I LOVE this book. Having “been there / done that” - it speaks of truth like few books do.
TO MAKE RIDERS FASTER by Anna Dopico, tells the amazing and inspiring story of how two young engineers, Phil White and Gerard Vroomen, against all odds, took their bike company, Cervelo, on a 16 year roller-coaster ride from a basement workshop in Montreal to the pinnacle of triathlon and road racing.
In about a dozen years - two guys who were not “bike experts” created the top bicycles for the world’s top riders! - winning the Tour De France and the Men and Women’s Ironman.
I sat down with Phil White, recently in Toronto. This is a guy who “gets” innovation. As we started to talk he said quite simply…
“Why would you waste your time commercializing a mediocre product.”
I love how Anna tells their story with authenticity. This is not a story that “rewrites history.” When they are preparing to introduce their P3 bike at the InterBike show in Las Vegas she tells the story of how in a vacant lot in Vegas they are painting their bike, using matt black barbecue paint from Home Depot. They used a roll of toilet paper for the bottom bracket and did a series of crazed work around to make the bike seem like it was “real.” As Anna writes, Phil slapped a “prototype” label to make it obvious that it was not a finished design. When visitors stopped to admire the bike, they told visitors to not touch it in case it fell apart.
To their relief, the P3 drew crowds of admirers, who not only liked the bike but also told them to keep the matte black finish.