Last year bike enthusiasts Nic Grobler and Stan Engelbrecht published bicycle portraits, a beautiful photographic exploration of bicycle commuter life in South Africa. Engelbrecht has a fascination with the mechanics of the bicycle and a background in photography, while grobler has an interest in the role the bike plays in a community, so it was only logical they’d team up for this project.
For three years the duo traveled extensively around the country on a bike, and even across the border to Maputo. With this specific focus the duo have not only documented the local bikescape but they’ve also shed light on a once burgeoning local frame building movement which slowly dissolved in the 1980s. They came across names such as le Jeune, Alpina, Hansom and du Toit, and all are regaining popularity due to a renewed interest in both bicycling and vintage frames.
As an extrapolation of the book there’s currently a small exhibition at South African market, a concept store in Cape Town that’s dedicated to local design products. Called South African Bicycle Builders, the exhibition presents a number of these classic bicycles and frames from private collections of a few of Grobler and Engelbrecht’s friends. Some of the bikes are ridden daily, others only on sundays, while some are displayed on walls like the artworks they are.
Images @ Stan Engelbrecht