The Story Of Phetetso’s Bike

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Phetetso. Probably going to be the only mountain biker with dreadlocks in Sunday’s race.

With the track racing all over for another Olympics, everyone is starting to look forward to the mountain bike events in Rio this weekend. Four years of hard work have ensured the places of the riders present, supported by their national federations and riding the absolute top end gear suitable for the best cross country riders in the world.

However, if you’re Phetetso Monese and even if you’re the top rider in Lesotho, carbon full suspension bikes are hard to come by. Phetetso recently made the jump to a full-time pro-racer from his $80 a month job working for a soft drinks company. He’s now on $100 a month…

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Looks world-class to us…

However, he’s shown that it’s not about money or kit. Phetetso placed 21st at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and currently races on the Ace – The Sufferfest – Lesotho MTB Team and is the highest ranked black African rider on the UCI rankings. And he’s qualified for the frikkin’ Olympic mountain biking! Which makes him the first cyclist from Lesotho ever to do so.

Lesotho is ranked as one of the poorest countries of the world, yet boasts a mountain bike cycling team that is ranked 35th in the world and 2nd in Africa. There are no Lotto funds or big brand endorsements for sportsmen in Lesotho. The Lesotho government and Lesotho National Olympic Committee are not able to offer any funds towards bikes for riders.

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In order to give him the best chance in the race, his team manager, Mark West (originally from Wales by the way) and  David McQuillen, owner of the Sufferfest website (and a sponsor of the team), organised a crowd-funding campaign to buy him a worthy bike.

The target was US$4000. They raised over US$7000. Enough to build a suitably light and fast machine, with money left over to help support other riders back in Lesotho (a small, land-locked, mountainous country surrounded by South Africa – we had to look it up…). We think it’s a great story and we’ll be shouting support at the TV for the 32 year old on Sunday.

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Thumbs up from us too.

This film helped drum up support for Phetetso’s bike.

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‘But I thought you had the Allen keys…’

Here’s Mark West’s brief summary of the bike:
“We raised $7,593, mostly through friends and fans of The Sufferfest”

  • Frame: Giant Anthem (Sponsored by Giant South Africa)
  • Cockpit: Giant SLR (Sponsored by Giant SA)
  • Suspension: Front SR Suntour AXON Werx, rear EPIXON (Sponsored by SR Suntour)
  • Wheels: TOKEN C18AB MTX (2 sets sponsored by Token)
  • Powermeter: STAGES CYCLING (sponsored by STAGES)
  • Saddle: Velo Angel Fly (sponsored by Velo Saddles)
  • Brake Rotors: Ashima Ai2 in custom colours (Sponsored by Ashima)
  • Chainring: Absolute Black Oval
  • Cassette: E Thirteen TRS+ (9-44t)
  • Bottom Bracket and Pulley wheels: C-Bear Ceramic (sponsored by C-Bear)
  • Groupset: SRAM XX1/ XX
  • Tyres: Maxxis Ikon (sponsored by Maxxis)
  • Helmet: Custom Limar Ultralight+ (sponsored by Limar)
  • Shoes: DMT:M1- (sponsored by DMT)
  • Kit: Custom Pactimo (sponsored by Pactimo)

“We still have some funds left after building the bike and they will go towards supporting the rest of the team and upgrading their equipment.”

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A well-earned smile we reckon.
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Where are you again? Can you say it a bit louder?

And now for some gratuitous shots of some of Phetetso’s sponsors and supporters.

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The Olympic village balcony that Phetetso’s been turbo training on.
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Bet that was fun in customs….

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Now that IS fancy. Even we don’t get red ones from e*thirteen
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Oval ring from Absolute black. In green.
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It’s a Giant Anthem!
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SR Suntour forks
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And shock…
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It’s soooo red!

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Keep an eye out on Sunday. His dreads should be hard to miss.

Comments (7)

    No support and crowd funding is better than BC efforts.

    Nice story, remember similar at the Glasgow commonwealth games where a couple of the riders were on bike loaned to them by Glasgow bike shops. You could see them riding round on their shiny new bikes complete with wheel reflectors!

    Love this. Best of luck dude!

    I hope we hear the Lesotho ‘Anthem’ on Sunday.

    Great story. Hope he does well!

    Fantastic story, this is what the Olympics is should be all about.

    1 question though, if they’ve raised the money & bought the bike themselves, why are the all the manufacturers/suppliers getting listed as ‘sponsors’, when they quite clearly weren’t.
    Hopefully they aren’t just jumping on the publicity bandwagon, happy to make money off of the guys story & hopefully success, without him getting any support in return? Confused…

    I think that there was an amount of gear donated by sponsors, who are listed as such but other stuff, like the XX1 groupset was bought. I can delve deeper if you’d like.

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