Disruption is the mantra of the day in American business, with entrepreneurs scrambling to reinvent the way people do everything from buying ice cream cones to paying their bills. One of the old-school giants feeling uncomfortably disrupted by all this innovation is the Ford Motor Company. More than a century after Ford itself fatally disrupted the horse carriage industry, the people at the prototypical 20th-century manufacturing company are confronting a proliferation of 21st-century alternatives to the old paradigm of one person, one car, in which simply pushing new models off assembly lines each year won’t cut it.
One of the ways Ford is dealing with this is by revisiting a strangely persistent 19th-century technology. Ford is looking at bicycles.