Coffee and cycling go together like hot toast and butter. Not only does a cup of Americano warm cold hands after an early-morning ride, it provides a burst of energy and a chance to catch up with cycling buddies.
As coffee and cycling are such good partners, it made perfect sense for South African pro cycling team Mad Macs to partner with häzz. Named after Mad Macs Motorcycles in Somerset-West, the team’s main sponsor, Team Mad Macs is also powered by our top-quality Arabica beans. Nick McFall, owner of Mad Macs Motorcycles, has been backing the riders for a long time, ensuring sustainability of the team, while häzz came on board as a secondary sponsor in 2017.
Pairing coffee with cycling is, interestingly, a trend that first started in Italy. According to Probikekit.co.uk, a Milanese coffee company called Faema came out of the post-war boom and took Italy by storm after World War II. Faema famously sponsored their own cycling team. And, in the 60s and 70s, notorious hard rider Eddy Merckx became Team Faema’s poster boy, elevating coffee’s status in the cycling world.
Team Mad Macs, set up by ex-Maties cyclist Alex Heward, currently includes eight professional cyclists from the Stellenbosch and Somerset-West area: Max Sullivan, Declan Sidey, Greg de Vink, Jonathan (Jonno) van Gesselleen, Etnard Louw, Rocco King, Shaun Glover and, of course, Alex. The cyclists are all between the ages of 19 and 33. Some are still studying at Stellenbosch University, while others have already built successful careers.
When first setting up the team, Alex’s aim was to develop young riders, using Maties Cycling Club as its talent pool. This strategy has proven to be incredibly successful. Over the past few years, the team has fared remarkably well, both locally and internationally. Earlier this year, Jonno took 8th place in the Cape Town Cycle Tour, while Greg won 3rd place in the Herald Cycle Tour. The team also came out tops in PEPLETT – 4-day mountain bike stage race across the Garden Route.
The team mostly trains over weekends, always stopping for a coffee along the way. “Visiting häzz is a nice social thing for us,” says Max. “We sit and plan our races and catch up. We love that there’s always a bit of a buzz.”
Häzz was Max’s first introduction to coffee when he moved from KwaZulu-Natal to Stellenbosch as a student – part of the reason why he is thrilled to still be associated with the brand.
“I never used to drink coffee,” Max says. “But then a mate introduced me to häzz. I started with a single espresso, and then a double… He made me fall in love with the brand. When we started looking for sponsors, häzz was top of mind.”