Do you ever marvel at the world and what it has to offer?  There are the natural wonders such as the mountains and the sea and all things living.  Then there are many man-made machines that influence the way of the world in so many ways.  It can be argued that man is having both a positive and a negative influence on the future of the world.  There is a moral to this story!

Let’s for a moment focus on something that we’re all au fait with, the bicycle, and its positive impact on mobility in recent history.  The earliest forms of human powered transport are today referred to in general terms as velocipedes – devices that could have one, two, three or four wheels.  They were developed just under 200 years ago.  Some of the early two-wheeled designs had pedals mounted on the front wheel, while three and four wheeled designs sometimes used either foot power or hand power to drive the contraptions either via the front or the rear wheels.

The earliest usable and much copied velocipede was created by a German named Karl Drais whose Laufmaschine (German for “running machine”) was the world’s first balance bicycle.

The Penny-farthing was the first ‘machine’ to be called a bicycle and was invented in the 1880’s.  They were named after the British coins ‘penny’ and ‘farthing’ which they replicated in design when the coins were placed next to each other.

Penny-farthings evolved because larger front wheels, up to 1.5 m (60 in) in diameter, enabled higher speeds on bicycles limited to direct drive.  Pedaling was directly linked to driving the front wheel, with power not being diluted by friction from things such as a belt or a chain or in modern bicycles a chain linked to a gearbox.  The popularity of the Penny-farthing in the late Victorian era coincided with the birth of cycling as a sport.

Today’s many modern bicycle designs have evolved as a direct result of the inventions made in days gone by.  In the Penny-farthing the high seat brought the rider’s pedaling legs in line with the pedals and the wheel, sometimes 6 feet off the ground. The introduction of gears and chains controlled the rate of pedaling and so bicycle wheels shrank and became equal in size. The rider sat in between the wheels at a reasonable height instead of high on top of the front wheel.  ‘Ladies bicycles’ removed the centre bar to allow for Victorian women to maintain their modesty whilst riding!

Modern bicycles and their specialized designs are far more efficient.

  • Long-distance bikes have large, thin tyres to achieve more distance per pedal and give a smoother ride; comfortable saddles and handlebars and several gears making it possible to go up and down hills more efficiently.
  • Racing bikes are very lightweight and aerodynamic with minimal handlebars, no brakes and a solid rear wheel that helps reduce air turbulence.
  • Mountain bikes have smaller and fatter wheels to better withstand bumps, shorter handlebars for better control in the bumpy terrain and a heavier, sturdier frame.
  • Load-bearing bikes have special attachments for carrying objects, with fatter tyres and a sturdy frame.
  • General purpose bikes have medium wheels and tyres and a sturdy but not rugged frame.

This then is some history of the bicycle and how it has evolved and improved over the last 200 years.  Similar advancement in technology and technique is evident in all other forms of transport and the same can surely be said to just about every aspect of life?  Today in the motor car industry we are entering the green phase and it will not be long before hybrid vehicles and their improved efficiency levels, linked to better use of the available natural resources, become the norm.

In transport, the vast majority of crashes can be blamed on human error rather than mechanical faults.  Motor vehicle manufacturers are investigating and implementing new digital technology that assists man in trying to avoid human error.  Amazingly some of the latest technology can help one to see or notice road signs; avoid falling asleep whilst driving; help keep one focused if the phone rings; and even identify the emotions of the driver with consequent positive impact on one’s ability to drive!  In future years a driver will be able to enjoy real time 3D vision to all areas of the car; vision will be improved, even in bad weather, by the inclusion of radar; whilst satellite and remote tracking technology will make it ever more difficult for a vehicle to be stolen.  Perhaps one day your new car will be delivered together with your ‘robot’ driver!  All the while the safety of today’s vehicles is vastly superior, so if one does have an accident the likelihood of less injury and survival is far greater.

KeNako is involved with students and a variety of other clients looking to improve either their golf games or their lives in general; or both.  At a student level the interaction with KeNako includes the technical, physical and mental aspects relating to golf but also a very substantial interface relating to life skills and the habits of the students as they grow through puberty into adulthood.  Relate this to vehicle technology and at the same time improvements associated with safety.

As vehicle technology has improved so has the speed at which a vehicle can travel increased, all the while in a safer manner than that which previously existed.  To the man in the street the improvements are not really noticed since it is a gradual process, but if one was able to remove oneself from that element of life for a while and then return the changes would be hugely noticeable.  As an example, think of an older friend that one may not see for a couple of years and then when one does see them again it is often very visible as to how they much they have aged.

The same goes with the KeNako students.  Within the academy they are not always aware of the improvements that are transpiring in so many ways in their lives.  Indeed sometimes, being teenagers, they may even challenge the process and focus on small problems rather than the overall status and bigger picture.  Most of the time the students do not personally recognise the positive changes that they are undergoing; physically as they undergo their personalised training programmes; mentally as they learn new and different skills; and technically relating to their golf swings and ability to consistently perform at a higher level.  They may complain to their friends or parents about fairly frivolous things and figuratively speaking they will on occasion make mountains out of molehills.  To function effectively and efficiently KeNako needs the support of both professionals and parents as they help each individual student to navigate a path to adulthood and ultimate success, whether it is to be on the fairways of the world or in a business Board Room.

A couple of years ago a mother of one of the students told us that she believed that she and her husband were good parents but she wanted the team of professionals at KeNako to know that they could not have done for their son what KeNako had done.  The professionals at KeNako were grateful for this feedback and proud of the fact that they are positively influencing the future!

We wish all of our readers a wonderful Festive Season and an even better 2013.  ke nako! (It’s Time!)

By Ron Boon