Crank Brothers pair up with Pump For Peace to create limited edition red versions of its Mallet and Stamp lace shoes, and it's all to raise money to bring pumptracks to underprivileged areas
Crank Brothers has released a new, special edition red version of its popular Mallet Lace and Stamp Lace shoes. And while they look damn good, their purpose goes beyond aesthetics. They’re part of a special collaboration with Velosolutions, with the aim of funding the creation of pumptracks in underprivileged communities around the world.
Pump For Peace is the charitable arm of Velosolutions, the pumptrack and trail building company founded and owned by Claudio Calouri of World Cup commentator fame, not to mention seven-time Swiss National Downhill Champ.
If you’ve ever been at a pumptrack, you’ll know that they’re both a lot of fun, and a great focal point for the local riding community. Kids and adults alike can enjoy them, they don’t take up a lot of space, and they’re easy to maintain. It’s hardly surprising that Calouri’s skills are in demand around the world, but what prompted the creation of Pump For Peace?
“We build pumptracks with Velosoloutions all around the world, and we had one project in Thailand with a very rich client,” he explains. “While we were building it, we saw around the pumptrack lots of families who were very poor. It felt really weird building a pumptrack for a rich guy in front of these kids who we thought would never be able to use it, so we had really mixed feelings.”
“But as soon as we poured out the last little bit of asphalt, all these kids stormed out with whatever they had – rusty wheels, bikes with broken pedals, or riding bikes barefoot on just the axles. And they rode and rode and rode and wouldn’t stop riding.”
“We were like ‘holy shit! This is crazy! We need to make this possible more often. And that’s how we started Pump For Peace”
All these kids stormed out with whatever they had – rusty wheels, bikes with broken pedals, or riding bikes barefoot on just the axles
“For some reason, pumptracks work for everyone. The beginner, the pro, the poor guy, the rich guy – everyone gets together and on the pumptrack they all seem to get along. My explanation is that it’s simply because everyone rides in the same direction, so many people can ride at the same time. And it’s not just bikes; skateboards, inline skates, even scooters!”
Calouri is evidently passionate about the power of pumptracks, but to turn the vision into reality takes resources. Time and expertise they have, but funds are also part of the picture. Enter Gaspare Licata, CEO of Crank Brothers.
“I told this story to Gaspare,” explains Calouri “and he came up with the idea of the red shoe.”
Crank Brothers created a special, limited edition version of its popular clipless Mallet Lace and flat Stamp Lace shoes in eye catching Velosolutions red. 20% of the proceeds from the sales of these shoes will go to Pump For Peace. The goal is to raise enough money to fund the creation and build of a whole pumptrack.
The Pump For Peace initiative has already created pumptracks around the world, including one at Roma, Lesotho, in the south of the African continent. And it’s already had a positive impact on the local community.
Ultimately it’s giving space for kids to play
For Calouri, part of the goal of Pump For Peace is to encourage more people into cycling and give more people the opportunity to get involved, but his goals go way beyond that.
“The goals don’t just stay on the track. Maybe someone sets up a bike shop, maybe a little cafe and other things come up around it, and businesses can grow from there.”
“We’re already starting with a little race team that has riders from the countries we’ve built tracks in. We’re aiming to have little teams in different locations around the world, where we can then pick talent from these teams to have the best riders on the international team.”
And while that goal might seem a while away yet, the first riders to discover the pumptrack and a passion for riding have already started to have international impact. One great example is Khothalang Leuta, who started riding at the Lesotho pumptrack and went on to compete in the Red Bull Pumptrack World Championships.
Picking the right location is key, and for the pumptrack that will be funded by the red Crank Brothers X Pump For Peace shoes, that location will be Kathmandu in Nepal.
Licata sees supporting pumptracks as a way of ensuring kids have the opportunity to develop, to play, to make friends, and of course to discover cycling.
“The bicycle industry hasn’t often given space to kids, so instead they play basketball or soccer or volleyball. So it’s beautiful now that our industry is starting to do something. In Kathmandu, there is a social reason, but ultimately it’s giving space for kids to play.”
“That’s the goal,” agrees Calouri, “And obviously with that comes picking the right place. We don’t want to just go somewhere, put the pumptrack in then leave and have no idea if it’s being used. It’s important to have a local organisation that helps kids find bikes, or helmets. And that’s where we’re also depending on partners from the industry.”
Anyone who’s encountered a pumptrack will know the pure joy they can bring. They’re accessible, you don’t need expensive bikes to ride them, and they can form the hub of a community.
And as both Licata and Calouri agree, they can have a far deeper impact and a longer-lasting legacy than their simple tarmac curves and ramps might suggest.
“A lot of companies and people talk about diversity and inclusion, but to be concrete and really create a better world, I think the best way is to start with kids.” says Licata.
“In the end, we are all the same, and you learn that when you’re a child. The pumptrack is one perfect environment where people who have different levels of wealth or are from different religions or backgrounds can knit together and connect. That’s something I love. Go to a pumptrack and you meet people from different influences, ethnicities, genders, ages, all together on the bike. I think it’s one little way to build a better world.”