Lady Godiva Given Olympic Stopping Power Thanks To MIRA

Following her ‘awakening’ ceremony at the Godiva Carnival in Coventry, the city’s first lady journeyed to London to celebrate the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games atop her Cyclopedia.

Lady Godiva Given Olympic Stopping Power Thanks To MIRA

This unique pedal-powered mode of transport stands testament to the region’s engineering and creative prowess – which has seen business and academia working together to bring the Arts Council-funded project to life.

Among the contributors to the project was international vehicle engineering and test consultancy MIRA Ltd – who were tasked by lead partner NP Aerospace with ensuring that the Cyclopedia’s 100-strong team of riders could stop Lady Godiva in her tracks – whilst she does the same to onlookers.

Once engineers and designers from NP Aerospace, Rugby-based Shaw Sheet Metal and Coventry University had turned initial concept drawings into reality, MIRA was given just six weeks to ensure that the Cyclopedia had sufficient stopping power to complete the journey safely.

MIRA engineering team leader Andy Owen commented: 

“Being involved in high-profile and challenging project like this is definitely a once in a lifetime experience, which everybody involved has been thrilled to be a part of.

“The Cyclopedia is 7 metres long by 8 metres wide and weighs 2,000 kilograms, so we used a combination of braking rollers in our test laboratory as well as the pedal-power of MIRA staff on our Proving Ground to ensure its stopping performance matches its jaw dropping looks.

“It’s brakes have been designed to operate as much like a conventional push bike as possible – with one lead rider able to apply all of the braking force, although there are also three further emergency brakes that can be applied independently should the need arise.”

Among the external factors that MIRA had to consider in developing a stopping solution for a pedal-powered project on this scale (particularly given the recent weather conditions), were environmental factors such as wind and rain – which necessitated that all of the materials and components used had to be IP rated (a process of environmental sealing).

MIRA is hopeful that the ceremony and the Cyclopedia’s subsequent week-long journey via Rugby, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Luton, Hatfield and Waltham Abbey will help inspire a lot of school children to consider careers in engineering, as well as disciplines such as drama or sport

Matt Jones, a graduate working at MIRA that was also involved in the design and production of drawings for the electric system on the trailer that will carry Lady Godiva added: 

 “This project was a great chance to develop my skills as an engineer and apply them to something new and different.

“I’m sure that the spectacle of Lady Godiva arriving in London will turn the spotlight on UK engineering as a whole and I for one will be hoping that onlookers won’t look away when Lady Godiva passes them – as they did in legend – but instead cheer her on.”