Three years in the writing of a story 17 years in the making, these are the Cervélo files. This is the story of two McGill University engineers, Phil White and Gerard Vroomen, two students who coincidently ended up in the same lab at the same time and began a conversation. That conversation quickly morphed into a business partnership that would forever change the cycling industry’s ideal and idea of aerodynamics. It was an unlikely yet successful partnership of circumstance.
Written by Anna Dopico, the book is the culmination of Dopico’s inside view, a wide perspective garnered through those 17 years as Phil White’s wife, as well circumstantial business and financial advisor. As the author, her role is multi-faceted – part historian, part business and entrepreneurial writer, and part storyteller.
It is Dopico’s first book and is a chronological deep dive into what every brand, today, strives to achieve but is unwilling to admit: to be disruptive. Today, the word disruptive is a trendy one, oft overused marketing jargon and rare to achieve. But twenty years, that act of being disruptive meant that you were probably in some way, writing history. While many of today’s success stories are virtual, built upon social media platforms and imagery, White’s and Vroomen’s success story was built upon a tangible platform that represented engineering prowess and innovation in a cycling category (aerodynamics) that had yet to even discover the ascent toward its peak. Their innovation, those engineering advances, became their story.
To Make Riders Faster is a 256 page hardcover journey disguised as a book. The story is woven through words, historical images and quotes. This is not just a coffee table book. It is a biography that, once in hand, is hard to put down.
An appetizer of the many courses to follow is presented early in the first chapter when Gerard Vroomen is intent on getting a letter of interest to renowned Italian cyclist and two-time road world champion, Gianni Bugno, to ride their prototype Baracchi. As this was 1995 and prior to email and prior to detective work made easy via the internet, Vroomen doesn’t know Bugno’s mailing address, so he simply addresses the letter to “Gianni Bugno, Italy” and hopes that the Italian postal service knows where to deliver. Turns out they did.
To Make Riders Faster is not just another cycling book but a multi-stage, multi-year Tour de é of which so many were a part. There are few in the cycling industry who were not watching and many who wished to be involved. Cervélo athlete’s, bike owners, business partners, in some way, felt select. And if you knew anything at all about the cycling industry at that time, you were scratching your head, wondering how they were doing it. This is that story.
To Make Riders Faster can be purchased directly from the website www.tomakeridersfaster.com. The book retails for $70 CDN and $53 USA dollars.
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