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Cycling innovators vroomen.white.design take Canadian Innovation Award for manufacturer of the year

Fifteen years ago, Toronto engineers Phil White and Gerard Vroomen of vroomen.white.design began designing and manufacturing racing bicycles under the brand name Cervelo. Today, still owned by White and Vroomen, North York-based Cervelo is the world's largest manufacturer of time trial and triathalon bikes, with Tour de France and Iron Man trialthalon victories and Olympic gold medals won on its bicycles.

Last week, Vroomen and White were honoured at the Canadian Innovation Awards as Canadian Manufacturer of the Year in recognition of their world-leading technology and innovative leadership.

According to the company, Cervelo was founded in a pure quest for innovations that would lead to racing excellence. "We wanted something that was unbeatable in aerodynamics yet sacrificed nothing in weight or stiffness, and unfettered by issues of marketability," reads a company history on its website. Today, with eight engineers in its employ and selling more than 10,000 units per year, the same spirit is visible in their philosophy. "We apologize in advance if our ads look like they were written by engineers," they write. "We figured you would rather read an ad designed by an engineer than ride a bike designed by the marketing department."

Currently most of Cervelo's manufacturing takes place in Asia, but recently White told the Toronto Star that they intend to begin manufacturing bikes at their North York facility within the next two years.

Four other Ontario companies were honoured at the Canadian Innovation Awards, including Scarborough Tim Hortons franchisee Megleen Inc, who won the Canadian Innovation Award for Innovator of the Year.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Cevelo, Toronto Star
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