more aero than most of the people I’m competing against,” he says. 

And while aerodynamics is still at the centre of what he does, he’s moved on to improving drivetrains, handlebars and other hardware, and moved on again to optimising time trial pacing strategies and team time trial tactics.

He tells me how he tries to balance his various roles and interests, and admits that as a rider there have been points where he’s almost given up training because the gains in speed he was making from engineering were dwarfing the gains he could make from spending the time out on his bike.

We also hear from Canyon SRAM director Beth Duryea about Dan’s role in her team’s win in the world team time trial championships in 2018.

And from Brian Cookson OBE, the former president of the UCI about how the sport’s law makers try to balance the technical innovations of people like Dan with the long-term interests of the sport.

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Michael Hutchinson is a writer, journalist and former professional cyclist. As a rider he won multiple national titles in both Britain and Ireland and competed at the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. He was a three-time Brompton folding-bike World Champion, and once hit 73 mph riding down a hill in Wales. His Dr Hutch columns appears in every issue of Cycling Weekly magazine