WattShop is run by myself, Dan Bigham. I feel I have quite a unique history within the sport of cycling that hopefully provides me with the skills and experience to provide the services of WattShop. It’s a bit of a long read but hopefully you enjoy hearing where I’ve come from and where I’m going to!
I’m a keen cyclist and have passed through many different aspects of sport and engineering. I grew up never settling on a sport, trying everything from squash and tennis through to football and rugby. Studying Motorsport Engineering at Oxford Brookes University, I got involved with the athletics team. I started out as a sprinter, with a 100m PB of 11.03 I wasn’t too slow, but gradually moved up the distances and settled at the 800m mark, clocking at PB of 1:57.60 indoor. During this time, I had been cycling to and from lectures (who puts a campus 6 miles out of town!?). A course mate who had done a good few Ironman’s convinced me to try triathlon and I won my first race which happened to be the British University super sprint champs! I’d gotten the bug.
By this time, I was in my third year of university and was going on to my industrial placement, which I spent at Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team as a junior aerodynamicist. I quickly met Simon Smart of Smart Aero Technology/Drag2Zero who was based on the site and it sparked my interest in cycling aerodynamics. During my year at Mercedes I learnt a lot about aerodynamic testing, wind tunnels, design and general engineering practice. My dream had been to work in F1, but having been there I discovered it wasn’t all champagne and parties, there’s a lot of long hours, night shifts and sacrifices. I became very constructive with my time to allow myself to train and race, ultimately deciding F1 probably wasn’t for me.
After 13 months at Mercedes I went back to university with a dual focus of triathlon and cycling; with many aims including getting my 2nd category road racing licence, finishing top 20 in the British Elite Super Series (triathlon), some fast TT times and getting through my 4th year in a good state so I could do my Masters. I managed to achieve these, but realised if I wanted to be better I couldn’t be a Jack-of-all-trades; I had to focus on just cycling. Academically I focused my projects on cycling, with my undergraduate and postgraduate theses being focused on time trial bike aerodynamic testing protocols in the real world and performance modelling and prediction respectively. My final year was pretty focused; I was riding well for Beeline Bicycles, I picked up 6 BUCS medals and managed a solid Distinction in my Masters.
I hadn’t intended on getting a job post-university but during a standard coursework evening session with course mates a friend showed me a job that seemed right up my street: performance engineer at Pace Insights. Pace Insights are a sports technology company that work with over 20 GB Olympic teams to improve their use of technology and data. I applied, had a telephone interview the next day, a full interview at British Athletics a week later and a job offer straight after. A bit of a shock but a pleasant one. I joined the team in June and was straight in with multiple Olympic teams, helping them to solve their engineering problems, developing software tools and much more to help them achieve sporting glory. It was an amazing experience but working with full time athletes can really get you down as an athlete; I felt I had somewhat missed the boat on getting to that level. 2015 was coming to a close and I had a really good end of season blow out at the National Track Cycling champs with a 7th in the IP and 5th in the TP. I received a great offer from Planet X – Northside Pro Cycling to ride in their elite national team for the 2016 team. I felt this was my chance to at least have a good go at cycling and see where I can get to. After a good discussion with my boss, I handed in my notice and got stuck in to training as a full time athlete.
Living with a great friend who works at Mercedes AMG Petronas, I quickly ended up speaking to Simon Smart again and was working part time at Drag2Zero within a couple of weeks of leaving my old job. This allowed me the flexibility and time required to put in a good winter of training, but gave me the financial security I needed. The job itself was absolutely awesome. Working with top level cyclists and equipment manufacturers is really motivating and interesting. I learned a lot in a short period of time and worked with some great cyclists and engineers there.
In March 2016 I decided I’d like to put some of my own ideas out there and help other athletes with the knowledge and experience I'd gained. I launched WattShop. The idea being to put my own solutions and products out in to the market for people to benefit from. I initially focused on aerodynamic testing, high performance chains other watt saving solutions that I put to good effect in my own racing, including winning three senior British National Titles on the track (1km TT, 4km IP, 4km TP) and a further five CTT British National Titles on the TT bike (10 mile, 25 mile, 50 mile TTs, Team TT and Circuit TT).
Since these early successes I have taken on assistance to help as the company continues to grow. We have expanded our product range and furthermore WattShop's exposure to the cycling community has kept growing. Our expertise and products have provided Ribble Pro Cycling with a platform to achieve some fantastic results winning numerous British National TT titles. My own interest in track cycling spawned UCI track team Team KGF in September 2017. Running WattShop products alongside the best of British engineering we surprised the world winning TP gold at the Belarus Track World Cup. You can follow the story here: www.facebook.com/teamkgf
Currently we have planned more watt saving performance solutions so keep an eye out!
For any more information about WattShop or if you have an enquiry, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.