“Riding month after month for thousands of miles through countries where they don’t speak your language and you don’t speak theirs allows you a particular kind of perspective, you get to figure stuff out. You get to figure stuff out exactly. I figured out that I wanted to exactly start building frames and produce my own bikes. Now this was up in the north of China whilst I lay in my tent at the side of the road being kept awake by the coal trucks rumbling endlessly past.
As I thought about it more and more I was like how has it taken me this long to figure it out. I grew up on bikes. My uncle got me my first BMX and I used it to jump friends on the pavement out the front of my house, a few years later he would drop recumbents ’round he’d been working on in his factory. My dad got me an old Peugeot racer and I thought I was going to win the Tour de France. Then I got into racing mountain bikes, winning the first national downhill I entered. Pretty soon after that I went off to study design and learn how to make things, I worked as a bicycle messenger to pay my way. More time spent on a BMX, a little time on my old Schwinn with my surf board strapped to my homemade trailer before I found myself commuting on my old messenger bike in London.
Then here I was, I’d just ridden across the Gobi desert and now I was laying in my tent listening to the coal trucks somewhere west of Beijing. But it took until that point in north China to realise, kind of like when you realise that that cute girl you’ve grown up best friends with you actually love, that I absolutely needed to start making bikes. Couldn’t have been any clearer.”