Boone Lennon is an inventor whose single creation, the sleek specialized handlebars used by triathletes known as aero bars, revolutionized the riding techniques used in the sport.
Prior to developing the aero bar, Lennon had coached the United States Alpine Ski Team from 1984 to 1986. It was this background that provided Lennon with a solid grounding in the related concepts of aerodynamics that he applied to his aero bar design.
Lennon was not the first designer of bicycle handle bars that extended outwards along the length of the frame over the front wheel. Lennon was the first to build a bar that was aimed at achieving a narrower and more aerodynamic profile for the rider. The Len-non bars were constructed to achieve a number of subtle differences in body position from conventional handlebars. The bars generally permitted a measure of rest on the part of the rider in the stress otherwise directed into the rider's back, as a significant part of the rider's body weight rested on the aero bars. The position of the bars also encouraged a low head and a horizontal torso, two features that reduced drag. The position of the elbow pads on the aero bars brought the rider's body into a narrower profile.
Lennon patented his aero bar design in 1987. By way of a licensing agreement, the bars were built by Scott, a leading triathlon bicycle company. In 1989, Greg Lemond, the first American to win the Tour de France cycling race, used the aero bars designed by Lennon on the time trial bicycle that was instrumental to Lemond's victory that year. Aero bars are now a mainstay in the world of triathlons.
The Lennon design has been modified by the addition of gear shifting at the end of the bars within easy reach of the rider. This development permitted the rider to maintain their best aerodynamic position while changing gears.
Lennon's creativity was further evidenced in the development of a specialized snowboard teaching program that he created in 1991. Lennon again applied his knowledge of downhill ski training and aerodynamics to develop these teaching tools.