Marking one year since former professional rider Jonathan Cantwell’s death, a one-of-a-kind SwiftCarbon Ultravox is to be auctioned – with proceeds going towards mental health support and awareness initiatives. The bike will be on display at this week’s Rouleur Classic LDN, held in London from 31st October to 2nd November.
The story of this one-of-a-kind bike began in April 2012, with SwiftCarbon set to enter a new era, a step up to the next level in the company’s development. Founder Mark Blewett had just launched the Ultravox, which received positive reviews from the media, and the next step was to prove the bikes were ready to race at the highest level.
Blewett happened to be in touch with Australian sprinter Jonathan Cantwell, riding for Saxo Bank at the time, and the two hit it off. In one of their many conversations about bikes, racing and life, Blewett suggested he try out the Ultravox. “He fell in love with it” recalled Blewett.
The following chain of events happened at the pace at which Cantwell had led his life as a dyed in the wool sprinter. With Cantwell’s contract expiring, and with two small children, he was engineering his next move – taking a gig closer to home, and sowing the seeds for a life after pro cycling.
Neil Gardiner, Head of Marketing at SwiftCarbon said, “He catalysed a sponsorship deal between SwiftCarbon and his new team Drapac Professional Cycling. He opened SwiftCarbon Australia. He set up a brand concept store in St Kilda, Melbourne. And, still racing at the highest level, he was also running a business.”
But the final years of Cantwell’s pro career ended prematurely. In a perfect storm of well-publicised, life changing events, combined with the challenge of readjusting to a more sedentary life after a successful pro career, the downward spiral had begun.
SwiftCarbon notes that if there was ever a silver lining to the terrible loss of a such a bright soul, it’s that his passing has added momentum to a shifting collective consciousness. Attitudes towards mental illness are now more about inclusiveness and frankness, and we are shedding a damning and alienating stigma.
In this continuing spirit, the team at SwiftCarbon wanted to honour Cantwell’s life, painting a special, one-of-a-kind Ultravox, his favourite. The proceeds of the sale of the bike will be given to various causes related to those supporting mental health.
Neil Gardiner added, “With a matter so close to our hearts, there was much debate about the frame’s design. In the end, the sentiment of openness and honesty prevailed. We wanted to continue to raise awareness of this important issue and to maintain the energy of the movement, to encourage dialogue, and for everyone to watch out for one another.”
Emblazoned large on the top tube is ‘IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK’ – a phrase that’s gained worldwide momentum, giving comfort and empowering those suffering from depression. The bike is painted in pure white, signifying peace; decaled in green for hope, and the initials JC sit alongside SwiftCarbon’s motto ‘Always Racing’ on the seat tube.
The Ultravox frame is built with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Mavic Cosmic Carbone wheels. The online auction for the bike begins at 20:01 GMT on 31st October and ends at 20:01 GMT on 21st November. Proceeds will be donated to Lifeline in Australia, Samaritans in the UK, Australian social enterprise PUKA Up, and finally a charity of choice for the eventual highest bidder.
Jonathan Cantwell’s birthday was 8th January. He sadly passed away on 6th November at the age of just 36.