Cityscape caught up with Archi Bikes’ Andrew Wong who, along with twin Dave and mate Blake Bennett, are making cycling fun again with their funky creations.
How did three Christchurch lads start designing and selling über cool bikes?
The bikes were inspired by visits to Japan, where mamachari bikes are an everyday form of transport. When Blake and Dave came back from Japan, they were bemoaning the fact you can't get bikes like that here. I've spent a lot of time in the bike industry in NZ, and the idea was born literally over a beer between mates.
Where did the name Archi come from?
We get a lot of people assuming it is a reference to comics, but we refer to the bikes as "chari", from mamachari, and Blake came up with Archi from playing around with the letters.
Tell us about your bikes and their inspiration.
For the Retro bikes, we just had to pick colours, since the design of the bikes is pretty much exactly like a Japanese mamachari. For the Fixie we created the spec from the ground up. Yin-yang was the inspiration for the Fixie colour schemes, which is how we ended up with two bikes which are black (Darth Vader) and white (Stormtrooper).
Well, we've introduced the Euro step-through model, it’s basically an all-alloy design inspired by Omafiets and Dutch bikes but with a more modern twist.
Who’s buying your bikes?
Generally younger people, although the Retro got a lot of more senior people excited because of the nice upright riding position.
Who would you like to see riding one of your bikes?
I'd love to see our PM commute in Wellington on a single speed Fixie.
Lycra – friend or foe?
I'm a road cyclist as well as a mountain biker, so I guess friend. Not many people will be wearing lycra on an Archi!
What else would you like to see the Archi logo slapped on?
Well, we're a bike brand. But we’ve talked about T-shirts.
Do you think a bike sharing system like the one in Copenhagen would work in Christchurch?
I think it would be great to see, and would work so well because Christchurch is flat. But most of the cities that use bike sharing are bigger, and we are still a long way from them in terms of the percentage of road users who are cyclists.
Where’s your favourite cycle track/route in Canterbury?
Hagley Park is just an awesome way to break up the commute and get off the main roads. For road rides, I used to enjoy doing short bays through Lyttelton and over Evans Pass, but you'd want gears for sure for that ride. Off road, well Craigieburn is an amazing ride when it isn't covered in snow. We sell everyday bikes, but we love all types of bikes and riding!
Favourite pit stop?
Christchurch roads need ...
... more bikes! It is the best way to make Christchurch more cycle-friendly – bums on bike seats. If we have the numbers the infrastructure and awareness will come.