1986 was a vintage year for the Tour de France as it saw two legends of the sport – Greg LeMond and Bernhard Hinault – go head to head in the battle to win the greatest of all the Grand Tours. This dramatic tête-à-tête inspired the then-16 year old Mark Blewett to emulate his heroes by taking to a life on two wheels – a decision that would shape his entire life, see him make the pro-peloton himself, and eventually give rise to SwiftCarbon in 2008.
Mark combines his first hand experience as a former professional road racer with an industrial design education, and a deep-rooted love of cycling. Although he never achieved the lofty heights of his heroes, his achievements – leading his country as South Africa was welcomed back to the global sporting stage after the isolation years, notching up some impressive results against many of the big names in the early 90s, and racing as a professional in Portugal – helped inspire and open the door for the current generation of South African riders.
After he hung up his race number, Mark worked in textiles between Asia and South Africa whilst his passion for cycling never waivered. During a business trip to China he visited a bike shop in the city of Xiamen and discovered that it is the home to one of the biggest producers of carbon fibre bikes in the world. This fortuitous find gave rise to a moment of inspired ambition and SwiftCarbon was born.
Mark chose to live in Xiamen so he could literally get his hands dirty overseeing the development, production and quality control of SwiftCarbon’s bikes. No other company owner has quite the same hands-on approach and this is indicative of the company’s unique philosophy. Mark tests in the hills surrounding his adopted home, combining his hard-earned professional racing experience and his desire to succeed into every SwiftCarbon bike.
“We’re not a big company,” explains Mark, “but we’re smart, lean, agile and competitive. Just like our bikes.”