Fragile or agile?
Did you know that the geometry and measurements of the bicycle have been dictated by vested interests about 80 years ago?
You would think that our everyday bicycle is the best possible technical outcome of an evolutive process consisting of lots of trial-and-error and sound research. But no, it isn’t. Record-breaking recumbent bicycles never got a fair chance because of opaque decision-making at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) in the 1930s. The UCI officials banned the indoor cycling records set by Francis Fauré on a Vélocar, an invention by Charles Mochet.
Mochet’s faster and more innovative bicycle was excluded from competing in official races, and attempts to beat hourly records were not recognized. It is believed makers of traditional bicycles pressured the UCI because they didn’t like competition. A strange trait when you are in the business of providing gear for athletes if you ask me.
This is why the traditional bike is still omnipresent. Granted, we’ve come a long way since the days of the vélocipède and there are more formats, styles, and bike brands than ever before. But they are still traditional, in a way. The fact remains that the Tour the France is not ridden on recumbent bikes, and most of us don’t even consider buying one.
And that gives me pause. What happened at the UCI some eighty years ago is how certain sectors of society and industry deal with progress. And they still do. Industry-paid lobbyists ‘inform’ our policymakers or even write whole chapters that are turned into laws without many checks and balances.
The truth is, the world is being slowed down because of a bunch of old, fragile ‘decision makers’ that don’t want to change or give up the only thing that interests them: power. I won’t do any finger-pointing but these people were not in Glasgow earlier this month. That’s all I’m saying.
And they won’t be at our CIODAY either. Not just because we didn’t invite them. Oh no. Because they can’t deal with change. At CIODAY, we celebrate the people who embrace change and know what it takes to be agile. On a personal level, and for their organizations. Change – and adaptation to it – should drive us all these days.
See you on 21 April?
Felix Speulman, online editor, ICT Media