This week: The bicycle's history of continuous improvement.
Image: Cervelo R5 by James Krauss.
Here is your weekly Tri Town Times newsletter:
Weekend race report:
Sarah True won Ironman Arizona yesterday, with Boise-based pro Danielle Lewis taking 3rd overall. Joe Skipper of the UK won the men's race. I counted over 10 local athletes competing in AZ. Congrats to all.
Continuous Improvement: it's one of Tri Town's Core Values. If you have shopped with us recently, we'd love your feedback. It will take ten seconds. Thank you!
Quote that struck a chord:
"Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live." - Mark Twain.
The bicycle has changed a lot since 1886 when Mark Twain wrote Taming the Bicycle.
The history of a bicycle is a fascinating tale of changing times and continuous improvement.
The first thing to know about change is that change does not always equal progress. Few would argue the boneshaker of the 1860's or even the classic penny farthings that Twain conquered were an improvement over almost any other form of transportation of the time. What I love about this time in bicycle history is that despite the unwieldy nature of the machine, people intuitively knew there was something special about it.
And so, the process of continuous improvement goes on.
By the early 1890's, in spite of these early and dangerous versions of the bicycle, cycling enthusiasts began embracing a variety of new technologies that were maturing at just the right time. Chains and pneumatic tires found their true and early calling when paired with a beautifully elegant yet simple diamond triangle frame design. It was called the 'safety bicycle'- because it was significantly safer to ride compared to the penny farthing. Soon after, the first bicycle boom swept the modern world.
The process of continuous improvement requires us to believe we can do better. That change is necessary. That the boneskaker and penny farthing are not the best we can manage. This takes humility, creativity, courage, and a passion for hard work. All things a cyclist can get on board with.
Progress often happens slowly, if at all, then all at once. Multiple breakthroughs in design and technology allowed the safety bicycle to explode onto the scene in late 1890's. But hidden from the publics' eye were two things: the countless iteration of bad ideas that found themselves in the trash, and the equally countless incremental gains made in the garages of thousands of tinkerers around the world.
If the bicycle's journey of continuous improvement has taught us anything, it is this:
- First and foremost enjoy the process. Success does not happen without a lot of practice, you must find joy in the process and the day-to-day.
- Thoughtfully embrace change. Not all change is good, so be thoughtful on what methods and advice you follow.
- Do not fear failure, there will be a lot of it. Have fun, stick with it long enough, be thoughtful, and the results will come.
Listen to this short and fascinating podcast on the history of the bicycle by 99% Invisible.
For a great read about cycling history and our nation's first black sports hero, I recommend The World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor.
Train smart, and have a great week!
Tri Town Bicycles
Like the newsletter? Please forward to a friend so they can subscribe.