MattDecalIt doesn’t matter whether you are riding a bike or building one. You will go faster if you work smarter, rather than just harder.

For example, you’re in the middle of a long climb. Your legs are screaming at you. All you think you can do is bear the pain and keep working, but then you realize you have a death grip on the bars, and you haven’t once dropped a gear and stood out of the saddle. Suddenly, you’re moving up the hill a little better and with less discomfort.

Bike building can be like this, too. Our work environment, like any road, can be fluid and changeable depending on what new products we’ve introduced or what new “standards” the industry has chosen to adopt. Like the rider on the hill, we can fall into the habit of just working harder, or we can pick our heads up and find better ways to do things. Sometimes, it’s a matter of rearranging a department, so that its easier to move from machine to machine. Sometimes, it’s about adding new fixtures to the existing machines to save set up time during the build process.

Just like on the bike, there is clearly a time to put your head down and work as hard as you can, but the big gains, and the hardest to come by, are almost always from working smarter.