Ground Effect Revolutionaries

7 min read

Back in the rose tinted days of 1994, at the birth of Ground Effect, we tossed around a swag of ideas to capture our grand vision - not to just design and make great cycle clothing - but to inspire a Cycling Revolution. We pictured a sort of middle-class anarchy as the population shifted away from the automobile-centric world model. We became embroiled in mountain bike, and cycle, advocacy. Ground Effect was tagged with the by-line ‘gear for the cycling revolution’. Our newsletter was christened UnderGround - the unofficial journal of the cycling revolution. And our sponsored riders became ‘revolutionary’ soldiers. They’re an eclectic bunch of passionate cyclists, backcountry adventurers, battle-hardened racers, trail builders, advocates, gear testers, photographers and social media nodes. Stay in touch on this page or stalk them individually on Instagram. 

▸ Jamie Nicoll

Once dubbed ‘The World’s Fastest Privateer’, Jamie Nicoll’s story is worthy of Hollywood-Biopic. Suffering near-fatal burns while track building in Chilean Patagonia, he battled back to score a factory ride on the Enduro World Series, placing 8th in 2013. Racing amongst the world’s best - he has won the Trans-Savoie, Mountain of Hell and NZ Enduro (twice), podiumed at Crankworx and Trans Provence.

Adventure has always defined Jamie. He has naturally transitioned from racing to more specific adventure riding - organising, leading and capturing mountain bike trips to exotic locations. His office and home while in NZ is a red 1960 Bedford school bus, parked up on a friend's lifestyle block overlooking the sea. It has solar panels, a wood stove and outdoor shower. Simple living. When campaigning during the Northern Hemisphere summer Jamie hangs in Morzine with his German girlfriend Elena. 

Instagram: @jamienicolladventures

Sponsors: Santa Cruz, Fox, Hope, Michelin, CamelBak, 100% and IXS.

▸ Sam Shaw

A reformed cross country whippet, Sam campaigned as a member of the NZ XC team on the World Cup circuit in 2013. Since then he's turned enduro and tucked a Batchelor of Science (majoring in ecology) under his belt. Post university Sam is squeezing work between every cross country, downhill, singlespeed and local enduro race he can hitch a ride to, before heading offshore for the 2018 Enduro World Series.

Sam is unsure whether he hails from Rotorua or his uni town of Palmerston North, but he does boast a world class instagram handle.

Instagram: @samshawthing

Sponsors: Zerode, Pinion, Enve, Cane Creek, POC, OSM

▸ Ollie Whalley

Long distance masochist and previous ‘winner' of the Tour Aotearoa, Kiwi Brevet and 4000km Great Divide Race.

Ollie has a healthy obsession with design and innovation to make his bike go faster for longer, on road and off. He hangs his helmet in Nelson and when not keeping his young son Max away from scissors, is often spied charging Peking Ridge with his best mate, and fellow revolutionary, Tristan Rawlence.  

 

Instagram: @whalleyollie

▸ Damian Stones

Multi-day multi-sport adventurer, designer and builder of pump tracks and jump parks, and sometime graphic artist. Damian is equally at home mixing with the groms at the jump park, launching drop-offs with his bike-packing laden conveyance, or extracting a caffeine hit for any and all at a backcountry hut. Notable missions include the Waiau Toa Odyssey - biking and pack rafting from Lake Rotoiti to Kekerengu. 

Instagram: @damianstones

Sponsors: Santa Cruz, Shimano, Smith, Yakima, Sublime Coffee, Jet Boil, Osprey, Avantiplus Richmond, Sea To Summit, SAR Dynamics, Stealth Bike Bags.

▸ Anja McDonald

Anja nails enduro, cycle cross and ultra long distance bike-packing races. Last year she defended her National CX title on a very muddy Wellington track, graced multiple enduro podiums and completed the inaugural 3000km Tour Aotearoa at the front of the pack in a nudge over 10 days. Anja has a degree in Industrial Design but now answers a higher calling. Along with husband Tristan, she helps protect endangered birds with DOC. Between bike rides, Anja gets to stomp around remote parts of New Zealand backcountry for a week or more at a time. Choice.

Bike Sponsor: Juliana

▸ Tristan Rawlence

The consummate all rounder - 'racing' brevets and cycle cross - and often found on the podium at local enduro races. Tristan's day job is with DOC - protecting endangered birds around Nelson and Kahurangi National Park. He spends a lot of time 'on location' - flying to the back of beyond to monitor bird life and manage pest control activities. Arduous, fun and worthy in equal measures. 

 Bike Sponsor: Santa Cruz

▸ Mops Newell

Larger than life, and taller than most. Mops fills the room with as much energy as she hurls down Enduro trails and around XC courses. Ten years ago a visit to the doctor with a sore hip resulted in an instruction to cease and desist from running. A crushing blow given her then passion for rugby and basketball - playing at national and international levels respectively. Cycling got the big tick though and Mops rapidly gained skills and results on the national circuit. In 2018 she was crowned Enduro World Series Masters Champion, or in her words "World's Fastest Old Lady". This title has amped her to go further, higher and faster. When not on the pedals, Mops earns her crust wielding a hammer in her home town of Wanaka.

Instagram: @mopscycle

Sponsors: Mike Greer Homes Wanaka, Lake Wanaka Electrical, Sweet Cheeks, CushCore, Bontrager, Trek, Fox, Blue Shark, Camelbak, Lezyne, Cognitive Cycle Works, Cardrona Dirt Park and Hope Tech

▸ Sasha Smith

Helium filled tyres help Sasha to constantly manual and pop air off insignificant wrinkles in the track. She races enduro (fast), XC, brevets, cycle cross (on her beloved self-built hardtail 'Poobrown'), and teaches mtb skills to adults through Joyride, and to younger riders through WORD in Wellington. Her lifetime quest is to pedal further in pursuit of the perfect bagel.

