Lionel Sanders sets Canadian 1hr record. Innovation, history, and the current bike boom. Strengths and weaknesses. Iron-distance event w/ no preparation.
Here is your weekly Tri Town Times newsletter:
Weekend Race Report:
Lionel Sanders set a new Canadian 1hr record of 51.3k
(31.8mph average speed) aboard a modified Canyon Speedmax. Always a dominate force in the triathlon world, Lionel has now cemented his place in history as one of the fastest Canadian cyclists of all time.
Some people have asked if I think the current bike boom will last. I wish I could look into the glass ball and answer that question. With that said, I believe the more people riding bikes for transportation and fitness is not only a good thing for the individual, but for the community in general.
Historically, a true boom within this industry is driven by innovation. The bicycle industry has experienced a few booms in history, the most significant of which was in the 1890's. Innovation was the driver of this surge in ridership:
- 1 in 3 patents filed in the United States in the 1890's were for bicycle manufacturing.
- Cycling became easier and safer with the invention of the diamond triangle frame, at the time called the safety-bicycle. The safety bicycle was a significant improvement over the penny-farthing. The bikes we ride today are effectively the safety-bicycle frame design.
- Tires up to this point in time were either wood, metal, or solid rubber. Bikes were called bone-shakers, and for good reason- a rough road would be horrible and dangerous to ride on. The invention of the pneumatic bicycle tire in the late 1880's significantly smoothed the ride quality on open roads and allowed cyclists to ride faster. Innovation in this category was driven by names still recognizable today like "Dunlap", "Michelin", and "Schrader".
- Improvements in chains and sprockets allowed for bicycles to be chain-driven, improving efficiency and allowing for variety in gearing.
- Clipless pedals were invented in 1895.
Today's boom does not seem as rooted in innovation as the boom of the 1890's, with an exception being the electric bike category (the fastest growing bike category). I'm happy to see so many people discover (or rekindle) the joys of cycling during this pandemic, and I'm especially happy to see people riding not for the sake of competition, but simply because riding a bike is great exercise and fun.
A universal and long term increase in ridership, at least in the United States, will also require significant changes in infrastructure (which in itself is another form of innovation): both on road and off. Dedicated routes for commuters, and one-way trails will increase safety and help accommodate an increase in ridership. These things take time, community support, and forward thinking leaders. Fortunately, I believe our city is on the right track.
Popular Social Post:
I love it when a perceived weakness becomes a strength. The "wheelie bike" (aka the Schwinn Stingray) was responsible for the 1970's bike boom, and by design was unstable, and notorious for causing unexpected wheelies and speed wobbles at even modest speeds. Yet these inherent weaknesses can be a strength in the right context
Quote that Struck a Chord:
"When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills." Ancient Chinese proverb.
If you have a Moment to Spare:
Have a great week!
Tri Town Bicycles