Last week Spoke released its latest T-shirt design. The design came from the mind and pencil of Brendan Van den Bosch.

Brendan is a washed up fixie rider, who has swapped the pavement for dirt and disc brakes. He does however, still wear skinny jeans, but we’ll let him have that one. Even though Brendan is relatively new to the world of dirt, you can guarantee he’ll be out riding the trails around Auckland in any weather.


How old are you?
Just turned 30, growing grey hair.

Where do you live?
Currently in a house in Onehunga while looking to purchase our first home.

What do you like best about living where you do?
The hood rats. Nothing really, don’t see the fascination with the burbs, but it’s close to work etc.

What do you dislike about living where you do?
Close to nothing. No riding, anyways.

How did you get involved in the mountain bike scene to begin with, and how long ago was that?
Did you just say scene? I can remember as a kid riding mountain bikes, but that was just blasting down gravel roads and grass hills in Manukau. They have actual trails there from what I’ve heard. Then I was on and off for a while, I kept hurting myself BMXing, had one big MTB accident and it put me off for a while. Back on when I went back to study, Bike Central (R.I.P) in Auckland City opened up and the guys there really got me back into it. Borrowed a singlespeed for a while, went to the SS nationals for fun, crashed and broke the bike and myself the day before the race. Didn’t put me off though, came back, bought my own singlespeed and started riding a lot more regularly. I must also make a disclaimer, I suck at riding. When I was a kid I had nobody to ride with, and Manukau was full of gangsters that stole your bike. That hindered me a lot I think, only in the last six or seven years have I been opened up to what mountain biking is about. Had I known that earlier and grown up in a different place closer to trails etc I doubt I would’ve given up. So after a few years studying, riding my bikes (another disclaimer, I rode a fixie and tried my hand at being a courier), I got my first job out of design school to work for Avanti. That of course had me on a bike every day, and being surrounded by bike people really helped develop my passion for bikes. I worked there two years, left for greener pastures and to try new things. I miss it but I know I’ve made the right move. There’s no money in bikes, it’s a shame and hopefully that will change. I still enjoy riding as much as I ever have, just have to make more of an effort these days. The lack of places to ride and the distance to them doesn’t help. But I enjoy making the effort to go for a ride. There’s also a lot happening in Auckland towards getting some good trails going.

What’s your ‘day’ job? What does it involve?
I draw pictures. I used to put graphics on the bikes for Avanti, ABD etc. Now I put graphics on other things, but basically sit around drawing pictures, designing packaging and have started designing actual products that I can put my graphics on and put inside the packaging I’ve designed.

How would you describe your riding style?
Amateur. I’m plagued with bad fitness and my beer gut doesn’t help. I don’t like big jumps, they scare the shit out of me. Basically I just like being out in the bush and going down a hill at a reasonable speed. The beer tastes twice as good after a ride too, so that’s what drives me.

Favourite trail?
I went down Flying Nun a while ago, that was pretty awesome, so every time I get down there I try and ride it. Other than that, Rotorua is always good, but haven’t had time to go in close to a year. When in Auckland I enjoy riding Maraetai, I like the community based atmosphere there, to me that’s what mountain biking is all about and that place has a lot of potential.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in the last 10 years?
Don’t sell bikes.

What’s wrong with mountain biking?
I don’t think there’s too much wrong with it, if somebody is riding a bike, that’s a good thing. The only thing I don’t like would be the lack of trails close to where I live. I also hate that little kids are ripping down trails a lot better than I am. They have that no fear attitude you seem to lose later in life. But really I don’t hate them, I’m just jealous.

Three things right with mountain biking?
People I ride with being passionate about developing mountain biking.
Growing momentum that it has at the moment, it’s becoming more accessible to the general public.
How great beer tastes after mountain biking

Top two mountain bike developments in the last 10 years (bike park, part or whatever)
Modern technical advancements that make bikes lighter and stronger, Dropper seat posts.
People finding the potential in a hill with some bush on it like Maraetai.

All time favourite rider?
At the moment I’m really proud of Brooke Macdonald and all the other New Zealand riders doing really well. I’m in awe of most professional riders that are on all the videos at the moment but one guy I think has a really good style is Steve Smith.

Top five favourite bits of mountain bike kit?
Helmet, (the Fox Flux is the only helmet that fits me and is comfortable)
Knee pads
Is a Lezyne shock pump a piece of bike kit?

Who do you look up to?
Anybody building trails for me to ride, and anybody who has the time for people new to mountain biking.

What are your vices?
Beer, but that’s not really a vice, it’s a necessity of life.
Coffee too.

Finish this sentence: “On a Saturday I like to get up and….”
Cook my wife and myself breakfast, then I’m allowed to go out all day riding.
I’ve started taking my dog out when I’m by myself, that’s fun.

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