Instagram: @piki.pik

▸ Dave Mitchell

A mountain bike original - Dave renounced his petrol head trail biking fetish, for a bright blue and fully rigid Miyata Ridge Runner, in 1986. He was a founding member of the NZ Mountain Bike Association and part of the NZ team at the first Mtb World Championships in Durango in 1990.

Dave has explored most nooks and crannies of the NZ backcountry - including the first off-road mtb traverse of the South Island. He's ridden extensively overseas including multiple trips to USA, Canada, South America, Europe and Kenya-Tanzania. Dave is a prolific blogger and takes iconic backcountry photos for his NZ Mtb Calendar.

Instagram: @mtbingmitch

Sponsors: Norco, Biomaxa. 

▸ Ditte van der Meulen

Partner in crime, life and adventures with Dave Mitchell. Ditte has ridden her mountain bike to most corners of the globe and NZ's more obscure tracks, routes and braided river valleys. Ditte spends a lot of time smiling and patiently chomping at the bit while Dave catches the moment on his digital box brownie.

Sponsors: Norco, Biomaxa. 

▸ Simon Kennett

Simon's cycling CV is thicker than most. He and brothers Paul and Jonathan have authored numerous books, including the iconic Classic NZ Mtb Rides. They founded the Karapoti Classic Mtb Race and brought the first World Cup to NZ - hosted at Wellington's Mount Victoria.

He was one of the ringleaders responsible for establishing Wellington's Makara Peak mountain bike park and continues to be involved both track building and tree planting. Was a founding member ofthe NZ Mountain Bike Association and part of the NZ team at the first Mtb World Championships in Durango in 1990. A cycle touring enthusiast, Simon completed the 4000km Great Divide Race in 2008 and organised the first three Kiwi Brevets around the top of the South Island, introducing dirt Brevets to New Zealand. A lifelong mountain bike and cycling advocate, Simon's current focus is infrastructure to support commuting by bike. 

▸ Simon Adams

Lead test pilot at Ground Effect, Simon cleverly orchestrated his own redundancy some decades ago enabling his life to revolve around biking, surfing, sea kayaking and skiing. We are jealous as hell.

He clocks serious miles on and off-road, testing new Ground Effect designs and fabrics. Hard to please (we like that) and a committed analytical, Simon religiously records and summarises conditions, data and performance parameters. He suffers being seen in public wearing odd coloured half and half garments but claims compensation as a regular for 10:30 coffee, scones and chitchat at Ground Effect... that is when he and partner Mandy are not AWOL somewhere about the South Island in their 4WD camper loaded with the requisite toys. Still jealous.

▸ Tony Hutcheson

Once upon a time, a long time ago Tony lived in Auckland. Along with team mates Richie, Stylie, Sadie, Hira and Mags - he formed the Ground Effect Latte Racers. Our original, and only, race team. For several years they campaigned the NZ National Series wearing baggy shorts and dispensing Cookie Time to lycra clad fellow competitors.

Now based in Christchurch Tony still rides, a lot. He takes outstanding selfies on the Port Hills and further afield. He has friends too but they also take selfies. Tony has mountain biked and toured extensively around Europe. He's a renown gastrophile. There's a very long waiting list for places on gourmet multi-day trips when Tony is in charge of catering. 

Instagram: @tohamac

▸ Richard Goldsbury

It's a well kept secret that Richie is actually three clones. There is no other reasonable explanation as to how he clocks so many miles riding or snowboarding, builds so much first class singletrack, marshals the troops on his infamous pre-dawn backcountry hike-bike adventures... and holds down a full time job.

He also designs and builds his own mid-mount gear box bikes (although is threatening to give that away in favour of a Zerode Taniwha from his mate Rob Metz) and is master of action-selfies and an insightful instagram poet. Favourite weekend destinations include Craigieburn and Alexandra.

Instagram: @richardgoldsbury

▸ Odin Woods

Along with Tony and Richie, Odin provides the third leg of the Ground Effect selfie brigade. His evocative snaps at sunrise and dusk never fail to draw a gasp of envy. He's a committed and skilled hardtailer - his weapon of choice at the NZ Enduro and Ground Effect staff trip on the Old Ghost Road, with no lack of pace evident.

Odin is also an artisan in high demand - with hours spent hammering and welding in his shed to produce industrial objects d'art or North Shore style bike racks for his mates.

Instagram: @odinwoodsphoto

▸ Nick Crocker

Nick reckons he is possibly the only mountain biker to emerge from Patea (surfing being the dominant recreation in The Naki). A paper run financed him into his first bike, a Giant Sedona. His current Santa Cruz Hightower LT may have taken a few more rounds to save up for.

In between those two bikes, he gained a business degree in sports management, dabbled in multisport, has built tracks in Chile & Nelson’s Wairoa Gorge and organised a bundle of events - including the first five editions of the annual Dodzy Memorial at the Gorge. Currently in Rotorua, he runs a few events including the Low-Key Super D, is a first response medic in the Redwoods, and is mostly seen on the trails with his canine assistant Lucy.

Instagram: @nickocrocker 

▸ B-Rad Beddek

B-Rad cut his teeth recycling bikes from the inorganic rubbish collections as a boy in Auckland. He's since drifted south to become an institution at bike races around Nelson and beyond - relentlessly burning the midnight oil while ministering his magic to abused and broken bikes so their pilots can front up at the start line the next morning. Depending on the time of day, spring him a coffee or beer next time he saves y'ass at the Dodzy or NZ Enduro.

Instagram: @b_rad_cycle_service 


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