To Make Riders Faster
OTHER THAN CERVÉLO founders Phil White and Geraard Vroomen, there’s likely no one on the planet more equipped to tell the amazing story of how two McGill students who met in the composite materials lab while both were working on their masters degrees than Anna Dopico. A collaboration to build a bike for Gianno Bugno to complete Vroomen’s degree saw the two hand build a one off carbon fibre frame in the basement of Vroomen’s apartment building. Dopico and White met in high school and would eventually get married – she watched her husband and Vroomen work tirelessly over the years to create the company that has become a mainstay in the triathlon and cycling industry, leading the Kona bike count for over a decade.
To Make Riders Faster is an incredibly in depth look at the long journey White and Vroomen endured as they developed the company. Dopico was all too familiar with the challenges of the company – their house became the company headquarters when they moved to Toronto. It was her inability to get into her the house when she returned from a business trip a day early that prompted the move to an office and warehouse.
“Hey, what are you doing home,” Phil called from the upstairs hallway. “I wasn’t expecting you home. It’s shipping day. We always ship on Thursdays.”
To Make Riders Faster not only provides intimate details on the commitment to innovation and engineering-based development that White and Vroomen brought to the industry, but provides great insight on the passion the two had for developing the world’s fastest bike. The book outlines the early beginnings of the company – avid triathlon fans will remember fondly the stories of Melissa Spooner providing Cervélo with its first Ironman win in Lanzarote.
The book also offers some interesting insights on Cervélo’s partnership with Bjarn Riis and CSC, which launched the company into the world of road cycling. That collaboration brought Cervélo to the attention of the cycling world, but proved to be a huge challenge for the company.
Dopico also provides lots of detail about the financial challenges that saw the company almost fold in 2012, resulting in it being sold to European bike company Pon. White would remain as the company’s CEO until July of 2017.
Dopico’s intimate recount of the Cervélo story will provide those who can remember the first Cervélo P2 from the late ’90s and the innovative P3 that reshaped the triathlon world in the early 2000s with some fond memories and insight into just how much White and Vroomen reshaped the triathlon bike industry. For those newer to the sport, To Make Riders Faster will provide some historical perspective on how two men would take a small Canadian company from a basement to one of the world’s cycling leaders.—KM