Owner & Chief Bike Mechanic
I grew up in Kenya, spending days outside, chasing bugs, climbing trees (and falling out of them), riding bikes (and falling off them), and discovering what hurts and what doesn’t. My brother knocked me off my bike once by accident; another time I borrowed a bike with no brakes and ended up in a fire pit, rapidly followed by the local A&E department on both occasions. I learnt at an early age that it’s better to stay on a bike than fall off it!
Moving from Kenya to Bath in my early teens I realised that in the UK bikes were a great way to get around; to and from school, in and out of town, to and from University and later commuting to and from work.
Spending time outdoors, whether walking, biking, kiting, sailing, diving or running has always been important as way to relax, keep healthy, meet great people and explore amazing places; I’m lucky to count over 26 countries as places I’ve explored over the past 30-something years. My first road bike experience occurred during a family holiday to Canada and ended 20 minutes later being carted off to A&E (again) by Edmonton Fire & Rescue. Some years later my XC experience, or lack of, resulted in me being carted off to A&E in Frimley Park, Berkshire.
Fortunately none of my A&E visits have dampened my passion for riding bikes.
In 2010 an opportunity came up to work in a bike shop, and I’ve been in the industry ever since. I’m lucky to be able to work in a career that is also my passion. I cut my teeth on custom bike builds and general repairs in various shops in southern England, before taking my skills overseas to help develop and run a bike workshop in Cairns, Australia.
After unsuccessfully applying for an emigration visa with Pip and returning to the UK, I joined SRAM as a warranty and service technician, learning the inner workings of what make SRAM, Rockshox, Zipp and the rest of the group brands tick. Four years later I left SRAM and freelanced as a mechanic for a few months in the south.
In 2017 we moved to Scotland and I brought my specialist knowledge with me. I spent two years enjoying being part of another bike business in Peebles, then in mid-2019 was lucky enough to finally have my own business in Bspoke Cycles.
Owner & Chief Organiser
I like cake and so I need to ride my bike, otherwise I’d be fat!
No, I really do love riding my bike! If I was to describe myself then I’d say I’m a bit of “jack of all trades, but master of none” with a variety of bikes in my shed. I love the MTB for the freedom of the forest and the traffic free swoops, turns and drops. I love the gravel bike for the longer, slower adventures, and I love the road bike for the speed and freedom of going further and faster. And I have GREAT friends I love to ride with. Oh, and did I mention I love to swim and run too! Outdoors is where it’s at.
I was born and bred in Kenya but moved over to the UK in 2005 with the view to moving to Australia, but as you’ve guessed – I’m still here! My childhood background is littered with a variety of sports – as you can imagine growing up in a warm country, but my passion until I was 28 was horse riding. I was lucky enough to compete for Kenya but left that all behind when I moved to the UK.
Before I’d left Kenya, I’d got involved in mountain biking, and that was cemented when I moved and bought a Specialised Rockhopper. I have always loved competition and it wasn’t long until I was taking part in local mountain bike races. It wasn’t until I met my husband and thought about joining the local triathlon team that I got my first road bike. I did not initially enjoy that so much, but I loved the triathlon environment and it brought together my swimming, biking and running.
From that moment I’ve swum, run and biked through the most amazing places, met incredible and inspiring people and had some great successes of my own. I’ve qualified and competed at World Standard Distance Triathlon for GB, I’ve qualified and competed at the World Cross Triathlon Championships for Kenya, I’ve qualified for the Road Racing Championships, I’ve qualified for Xterra World Championships – but moved to Australia for a year instead – and had many more wonderful event successes.
Seeing every type of person on the start line is amazing and to top it all off, I’ve just competed in a triathlon where there was equal ratio of women to men on the start line! Come on you girls!
My love of all this madness has driven me to want to encourage others to do the same and to put something back into the sports that I love, so I went off and did my Level 2 Triathlon coaching (thinking of my level 3) and my Level 2 British Cycling Coach. With this I’ve helped all the local triathlon clubs I’ve been part of, set up women’s only cycling sessions and groups and just found the most amazing people through this journey.
And now we own a bike shop! So, here’s to getting more people off their couches and onto bikes!
Simuni is obviously in charge! From her elevated position in the window she oversees all that goes on at the desk and keeps track of who passes by and of course keeps a note of what bike they’re riding. Rescued through Springer Rescue Scotland, she is named after a Kenyan 50-cent coin, known as a ‘simuni’. Two 50 cents make a Kenyan shilling. An old English shilling is made up of two sixpence, also known as a ‘Tanner’; and of course we tie the two together with both being from Kenya and being Tanners! Bit long winded but we love our story and our crazy little dog. She makes us laugh and keeps us sane.