The Valley, a leisure and retail destination set on the banks of the River Avon, is preparing for increased footfall following the recent launch of its Boardman Performance Centre, a partnership with Olympic gold-medallist Chris Boardman MBE.
The brainchild of Boardman himself, the centre – the first of its kind in the UK – is aimed at everyone from would-by Olympians to weekend hobbyists aiming to better understand how to improve their rides. In addition to its centrepiece wind tunnel, the 18,000 sq. ft. centre will offer a range of services delivered by industry specialists in areas such physiological fitness, function and health, bike-fitting, positional biomechanics and aerodynamics. Previously, access to technology of this kind has been a possibility only for elite level athletes and teams.
The facility is designed around Boardman’s own experiences of how exploring the role of aerodynamics in cycling can help improve performance. Following his career as a professional sportsman, Boardman turned his talents to supporting the next generation of cyclists through his role as R&D director in British Cycling – a position that led to him overseeing the kit used by the riders competing in the 2006 Winter Olympics and the record-breaking 2012 games in London.
During the same period, Boardman launched his own British bike brand. Using his experience of helping Olympic athletes get on top of the podium, he then began to conceive an idea that would help take this knowledge to cyclists at all levels, now made reality in the Boardman Performance Centre at The Valley.
About The Valley
One of the reasons The Valley was chosen to host the Boardman Performance Centre is its excellent transport links with the centre and south of England, and a countryside setting that has already helped the retail destination establish itself as a firm favourite with cyclists from far-and-wide.
Set in 125 acres of Worcestershire countryside at the end of the Evesham bypass (A46), The Valley’s 12,000 sq. ft. site includes a mix of national and independent retailers and family leisure attractions such as the Evesham Vale Light Railway, The Valley Castle Adventure Playground and a number of walking and cycling trails. Retailers at the site include Fat Face, Barbour and Mountain Warehouse.
The site’s developer, Eagle One, first acquired the 125-acre Evesham Country Park in the 1990s, where it initially developed a 40,000 sq. ft. garden centre, 20,000 sq. ft. of retail units and a miniature steam railway. After obtaining planning permission for a further 100,000 sq. ft. of retail, catering and leisure space, The Valley developed the capability to incorporate a building tailored to Boardman’s very specific requirements into the site’s latest iteration.
Discussing the development, Chris Boardman said: “It’s not hyperbole to say that this Centre has the potential to be truly game-changing for cycling in the UK. Whether you’re a keen amateur or an Olympic hopeful, the facility we’re creating will allow you to improve your performance as well as having access to Boardman’s market leading range of bikes and support from knowledgeable and committed staff all under one roof.
“I’m passionate about cycling – whether as a sport, a hobby or as a way to get around – and I’m sure that the presence of this Centre in Evesham will help inspire the next generation of cyclists.”
Robin Langford, asset manager at The Valley, Evesham, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Boardman Bikes on the development of this centre.
“As an out-of-town retail destination, we understand the need to not just offer a shopping fix, but a range of other experiences to our customers. This has since established itself as very much part of our USP with our local market and we’re anticipating that this performance centre will solidify this position further, as well as of course attracting the ‘Lycra pound’.
“As such, we are anticipating a significant increase in footfall as a result of the centre launch, and have just added an additional 15,000 sq. ft. of new retail units within the centre. We also have consent for a further 40,000 sq. ft. to be developed in response to anticipated occupier demand.”