The aim of Oakley’s New One Obsession campaign is to highlight, inspire and encourage professional, amateur and everyday athletes. The mission is to invite and bring together athletes and fans who share the same obsession and mindset. No matter where you are in your journey, nothing stands in between you and your goals. In this feature we look into the mind of cyclist and entrepeneur Wandile Zondo of Thesis Lifestyle in Soweto as he shares the obsession mindset of his #CantStop moments.
STORY: BRETT BELLAIRS
PHOTOGRAPHY: JANSEN VAN STADEN
Where does your love for cycling stem from, would you say it’s your obsession?
For me it is a way of life, it stems from riding as a kid. It’s more like tapping into my childhood memories.
Have you always been into bicycles?
Yes, like all guys, but I was introduced into the single speed and fixie culture four years ago.
You are into running as well, you seem to be into eating healthily and fitness in general, tell us about that and do you do these activities on your own or do you have a crew that you roll and run with?
I live a balanced lifestyle and that requires me to be healthy. What I like about cycling and running is that it gives me a chance to engage with other creatives who lead healthy lifestyles and I can do the sports solo, for some downtime. You don’t have to rely on a group to ride or run, but on the other hand, riding or running in groups motivates you to stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone. Hence, I run with Thesis Run Cru and ride with a group of friends on weekends to discover new places and meet different types of people that are like-minded.
I heard that you did the Comrades marathon this year, how was your experience of it?
It was a great life changing experience that demanded a lot of focus and hard work. It also taught me the importance of planning: if you plan and stick to it, anything is possible. For a first-time runner, a lot could have gone wrong but I had a plan and stuck to it. I managed to finish in 7h 56m for the up run, which was not bad for a first-timer. Next year I’m going for my back-to-back medal and aiming for a better time.
Do you do any cycling races as well or are you more into commuter/ lifestyle cycling?
Straight up commuter cyclist fixie, no brakes kind of guy. No racing unless it’s alley cat.
A lot of other local brands have come and gone in that time, what’s been your secret to success?
Never quit; “winners are no quitters and quitters are no winners”. So Mama raised a winner…
Thesis has been going strong for around 12 years now, tell us a bit about your journey so far.
It has been a journey of learning and pushing boundaries within the street culture, from clothing, live music sessions, urban cycling and running. We have really played a huge role in influencing youth culture trends in SA. Making a living out of your passion is priceless. It has its up and downs because business is never stable, so you need to adjust and evolve with the times.
Your custom bike looks amazing, who built that bad boy for you or did you put it together yourself? Do you have any other bikes?
Emile from Whippet Cycles built it. It’s a custom built vintage Cinelli steel frame. I have two bikes – Rusty Dusty and Green Mamba.
Thesis has produced some really cool cycling-inspired clothing already such as the ‘ride or die’ jackets, cycling caps etc. Do you sell bikes or plan to sell bikes too at the Thesis store or just stick to the apparel?
The Ride or Die range was inspired by our cycling lifestyle and our inspiration to make a clothing range stemmed from that. The Thesis brand will always prioritize on apparel first and then get inspiration from different urban cultures. With regards to selling bikes I can not write that off as I’m an entrepreneur and should use an opportunity as it arises. I will go for it in the future.
Is there a big commuter/ lifestyle cycling scene in Jozi/Soweto?
Yes, there is a culture of a single speed bike, where different crews meet up to ride on weekends and explore the city. The crews are spread all around from the East Rand, Soweto, West Rand and Jozi. I know a few people who commute but that is not a huge number.
What community projects and events are you involved with in Soweto/Jozi?
We recently hosted J!6 Family Fest which is a 16km social run and 16km social ride around Soweto. And Thesis Run Cru is a social run crew that links up on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday all in the name of running. I would like to see more people coming and joining the run crew.
What plans do you have in the pipeline for Thesis, and how does one get one’s hands on some of your gear if you don’t live in Jozi?
The plan is to grow the culture and expand our footprint into different provinces and hoods around SA. You can get hold of us through social media and our website www.thesis.co.za or Thesis Lifestyle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.