A couple of months ago, I made the very difficult decision to put the brand and business that is Rook Cycles up for sale. It was up there with some of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in my life, and I had no idea if we’d find the right people or even if there would be interest.
I know how much I love this biz, how much i love riding and creating - but would there be others who would fit the same mould?
The response has been overwhelming! It turned into a full time job, meeting all the interested bike biz peeps, and seeing who might be the right fit for Rook Cycles’ next chapter.
It was tough. There were lots of rad guys and girls who were keen to progress the Rook story and it was a pleasure meeting every single one of you!
It was a collective that really caught my attention with their offer and vision for the future of Rook Cycles. The proposal was rather than sell the business, remain a partner! This really got me thinking: It allowed me to explore a new adventure in a European territory, while still giving my creative input and stoke into the Rook Cycles project.
This decision was cemented by the new team’s experience and vision -
So without further adieu, introducing the new and improved Rook Cycles Team!
The original founder and brains behind the brand. Luke is forwarding his career as a bicycle entrepreneur in Lisbon, while still staying involved with the Rook Cycles’s brand in a creative capacity. Although Luke won’t be running the day to day of the bike shop anymore, he is still very much part of the team and vision for the product design and future plans of the Rook Cycles brand. Luke’s infectious energy and meticulous attention to detail is ingrained in the Rook ethos - and he will be an ongoing mind in the mix for the future.
Ian is a Namibian born South African who is passionate about social change and bicycles! Over the last 20 years Ian has lead and managed numerous development NGO’s throughout the African continent - Ian is currently involved with the world renowned bicycle NGO, Qhubeka Charity, and truly believes that bicycles can and do change lives! Ian will bring his energy, passion and experience to the overall management of Rook Cycles, and is keen on getting his single speed legs back in action.
Klaas van Mill:
Klaas is a (crazy) Dutchman living in Cape town. Happily married to a South African Wife, (they are the best) Klaas always speaks his mind. Hailing from the Netherlands, he was practically “born on a bicycle”. Klaas is passionate about building commuter culture in South Africa. He brings business wisdom to the team with 20 working years in product marketing and management, Klaas ended his corporate days as vice president of the Gillette Company Europe. A change of tack, Klaas moved into aid work in Southern Sudan, and currently invests most of his time in non-profit organisations making a difference for others. He has worked on bicycle projects for health workers in Kenya and has a vision to get more South Africans on good quality affordable bicycles. Klaas brings his experience in marketing and developing teams to add value to the Rook brand building the next chapter of Rook Cycles .
Tim has had a lifelong love affair with bicycles and cycling, to the point of obsession! He is also deeply committed to social justice and accessible mobility. He is firmly of the view that bicycles offer a sustainable, affordable solution to urban mobility. But most importantly, he believes that bikes are also a source of deep joy and happiness and an important path to the meaning of life. Tim brings strong experience in small business development and management and has also worked in the policy development space. He is currently managing the Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN), a rocking NGO that focuses on empowering disadvantaged communities and individuals through bicycles and cycling.
Sibo was born in KZN and moved to Cape Town to study at UCT. Cycling caught his attention when he was scrolling through the channels and stumbled upon a mountain bike race. Feeling inspired and keen to ride, he hired a bike and took on the mountain. His first ride only lasted a few km’s of struggle on a long climb. He was however, hooked and kept coming back for more. Sibo is in the investment industry and is involved in many social causes. He brings a big heart to the team, to play his part in building businesses and success in South Africa. He’s married to a wife who runs much faster than him so he cycles to maintain his dignity & Zulu pride.
As much a part of the Cape Town scene as the big rock in the middle of town - this rock n roller / bike shop manager / producer / meme genius has become an integral part of the Rook bike shop. Starting out as an assistant and then working his way up to eventually manage the shop single handed - Avi knows his shit. Always a smile, and the baddest (meaning best) tunes blasting out of the shop speakers - Aviwe is here to stay and is Rook family.
Forever chilled, Mthunzi will zen out any situation. AKA “Thunch” recently joined the bike shop team and is the robin to Avi’s batman. Sometimes, Robin even saves the day, and he’s no doubt a bike shop super hero. Mthunzi is Fast learner and a quickly becoming a real G in the workshop. If he’s not in the bike shop, you’ll find him designing fresh threads as a men’s wear fashion designer.
I couldn’t be more stoked with the new team and what each of them bring to the table. There’s only so far I could take this single handedly, and the future of Rook Cycles is now looking brighter than ever.
Magic behind the bars in the making,
See you on the road,
The new team takes the handlebars 1 October.