When Irish couple Cillian and Siobhan Ryan arrived on South African shores three years ago to take part in Ironman 70.3, they had no idea how radically that decision would alter the course of their lives.
“We realised not only is the country a great place to raise kids, but also perfect to work and train in,” says Cillian.
The business idea for their Tribal Triathlons speciality shop arose during a brainstorming session between Cillian, Siobhan and her sister Katy Knight.
The two East London-born sisters realised that the trio had something very special to offer the city.
“We sat down and talked; it really made an impression on us how many East Londoners took part in the race.
“And we realised that although there were a couple of national bicycle retailers and some local ones, there was nothing that catered specifically to triathletes,” says Cillian.
“It was a gap in the market that we wanted to fill.”
Their concept store, which opened its doors on August 30 this year, fills that niche. They offer swimming, cycling and running resources to everyone from beginners to pros.
Due to their background in multi-discipline sport, a multi-faceted approach comes naturally to the three business partners and extends to every part of their business.
“Although we focus on triathlon, we have good product and training knowledge and can assist someone who, for example, is just going to take part in a swim or a mountain bike race.”
He says they make a point of keeping abreast of global trends to ensure they offer the very best, and latest, service and product recommendations.
The shop’s two mechanics were recently sent to Switzerland to obtain UCI certification, which makes them among the most qualified in the country.
The directors will be travelling to the Interbike seminar in Las Vegas in September to see what’s happening overseas and how it can be applied to the local market.
“We’re not waiting for the product lines to hit South Africa; we’re going to know what’s coming first.”
They already work closely with importers like ASG to stock premium cycling brands such as Trek, Shimano, SRAM, Rudy Project and Pinarello.
Cillian says their future plans include offering seminars and workshops on everything from bicycle maintenance to expert nutrition and biokinetics.
“These things don’t come cheap and it would be great to offer people practical information to help them develop a love for the sport.”
Their support of local sport isn’t just limited to products and information. They also offer vehicle-assisted group rides for early risers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
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