Part workshop part shop, Hunter Cycling in Braamfontein has become a hub for city cycling enthusiasts, both serious and amateurs alike. The ever popular Jozi Hustle night races are organised by the guys at Hunter, as well as a range of other niche cycling events. The ethos that underpins everything is the pure and simple love of cycling, the thrill of the race, and the inherent fun therein. We spoke to Emile and Melvin to learn a little more…
Where is your space?
70 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
What about the location and space appeals to you?
The area has a great energy. It is the heart of a unique Johannesburg, African style. It’s close to the city, where we love to ride.
Is there a story behind how you came to occupy the space?
We started JoziHustle a year and a half ago. The first two started in the suburbs and were ok. Then Levi’s opened a commuter clubhouse at 70 Juta for a few months and we created a new route for JoziHustle, starting and ending at the clubhouse. We loved it, people loved it, and when the Levi’s clubhouse closed, we wanted to see if we could keep a space going to ride and race from, and to meet friends and drink beer at. So we ended up renting the space as a clubhouse.
In what ways does that part of the city inspire what Hunter Cycling is all about?
Hopefully, we have assimilated some of this great emerging style and ideology because we are Joburgers. So what we create and organise should reflect that.
What’s in the name, ‘Hunter Cycling’?
The thrill of the chase. The pursuit. We ride bikes all kinds of ways, but we are bike racers too. “Hunter” captures that element of bicycle racing.
Can you let us in on the secret that’s “the reason why all cyclists love to ride”? (taken from your ‘About’ blurb on Facebook)
It’s no secret. It’s fun. All the countless other benefits to the rider and this environment are a bonus.
Cycling’s booming at the moment, especially in niche areas like fixies, cruisers, cyclecross, etc. Why do you think this is?
People are sick of seeing cycling as a serious sport only. They want to ride more as a lifestyle, or not take the sport so seriously. And people in Jozi are falling in love with their city again. The best way to get around her is by bicycle.
I get the sense that Hunter Cycling is a bit of a hub, or ‘clubhouse’ for discerning cyclists. Is this the intention; and who is welcome?
Everyone is welcome. If you come around, you will find mountain bikers, hipsters, roadies. We don’t care. They are all good people who love riding. We like that we are a clubhouse. That was the intention when we first took the space.
Please can you tell us a little more about the things that Hunter Cycling organises like the Jozi Hustle, the cyclecross races, workshop builds, the Levi’s Commuter trials, etc…
All of these things are about fun.
Jozi Hustle is a race on a fixed course through the city, at night. The course is not closed to traffic, and the pace is fast, although there are people that ride the course at a relaxed pace. We hand out prizes and drink beer afterwards, and usually end up at a city spot until late.
Cyclocross is a short course off-road obstacle race, usually 30 to 45 minutes long, and is spectator friendly and great to watch. It’s also the hardest thing you will ever do on a bike, but its so much fun.
The Roll By Commuter trial are 1000m sprints on a stationary fixed gear bike, with software showing who is winning. It’s usually beer fuelled and also a great spectator sport. After our November critical mass we hosted the Levi’s and Hunter Cycling party where the quarter, semis and finals where held, along with beer and music. The qualifiers were held at Hunter earlier in the month.
What’s the relationship between Hunter Cycling in JHB and Starling & Hero in CT?
The custom bicycle building side of Starling & Hero (S&H Custom) is now merging with Hunter Cycling; one big happy family. The Starling & Hero Bicycle Cafe in Cape Town remains a separate entity.
A bit of bike porn: What does your ultimate bike look like?
Steel, no brakes, clean lines, drop bars.
What music is playing at hunter Cycling?
Chuck Berry – Havana Moon.
What will the space never see?
Never say never.
What new exciting things should we look forward to coming out of the space?
A working coffee machine / More beer / Beautiful bicycles / Alleycat races / Stuff to inspire you to ride our city