When scientists work with a champion paracyclist, the results are surprising

Elsevier, 24th June 2019
Ian Evans

Dr. Eoghan Clifford knows what it means to have a unique perspective on the world. In addition to being a lecturer in engineering at NUI Galway, he’s a competitive cyclist. He competes in able-bodied events, but as he lives with a progressive muscle-wasting disease, he’s also eligible to race in paracyling, for which he holds multiple UCI Para-cycling world championships as well as being a Paralympic champion.

As an engineer, he specializes in civil engineering – primarily transport and wastewater. As a cyclist, he was fascinated by the engineering challenges of the sport, especially around aerodynamics. So when he began to consider the implications of aerodynamics in para-cycling, he sought out the perspective of Prof. Bert Blocken of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and KU Leuven, a world-renowned expert in the field. Together, they tackled fundamental elements of aerodynamics that had previously been under-researched, and they came out with some surprising results.