To Make Riders Faster


I was interested in the book partly because I own a Cervélo and respect the brand, but also because I worked for the company that distributed the bikes in the UK for a few years, and had experienced some of the story from further along the distribution chain. I wondered if the book would try to gloss over some of the difficulties within the company that I had observed (and which many of you will have endured as a customer): in short, it doesn't. In fact, it is remarkable just how open and honest Dopico has been. Throughout the book one is reminded of how little can separate success or failure: with different decisions, luck, or timing, the Cervélo story could have been very different.



What is the most successful company born of triathlon? Zipp? Giro, depending on how much its helmet sales depended on triathletes in its formative years? Let’s be honest. It’s Cervélo, by a longshot. 

Anna Dopico’s book, “To Make Riders Faster,” on the history of that company and its founders is not only an honest, previously-unknown-fact-filled look at that company’s 17-year run under its founding partners’ ownership, the tale she tells is downright Shakespearean. She should know. As Cervélo co-founder Phil White’s wife – and an executive inside the company – Anna knows where all the MacBeths and Hamlets are buried.

The most engrossing passages are the human ones, such as those recounting conversations – arguments – between the partners, Phil White and Gerard Vroomen. “Among the employees their shouting matches were legendary,” Anna writes, one of which is faithfully transcribed and presented in the book because it was caught on video, part of an all-night design session and about whether the Soloist frame should have a round or aero head tube.