Meet Paul Bolwell
This is the first of many CHTTR3 interviews, seemed right that we start with BOLWELL. Who is Paul Bolwell? Larger than life while remaining enigmatic, that's for sure, for CHPT3 he is our Co-Founder, the wizard behind the curtain who has led the transformation of CHPT3 from a small licensing brand into something capable of controlling its own destiny. He has been working in the cycling industry for 25 years. Like all the CHTTR3 interviews he has been supplied with 33 questions and asked to choose a selection. Below you will find those questions and answers, concluding with a recent FaceTime interview from behind the scenes at CHPT3 HQ.
1. What is your greatest fear?
Not being around to watch my son continue to grow up and being able to watch him on his own journey in this mad world we live in.
2. Are you a cyclist, if so, what does bike riding mean to you?
Yes, though after riding bikes for 30 years to varying levels, I find the normality of cycling the challenge to me personally, i often envy people that are new to it all and seeing their excitement from riding. However it’s the off-road adventures that I crave and love, whether MTB’ing round Nepal or the Atlas Mountains, to Megavalanche this summer (assuming Covid-19 has done one by then). The only downside to these awesome adventures is I need to train, which after all these years I struggle to enjoy. But my training style isn't the most effective that's for sure, it's based on my own tried and tested model - do sod all for most of the year, 12 weeks out then begin to panic, 10 weeks out start to grasp the severity of needing to get fit, 8 weeks out do some short rides, 6 weeks out go deep and ride most days for hours, 2 weeks out, stop training and eat badly again knowing I've some miles in the locker. It's no wonder why these adventures are getting harder and harder! If I wasn't undertaking these type of events, then I'd only be riding BikeParks on my Yeti or enjoying my Brompton in the city.
3. If we were to say there are three parts to our lives, family, work, and a third space that you get to decide and control, what would that third space be for you?
Doing something that is on the edge, something that has the element of risk, a place where for that moment nothing else exists in my head – lapping circuits in my car, enjoying the motocross bike or hitting a downhill trail with my boy.
4. If you could own any car what would it be?
If it were a car just for plodding around, it would have to be a Porsche 2.7RS, or if you’re offering to buy me something a little more unique, the Porsche 917-23 would be gratefully received, in that awesome and distinctive red and white colourway. The car was the first Porsche to win Le Mans in 1970 in such wet conditions. This amazing car sported the number ‘23’ as worn by a hero of mine, the iconic legend, Michael Jordan, who inspired (by far) my favourite sneaker, the Air Jordan 1…….So if you can’t find those two cars on pistonheads.com, grab me some Jordan 1’s, thanks!
5. If you could go on any bike ride, where would it be, and with who, if anybody? Hopefully I achieve it this summer, though Mr. Covid-19 might have his say. Two years ago and off his own back, my son found a love for MTB’s and downhill racing, he turns 15 this summer and albeit he’s a lot faster than me we are ticking off one of my life goals – to race Megavalanche this July in Alpe D’Huez – to do it with my boy is something I used to dream of, now we’re booked on and buzzing for it. Fingers crossed it’s not cancelled.
6. What would you love CHPT3 to do that is hasn’t done?
MTB kit, so I wouldn’t have to continually explain to MTB’ers what CHPT3 is.
7. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I am very proud to have been one of the founders of Wiggle.com, but without a doubt to have created DHB (the initials of us three Wiggle founders) probably means even more to me and my family, when you see cyclists and runners out enjoying their third space with our initial on the kit is something very special, It’s a weird feeling knowing the ‘B’ is you, it’s feels very different to a brand name.
8. If you could be any athlete for one day, who would it be and why?
Danny Hart winning the World Championship Downhill in 2011. In the most awful wet conditions, on a crazy technical course and only 19 years old he blew the competition apart in the most perfect amazing ride I’ve ever witnessed. I have watched this 100’s of times, it never gets old: Like many sports, you cannot capture on camera the insane speed they race, on this day, Danny was literally flying. For those 3 minutes 41 seconds i am unable to imagine how he felt in that full face helmet, the speed, the noise, the lack of grip, it was just him against a clock, where the risk of it going so wrong is so very real, I can’t imagine the adrenaline – insane!
9. What’s the film you would most recommend somebody to watch?
We’ve one of the new Showcase cinemas near us, flatbeds, private bars, awesome food and drink, it’s how cinemas should be and it’s got me hooked. We have become regulars there now, it's a great way to escape for a chilled out midweek evening. We’ve seen some great films recently JoJo Rabbit – loved this with my boy, it’s very funny. Knives Out – one of those where you just sit down, chill and enjoy. 1917 – this was impressive on a huge screen, awesome visually a really good film this one.
10. If you could learn anything to a professional standard in one day, what would it be?
To have the ability, knowledge and guts required to race Le Mans - Ohhhhh, and to be challenging for the podium.
11. What do you most value in your friends?
Many of close friends have been in my life for some 30+ years, they have been there through thick and thin with me, with me on my low moments, but crucially there when we have those hilarious life moments, I will always cherish – they are immensely loyal, honest, funny, they truly give a shit and that means the world to me.