"Every so often a bird gets up and fly's some place that it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway",
The world famous rugged-terrain cyclist, adventurer, photojournalist and lecturer gained a taste for travelling during his R.A.F. service in the 1950’s. So in 1963, determined to see more of the world, he left Brixham, Devon, to explore some of the most wild and inaccessible places on Earth. He pushed, dragged or carried his bike from the fringes of the Antarctica to the jungles of the Amazon, from the Artic to the remoter islands of Indonesia. This drew the attention of the international media. A guest on the BBC television ‘Globetrotter’ series, and ‘Blue Peter’, he was honoured by the League of American Wheelmen and by the CTC for his ‘trail-blazing' tenacity. He was invited to address the Yale University and lectured on both sides of the Atlantic. He became the first man to cycle the Darien Gap in Panama, and the first to cycle from the top to the bottom of the American continent. He went from Norway to the Cape of Good Hope and from Bangkok to Vladivostok, wheeling or walking every inch of the way. Naturally there are many extraordinary stories to tell, so many people and places, so many miles. Chased by an elephant, sniffed by a lion, jailed and shot at. More friendly confrontations led to hospitality by such as an Eskimo princess, a Dyak headman in Borneo, African chiefs and missionaries. Ian Hibell carried on cycle-touring for the rest of his life......
Setting off in the morning light with “the quiet hum of the wheels, the creak of strap against load, the clink of something in the pannier, was delicious."
We are proud to manufacture the Hibell shoes here in Derbyshire, dedicated to the great man himself. A big thank you must go to Nic Henderson of Bike Brothers who, as a personal friend of Ian's and his family, gave me permission and the rights to use some of Ian's personal photographs as well as fill me in on some of Ian's stories during our long phone-conversations. What was most touching was to hear Nic tell me that he thought Ian would of loved the idea of having a cycle-touring shoe named after him as "he was always looking for sponsorship was Ian". In all honesty, at that moment this really turned into someone more than just a product. It filled me with confidence that we were manfacturing a product here that mattered, that celebrated someones life. This gave me the extra drive and energy to really see the idea through and complete the shoe to the best of our ability.
One thing at a time, as beautiful as possible.
Words by Nic Henderson & Thom Barnett
Images from by Ian Hibell and India Hobson