I have moved countries and now am in South Africa. Only for a couple of weeks mind, but I am here all the same. In fact it is my summer holiday, and I am using it to visit my best friend, take advantage of the southern hemisphere season reversal and to do some cycling.
I have been leant a bike here. A carbon Giant, and I am putting this to use riding around Cape Town. It isn’t my sole plan for while I am here. I am visiting a couple of friends from university (in fact, my best friend, and someone who is fast becoming one). I suppose I am just indulging myself as part of my 30th birthday celebration month.
On the friday, I worked in Johannesburg, visiting the distributor for work. Our products are available available in about 27 countries Worldwide. Although the products are fantastic, it isn’t simply a case of wheeling them out and them selling themselves. Each country has different needs, and the only way to sort out the needs of everyone and to try to make everything run as smoothly as it can is to go and see it for yourself.
In 2009 I have been to many countries seeing it for myself
It is fantastic, and I am very privileged. Not only do I get to visit many countries, but I have an automatic ‘in’ with the locals, and have my own local guides. It was true in Japan, Korea and now here. This gives an insight that you wouldn’t normally get.
South Africa itself is a country of contrasts. The paradoxes are everywhere, and it is almost a cliché to actually point them out. The rise of the black middle classes here is what is pulling the country away from its recent past, but in the bicycle industry, it is this which is stunting growth. After the oppression that black South Africans suffered, they are now in the position to afford and aspire to very normal things. Luxury cars, motorbikes, status symbol. Unfortunately though, where the problem for us lies is that cycling is seen as a white European sport. Bicycles, to many blacks, represent one of the modes of transport available to them under the old system, and therefore it is something that remains uninteresting.
Until this changes, the joys of bicycles will remain a very exclusive and marginal thing in South Africa.
I wish these guys all the luck in the world addressing that.
They are our distributors who are doing a great job in the face of adversity!