INK Collaboration • by Nik Howe – Black Sheep Cycling
Black Sheep and Bikestyle Tours have history. A good one. It begins with where we’re from – Queensland. We’re both businesses born and based in the Sunshine State of Australia. We both ride the world over. Have communities based around the globe. We’re also both romantic about riding bikes. In love with the places they take us. And those that we meet along the way.
John Polson, MD Black Sheep Cycling
INK by Black Sheep was created to specifically bring to life kits like the one we’ve designed for Bikestyle Tours. To service our community, corporates and teams in a way we couldn’t with a consumer-based retail brand. We pride ourselves on creating unique, individualistic garments. But we wanted to give you that same opportunity too – be that through our full custom design service on our powerful design-it-yourself online apparel builder.
Through INK by Black Sheep, we were able to collaborate with Bikestyle Tours once again. Provide a business close to our hearts a unique and refreshing approach to custom apparel.
The first time we collaborated with Bikestyle Tours was back in 2017. It was a special occasion. The Giro d’Italia had come of age 100 years of age. To some the world’s most beautiful bike race. To others, a dangerous, chaotic, egocentric pursuit to sell pink newspapers. To us, a love affair of epic proportions. You can’t not be captivated by the Giro. Or the legendary Maglia Rosa. Together, Black Sheep and Bikestyle Tours set about distilling 100 editions of passion and pain into a special issue Giro 100 Kit recognising the races incredible past and honouring its suffering heroes. We’re not exaggerating when we tell you the kit sold out in minutes. Seven to be exact.
In fact, we had just enough left in the stockroom to service Bikestyle’s guests who would be taken on a memorable, marauding trip up and down the Bel Paese. One such guest was Black Sheep Creative Director, Nik Howe, who documented the three-week epic adventure, encapsulating everything Italy and the Giro are famous for. And a lot more besides. Vertical metres for antipasto – the Mortirolo, Stelvio and Gavia. More poignant, though, was the indelible mark Bikestyle’s knowledge, know-how and hospitality left on their guests. Particularly their ride leaders whose always-on, no-job-to-small, no-question-too-big attitude made an already memorable trip, more so. These are people passionate about people. As much as they are cycling. Or unearthing the undiscovered. Names you will remember for a lifetime because they gave you a trip of a lifetime.
So, when Bikestyle Tours approached us to create an individual ride leaders kit to stand out from the crowd, utilising INK by Black Sheep, our brand new custom design platform, we didn’t hesitate. In fact, we were honoured. We sort to design a collection that was unique, striking and memorable. To honour the ride leaders for who they really are – the real heroes of Grand Tour cycling.
Adam Gill, MD of Bikestyle Tours
We have always prided ourselves on providing amazing experiences for our guests by partnering with industry-leading businesses and most importantly working with quality people.
Our first collaboration with Black Sheep came from a mutual passion for cycling and a chance to do something different. The 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia was the perfect opportunity and we couldn’t have been happier with the partnership and the experiences we shared together.
When we heard Black Sheep were about to release INK we jumped at the chance to collaborate again. We love the new design and the quality of the bike kit is 2nd to none. Most importantly we had a chance to work with a great group of people who share the same passion for cycling as we do. Huge thanks to Johnny and the entire Black Sheep Team.