Burroughs, Michael

SUBJECT AREA: Land transport
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b. mid-twentieth century
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English inventor who developed a new design of racing bicycle.
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His father was a pattern-maker who worked for a time at the de Havilland aircraft factory at Hatfield, Hertfordshire; later he worked in an aeroplane-model shop before turning his attentions to boats and cars. Mike Burroughs left school at the age of 15 to become a self-taught engineer and inventor, regarding himself as an eccentric. Among other things, he invented a machine for packaging coins.
In the 1970s he began to take an interest in bicycles, and he subjected the design and materials of existing machines of conventional design to searching reappraisal. As a result, Burroughs "reinvented" the bicycle, producing an entirely new concept. His father carved the shape of the single-piece frame in wood, from which a carbon-fibre cast was made. The machine proved to be very fast, but neither the sporting nor the industrial world showed much interest in it. Then in 1991 Rudi Terman, of the motor manufacturers Lotus, saw it and was impressed by its potential; he agreed to develop the machine further, but kept the details secret.
The invention was released to an unsuspecting public at the Barcelona Olympic Games of 1992, ridden by Chris Boardman, who won the pursuit gold medal for Great Britain, a triumph for both rider and inventor. In subsequent months, Boardman went on to break several world records on the Lotus bicycle, including on 23 July 1993 the one-hour record with a distance of 52.27 km (32.48 miles).
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Further Reading
C.Boardman and P.Liggett, 1994, The Fastest Man on Two Wheels: In Pursuit of Chris Boardman, London: Boxtree (looks at the revolutionary Lotus racing cycle designed by Burroughs).
IMcN

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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