I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life chasing the professional cyclist dream in Europe but as my first career has come to an end I’ve been asking myself, what was the point of becoming a pro in the first place? Did it matter? What can I do now? What must I do now?
It would be easy for me not to use my privilege, influence, and visibility for good. But if I don’t, why did I gain these things in the first place?
Back in 2010 I had an idea. It has taken 12 years to realize, but it is finally happening and it’s time to share it with you.
With the help of Robin Mather, Matthew Sowter, David Mercer, Andres Arregui Velazquez, Tom Sturdy, Columbus, The Bicycles Academy and countless others, we’ve created a frame-building workshop in my hometown, Omaruru, where Namibians are building world-class, steel-framed bikes. I was meant to ride one of our bikes at the Tokyo Olympics. We’d launch with a bang to a global audience. But COVID didn’t let that happen, so we went back to the drawing board.
Does the world really need another bicycle brand? No. But my hometown, Omaruru, does.
Namibia is a country of talented makers stuck in low-value jobs. Many struggle to find work aside from farm labor. Building world-class steel bicycles is a high-value trade that matches the quality of their workmanship.
From the start, I knew we could build bikes as good as the best steel frame builders in the world. But it became clear this wasn’t enough.
What do you picture when you hear “African bikes”? There’s a good chance you’re not thinking of a luxury, world-class bike. And you’re not alone. We need to change the way people think about goods made in Namibia - and from Africa as a whole. Name a luxury brand from the African continent…? We have our work cut out for us.
Our first builders, Petrus Mufenge and Sakaria Nkolo, are building world-class steel framed bikes on a dusty farm in Namibia. It’s maybe the last place you’d expect something extraordinary to come from. But we’re doing it. And I need your help, so please come along on this journey with us.