Zahier Davids is one of those rare people who not only manages to make the best of a bad situation, but does so with creativity and ingenuity, all while making a positive impact on the community.
After being retrenched in 2000, Zahier took matters into his own hands – literally – and, started converting bicycle parts into amazing bikes easily labeled art. Working from his garage in Kensingtion, Zahier attracted the attention of locals, including the neighbourhood children whose fascination was rewarded when Zahier would show them what to do and let them help.
But news of his remarkable bikes soon spread beyond his community and Zahier started receiving orders for custom jobs and from-scratch builds for private individuals, major companies and organisations, as well as the film industry.
More recently, Zahier expanded Flywheel to include motorcycles, approaching it with the same passion and ingenuity. The results were met with enthusiasm once more, with his latest commission the awesome Red Heart Rum Cafe Cruiser.
Even more impressive, perhaps, is that Zahier returned to full time work during this period, but he finally took the leap and resigned late last year to focus on Flywheel full time and work on his dream, which he hopes to realise during 2013.
Zahier firmly believes that South Africa has the skills and facilities to manufacture every part and component of a bicycle. His vision is to transform traditional craftmanship with advanced design and technology and produce a 100% South African production bike, which includes what he calls “the Lego of bicycles” where South Africans could build their own bikes from scratch.
With the growing bike culture in Cape Town and South Africa, as well as the millions who rely on bikes as a means of daily transport, a 100% South African bike sounds fresh and exciting. And with the support of Cycle Lab and Pick n Pay’s Suzanne Ackerman, we have no doubt that Zahier and Flywheel will be successful.
Zahier also believes in giving back and besides passing on his skills, he has worked on special projects for the physically disabled. He is also working in conjunction with the City of Cape Town to build a BMX track in his native Kensington, where he still lives and works.