I’ll never forget the day I first laid eyes on the white queen; the pearlescent white Pinarello Treviso shining like a diamond in the darkest of caves. My bro was definitely going to win the race now I thought.
I was only 7 at the time so I could only dream of owning such an amazing bike. Instead I had to take one hand-me-down part to the next until I began servicing bikes and building wheels for the local bike club, buying parts from one old man to fix and sell to another. I learnt everything I could and saved all my rand for each very special upgrade. First I bought the RX 100 groupset, piece by piece, then the Time Equipe pedals, then the Patrick leather shoes. Then came Campag 8 speed, then 9 speed which by then I’d earned a Colnago Master Olympic too.
All the while I trained and raced. And trained and trained and raced. And after heading to Europe and racing there for a few years I went back to what I knew best, what I’d always loved, what I’d been chasing all those years – building perfect bikes and dappling in the worlds finest cycling equipment.
In 2008 Jean-Claude set up Pretorius as a workshop in Kings Cross. Since then it’s moved and grown, and has been at the Arch in Shoreditch since 2010. Even though six years in the bike industry has made him lose most of his hair, he still loves his work and remembers his roots. He is joined by Eryn, who runs the fitting studio and takes care of most of the design work, and Leah, the smiley face when you walk in the door, who is in charge of the cafe and helps keep things going behind the scenes.