Cycling success is down to the perfect combination of rider and machine – and now the bike which the British team is riding in the Tour of Britain this week is available to researchers online.
Team Sky Pinarello FP2 105 2010 Road Bike at the Museum of Design in Plastics
Team Sky’s carbon fibre Pinarello road bike has joined the unique collection at the Museum of Design in Plastics and has been digitised as part of a JISC project at the Arts University College at Bournemouth.
The bike joins nearly 9000 plastic objects in the museum’s unique collection, including other sporting treasures such as Giro Road and Time Trial cycle helmets, an international standard Adidas football and Nike shin pads, and an Olympic standard Speedo Bodysuit.
Louise Dennis, assistant curator at the museum, explained why the bike design is of interest to researchers: “The material something is made of has a great effect on its speed and plastics have been used by manufacturers to overcome many of these issues. Carbon fibre is a plastics-based composite material which allows the bike to be extremely low in weight and yet be stiff, strong and responsive. In addition the geometry of the tubing and the smoothness of the material help to reduce drag.”
Digitising the bike is part of an £80,000 JISC investment in improving the online version of the museum with over 1500 objects from its unique collection – which means the museum can provide access to rare objects which are not physically on display.
Ben Showers, programme manager at JISC, said: “The ubiquitous nature of plastic objects means that it is easy to take their impact for granted – but the newly digitised collection at the museum includes some wonderful artefacts and objects that will help inspire students, teachers and entrepreneurs contributing to our productive and innovative creative economy.
“We now really want other academic and cultural institutions to learn the lessons from this valuable project, which is a great example of how a small scale digitisation project can become fully embedded and useful to teaching and learning in an individual college as well as being sustainable in the longer term,” he added.
The plastic objects now have a dedicated section on the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) website which shares the collection with a wider audience and places it alongside other archives from other art institutions such as Central St Martins, London College of Communication, and the Design Council Slide Collection.
This link with VADS has also led the Museum of Design in Plastics to become a partner in the JISC funded Look-here! project, which is using the museum’s experience as a model for digitisation in the arts higher education sector.