Back to the start: Montreal Formula 1

June 13, 2011

I spent this weekend at the Montreal Formula 1 Grand Prix. After trying to get cars out of cycling, I wanted to see if we could do the same here!

But seriously, it was good to be back in Montreal, where Phil and I started Cervelo after we met in the composite materials lab of McGill University. What most don’t know is that the first meters ever ridden on a Cervelo were at the Montreal Formula 1 track.

It was early June 1995. We were just finishing up the last bits of the manufacturing (attaching a brake bridge to the hinged fork) and decided that the F1 track would be the perfect place to test the bike without any onlookers. As the curing of the last carbon layer took a bit longer than expected, it was 11pm by the time we got there.

The Baracchi test ride on the Montreal F1 track

Someone from the Montreal Cycling team was our test rider, our friend Thomas came for support, and of course Phil and myself, all on this pitch-dark track. Really one of my fondest memories of the whole Cervelo time, to see our “first-born” – the Baracchi – float over the tarmac lit by a faint moon light.

What I remember most from the bike was the steering, we had some pylons for a slalom and put them so tight that your brain just knew you couldn’t make the turn. But every time you would make it, thanks to the supershort geometry. Plenty of disadvantages to that, but cornering was brilliant.

Thomas & Phil hanging on for dear life

A moderate version of those ideas made it onto our regular bikes – without the drawbacks – and is one of the reasons our bikes handle so well.

The other memory is getting back to the metro station. With the bike on the backseat, there was only room for two in the car. We took turns standing on the rear bumper, holding on to a rather unstable rear spoiler as we zipped along the track. The Cervelo story could have ended right there, but somehow we all survived.

2 Responses to “Back to the start: Montreal Formula 1”

  1. Joe Papp Says:

    Didn’t realize you’re an F1 fan (are you)?

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