Callum Skinner: Olympic athlete and gold medal winner develops cycling glasses that allow riders to see behind them

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An Olympic gold medal winner has helped develop specialist glasses that give cyclists eyes in the back of their heads.

Callum Skinner developed the technology with physicist Alex Macdonald after raising over £100,000 through a Kickstarter campaign.

The sunglasses allow cyclists to see forwards and backwards by shifting focus rather than having to turn their heads.

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They use two-part angled lenses with semi-transparent mirrors and cost from £199.99.

The Edinburgh-based inventors hope their glasses will make amateur cycling safer and give other athletes such as runners and rowers a performance edge.

Mr Skinner won gold and silver at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

His silver was in the individual sprint and he was part of the team who won gold in the team sprint.

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The former Gillespie’s student was inspired to take up cycling after the success of fellow Edinburgh icon, Sir Chris Hoy.

He said: “As a passionate cyclist, I’m acutely aware of the importance of road safety.

“I’m also struck by the potential of HindSight glasses to help professional cyclists reach their peak performance.

“Managing aerodynamic profile is essential for any elite cyclist and, by turning back to look over your shoulder, you can easily lose efficiencies in your speed and performance.

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“I believe HindSight glasses provide the answer to this and will change the norm as we know it.”

Mr Macdonald, a former European inventor of the year, said: “As a regular cyclist, I was aware that knowing what was coming behind me would allow me to make smarter decisions, but I had no way to do it.

“HindSight glasses are designed to ensure the preservation of forward-facing vision, while adding the capacity to look behind.

“Hindsight glasses allow peripheral vision to be maintained in the forward direction while checking behind, giving effectively the best of both worlds.”

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The glasses won a series of entrepreneurial development awards in 2020 including the Scottish Edge Award.

July 2020 saw new plans for extensive bike lanes added across Edinburgh to improve safety for cyclist, as well as encourage people to take their bike to work and leave the car at home.

This is not the first entrepreneurial venture from Callum Skinner, who made headlines in October after he opened a cafe in the Capital.

His sustainable coffee company Five Rings Coffee is co owned by fellow athletes Philip Hindes and Owain Doull.

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Parts of the furniture in their cafe on George Street is made from parts of the Meadowbank Velodrome, the very place where Callum started his career.

The velodrome was taken down in the Meadowbank refurbishment, but the Five Rings Cafe is appropriately named after the iconic Edinburgh stadium which hosted two Commonwealth Games.

In a post on Twitter about his new coffee venture, Skinner said: “Upcycling a legendary (but under appreciated) Scottish, British and Commonwealth sporting venue into our Five Rings Coffee bar.

"It's the track where I started my cycling career, can't wait to bring it home to Edinburgh.

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“Apt that is playing a part in kickstarting my new career too.”

Additional reporting by PA

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