Wheelworks Ambassadors

Rod Bardsley

Aka The Rodfather, Rod is a self-confessed know-it-all that does actually know a whole lot of stuff about mountain bikes and riding them. He's pretty good at it but nowhere near as good as he thinks he is. 

Rod’s been riding Wheelworks wheels for over a decade. We met when mountain bike rims were 21mm wide and Rod wanted to try some of the newfangled superwide 30mm wheels we’d been building.  According to pretty much everyone in 2011 crazy wide rims like this would never catch on but Rod knew better.

Going riding in the Akatarawas with Rod Bardsley is an absolute masterclass in bike handling.  Rod’s been riding e-bikes longer than anyone and has mastered how to ride them - especially in the slow, awkward and slippery conditions that his Akatarawa jungle backyard turns up.

Rod rides: FLITE Trail Carbon wheels; FLITE Enduro Carbon wheels

Thomas Cappleman

Tom’s been a Wellingtonian since 2014. “When I arrived in Wellington I saw a place where I could have it all, I saw the hills, the ocean and the greenspace. A place where arts, culture and an outdoor lifestyle could co-exist with topography that can’t be replicated.” Tom loves enhancing people’s experience with nature and believes that mountain biking is a vehicle for people to connect with the outdoors. Not just being out riding, but trail building and tree planting. No surprise he was previously a WORD Programme Instructor and is now Operations Manager at Trails Wellington.

Tom loves Mountain Biking in the backcountry; as a rider that is chasing adventure rather than seconds his FLITE wheels provide his all important peace of mind on a big mission or after pushing his luck a little too far on blind terrain that isn't made for bikes. 

Tom’s also really interested in conscious consumerism and business. The balance between built to last, performance, style, and environmentally conscious materials/processes. In late 2022 he opened Coffee Outdoors, a carefully curated selection of outdoor equipment that balances functionality, impact, value, and style.

Tom rides: FLITE Trail Carbon wheels

Millie Donald 

Picking up her first road bike at the age of 9, Millie was quickly making a name for herself with the Windy Wheels Cycling group in Wellington, racing around the bays in the wind that she loves so much, and racing at the velodrome on a Sunday afternoon.

The Wellington scene wasn’t big enough though - finding races to travel to at every opportunity, and now hooked on mountain biking as well, Millie’s first real breakthrough was at the Age Group Road Nationals at Waipukurau in 2020, taking a silver and a bronze in the TT and Road Race as a first year U15. From there, her pursuit of success has been relentless. So far in 2023 alone Millie has taken a clean sweep in the National XCO MTB series at U17, and is the National Criterium Champion on the road.  This is in addition to numerous national titles in 2023 spanning road, MTB XCO and cyclocross.

Millie has ambitions to become the first female cyclist in New Zealand to race at junior Worlds for both mountain biking and road. In order to help her to achieve these goals, Millie wanted the best equipment available, which is why she approached us, here at Wheelworks.  We are proud to support her in her pursuit of these goals. Millie can be seen regularly racing and training at the Hataitai velodrome, carving up and down the Wellington trails on her mountain bike and racing in the PNP Spring Series, and loves racing at Huttcross.

Millie rides: FLITE TrailLite Carbon and Maker 35/50mm Carbon wheels

Andrew Robinson

Andrew comes from a background of not being sporty at all, to competing at a relatively high level internationally in Obstacle Course Racing. He bought a bike in early 2020 when he realised he wasn't going to be able to go overseas, and wondered why he hadn't bought one earlier, especially living in the greater Queenstown area. 

After being invited into an adventure racing team (more specifically expedition racing - Godzone) he fell even more in love with endurance sport. His goal in these races is to move as efficiently as possible while having as much fun as he can, hopefully inspiring other people to get out and live more active lifestyles: on foot, bike, kayak, packraft or any other mode possible.

When Andrew approached us for sponsorship he had an ambitious schedule of adventure races planned and we instantly knew we could help him compete at the pointy-end of the pack.

Being a relative new-comer to mountain biking, Andrew wasn’t sure if he’d notice a difference with new wheels but by his second ride it was apparent they were “epic”; “with more XC orientated tyres on I thought I would feel nervous on technical terrain. Quite the opposite. I felt even more confident, all I wanted to do was let loose down a trial I hardly knew”.

Andrew rides: FLITE TrailLite Carbon wheels

Carl Wells

Carl’s passion for building relationships in the cycling community is foundational in his large resumé of self-started events and projects.  Some highlights include a series of “Strava art” group rides (including that Laser Kiwi and the 'Big Cock Ride’ charity fundraiser), his one-man company TORQ Events which runs The Wellington and Auckland Hill Climb Series and the VAM Challenge, and most recently leading the ‘A Shop Ride’ weekly bunchie in West Auckland.  

A holder of multiple passports, Carl emigrated from Boston, USA in 2007 to establish his career as a musician (he plays french horn with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra).  The proximity of New Zealand’s wild roads to the city led him to fall in love with cycling: first as an overtraining, underachieving club racer – and more recently as a way to take on remote mixed surface adventures.  

For Carl’s next challenge, he’s taking on fatherhood.

Carl rides: Maker SL Carbon wheels; OG Overnight Carbon wheels

Ethan Woods

2023 will be Ethan’s second year racing the Under 19 UCI Cross Country circuit for Team Talley’s-Kiwi MTB Collective, taking on racing in Australia, North America and Europe. He’s looking to build on his first year of international racing and try to add more international wins to his results page while piloting our wheels.

As a Motueka local, Ethan also has closer to home ambitions of taking KOMs on Paparoa, Old Ghost Road and Heaphy tracks, in both directions. At time of writing he holds of the 6 and is strategically planning the next attempts. These are all great training towards Ethan’s goal of competing (and hopefully podiuming) at the MTB Marathon (XCM) World Champs.

Digging trails is one Ethan’s favourite off the bike things to do. He's often out helping build at Kaiteriteri MTB park or working on the next sketchy feature for Kiwi MTB collective’s training track. Taking inspiration for features from the trails and race courses he rides and races on around the world. With a dream to build a MTB park after the racing career-  we can't wait to see what features he has in mind.

Ethan rides: FLITE TrailLite Carbon wheels (with Aerolite, and Berd spokes); Maker Carbon wheels

Gavin McCarthy

Gav has a huge passion for all things bike. A trusted mechanic/wheelbuilder (you can find him with the team at MyRide Wellington), has a massive fleet of bikes and parts, and loves racing. He’s entered hundreds of events and has finished every one of them without a DNF (at last count).

He commutes by bike, and he’s always excited about the upcoming weekend’s event - whether that’s a local race he’s entering or an international event to watch online. He’s helped build and maintain local trails, especially in his current backyard of Belmont.

Gav’s positivity and calm presence are as appreciated in a workshop as they are on the trails, with helpful advice and encouragement to fellow riders, especially those learning new skills or stepping up to a trickier trail.

Gav rides: FLITE TrailLite Carbon wheels