Tell us a bit about Milk Bikes, then...
I recently saw an illustration of a street completely jammed with 50 cars, the drivers leaning out of their windows with expletives in speech bubbles above their heads. A second graphic showed the same street with 50 people riding bikes, waving and chatting as they cruised along. The difference was immediately clear; cycling makes our urban spaces so much more pleasant.
We design and produce bikes that are super low maintenance, clean and functional, but above all they are a pleasure to ride. Bikes that make people look forward to their next chance to get out and ride.
The bikes are designed and assembled in Chelmsford. We outsource some parts to makers and suppliers who are simply way better than us.
What's your background?
I grew up on a beautiful little dairy farm in the north east of Zimbabwe. That's where 'Milk' comes from! As a youngster I was pretty handy at swimming and triathlons; that's when my appreciation of cycling started.
Loughborough University combined their sport and engineering prowess into one course focused on sports equipment design. This was my dream degree course, so I came to the UK, studied and have been working with bikes ever since.
Any exciting plans for 2014?
This year we're launching our Series ranges. These are small production runs of just a dozen bikes. We're going to make each bike within a Series different in some way. For example, on the farm where I grew up there were around 250 Jersey cows. Instead of giving each cows a serial number, we named them. We want to do something similar with each Series.
We plan to release four Series each year and we won’t ever repeat a design. These bikes are pretty special.
Our first batch, Series 01, is available to pre-order now, and plans for the next two Series are starting to take shape. Can’t wait!
What inspires you?
Strangely enough I find wood, and in particular wooden furniture, inspiring. There’s just something about it… maybe the endless possibilities of the material, or the organic feel? We made a pretty cool front porter rack and a full set of guards for the Series 01 bikes from wood.
What's your essential cycling tip?
Cycle more. Even if it’s just once around the block each week, get out there and turn the pedals over. And get someone to go with you!