FORMER Olympic gold medalist Chris Boardman brought his show ‘An Evening With Chris Boardman: Triumphs and Turbulence’ to The Lowry, Salford on Thursday (June 2). Quays News entertainment reporter Rachel Foy went along…

Known as the father of modern British Cycling, Chris Boardman MBE enthralled an audience at the Lowry Theatre with memoirs from his new book: Triumphs and Turbulence. He was joined on stage by friend, colleague and sports journalist Ned Boulting, who asked questions about the book and what first motivated him to write an autobiography.

Initially he didn’t want to write a book, but he then met for coffee with Andrew Goodfellow, a well-known publisher and came out writing a book. He explained that after a while of trying to write the book, he felt like it was too difficult and met with Goodfellow for coffee again, but came out still writing a book. Chris and Ned had the audience in stitches of laughter as they believed the book was two and a half years late!

Chris Boardman: Triumphs and Turbulence Chris is an inspirational British former professional cyclist, he won a gold medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics, has claimed the world hour record three times and in 1994 became the first British rider, since Tommy Simpson in 1967, to wear the race leader’s yellow jersey in the Tour de France.

Throughout the evening Ned asked Chris about his achievements and surprisingly to the audience he is very modest about his professional cycling career, considering what he has achieved.

I do tend to side-step my biggest achievements for example, Barcelona opened doors to new things, my first hour record was when I was in the fittest form of my career. As for the technical pursuits they were all satisfying, the R&D team were a lovely group of people, kind of like a family. If I could get most, if not all journeys, to be by bicycle, that would be the most substantial and would be the most important thing to me, even throughout the last 20 years.”

He was shocked at how people reacted about his win in Barcelona, and on his return home, his street was packed with people:

“I didn’t like it at all, the whole village was full of people, you couldn’t turn any of the celebrations off. I wanted it to go back to normal. One day I walked down the road to the Dolphin chippy where they have a strict rule of one bag of chips free, per gold medal.”

Boardman’s lone achievements were the spark that started the modern era for British cycling. His endeavours both on and off the bike have led him to become a legend for his combination of physical ability and technical preparation – without him there would be no Hoy, Wiggins or Cavendish.

“Cycling was an adventure to be had, I wouldn’t class myself as a cyclist. The bit that interested me was the psychology behind the sport and all the mechanics behind it all. I was fascinated!”

He worked with bike specialist Hotta, to produce other time-trial frame designs, which he raced in various events including world championships and Olympic games. He is now involved in producing commercial and competition bikes with Boardman Bikes and Boardman Elite ventures.

One of the projects Chris was involved with was ‘secret squirrel club’ with Dave Brailsford, former head of British Cycling. Their challenge was to make cyclists aerodynamic and analyse how to go faster on a track cycling bike using wind tunnels and technical skin-suits.

“For someone to say, here’s a budget, go and explore how to go faster and there doesn’t have to be to viable or commercial project, is a once in a lifetime and unique experience. We got to play with wind tunnels for weeks and months at a time for nine years and we tested more than 20,000 times with varying outcomes which we then had to analyse, including cyclist Rob Hayles being naked, ahaha.”

Chris’ story is full of intrigue: from Olympic success, to the famous duels with Graeme Obree and the insanity of the Tour de France. The book is an eye-opening read, you’d expect it to be full of cycling secrets from the 90’s onwards however, it is more of reflection of the best moments of his career, family life and his new passions and hobbies. Although bikes and cycling still play a large part in Chris’ life, his other pursuits include writing, running, scuba diving and cave diving… but not all at the same time!

By Rachel Foy

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