Beyond The Bicycle
The Men Behind MAAP
Premium cycling apparel, designed in Melbourne, Australia, MAAP are a small brand making a big indent in the world of cycling. With bold designs, a clear focus on style, innovation and performance, this outfit from down under are not to be ignored. We sat down with founders, Jarrad and Ollie to learn more about the brand, their inspiration and what the future holds for MAAP.
What got you into cycling?
Ollie - I used to ride a motorbike around town and eventually came to the realisation that I may as well be getting fit whilst commuting, so I sold the motorbike and bought a fixie. Eventually the fixie gave way to a road bike and the obsession with cycling began.
Jarrad - My path to cycling was through mountain biking. I initially used road riding as a way to keep fit for riding off road. But I got sick of trying to keep up with the roadies on my MTB, so I eventually gave in to a road bike. I then got addicted to road riding racing in both road and criterium events. Now with two kids and MAAP, I just really enjoy any time I get to have on two wheels.
What inspires you to ride?
Ollie - For me, it’s about exploring new terrain and the challenge and satisfaction in going big. How far we can go – physically and mentally – on a bike is impressive. The great thing about cycling is you’re always chasing new limits. In that way, it never gets dull. Also, cycling is a brilliant sport to travel with wherever you’re going. You’re able to connect with new people and see a different perspective on a city or region from the bike.
Jarrad - I love being up early and the first on the road, especially when I’m able to meet up with mates and have a laugh during and after a ride. Whether it’s exploring new roads, while traveling or just heading out for a quick spin on a local route, I find it a really good way to switch off from work and other things that pop up in life.
Favourite piece of cycling kit you could not live without?
Ollie - Honestly, a good base layer. We make our seamless base layers in a small factory near Modena in Northern Italy. The yarn is a premium polypropylene which wicks sweat away and ensures you remain cool at tempo, but also is thick enough to keep chill off your chest on a descent. In summer, I use a mesh version which keeps the jersey fabric off your skin and allows air to circulate so you stay dryer for longer.
Jarrad - I probably couldn’t live without my MAAP bib shorts. Seriously. Working with a Sports Scientist here in Melbourne, we put in a lot of time and effort getting the fit and chamois position just right to reflect modern day saddle design trends and support daily training rides or big blocks of time out on the saddle. Like that perfect bike fit, a great pair of bibs is magic.
If you had to name a bucket list place to ride, where would it be?
Ollie - When you combine the riding with the food, vino, people and and landscape, I have what could be described as a slight (and justified) obsession with Italy. Most of our products are made in Italy, so it gives us plenty of opportunity to ride there. It’d be great to get further south and ride the Strade Bianche Loop.
Jarrad - Anywhere out of the normal. In my life on the bike so far, I have been lucky to ride in many places around Europe and Australia. So, anywhere like Japan, USA and the Middle East would be amazing. From the famous and widely celebrated to the lesser known and off-the-beaten-path routes, there’s not really one place – I’ll head anywhere so long as I get to push myself, take in the views and do it with good mates.
Must have post ride treat?
Ollie - Coffee and a pastry! Or if it’s been a big one, a can of Coke always does the trick.
Jarrad - I’ll have a big bowl of porridge following a massive day out on the bike, but usually keep it simple with a banana and coffee.
Cobbles or climbs?
Ollie - Unfortunately, there aren't many cobbles in Australia. That said, the Tour of Flanders Sportive is definitely on the must ride list. Regardless, we both love a big climbing challenge. Here in Victoria’s Apline Region there are a number of killer climbs. One being Mt. Hotham, an iconic climb of nearly 31 kms and 1,279 elevation gain. It’s a good effort. So, for now, let’s go with climbing.
How did MAAP come about?
Ollie - Jarrad and I came together at a really unique time. He was finishing up racing, and training in team kit, so he was looking for something new. I was fairly new to cycling and hunting around for stuff I liked. With over two decades in the streetwear and surf industry between us, we felt confident we could develop our own product and contribute to the progression of the sport.
From the beginning, the aim has been to create high-quality products we want to wear and contribute to the progression of the sport. It might sound over simplified or cliche but it’s been our manifesto at MAAP since Day 1. As a self-funded and small business our ambitions are definitely bigger than our budgets. When I stop to think about it, the budgets bigger brands have for Marketing are probably 10x our entire business. So, staying laser-focused on those two things at MAAP means we’re able to bring value to the sport in our own way – which is something we’re all extremely proud of.
"It might sound over simplified or cliche but it’s been our manifesto at MAAP since Day one.
"Now 4-years in, it’s humbling to see MAAP resonating with cyclists across the globe. As a tight-knit team, it’s this growing support and energy that gets us all up earlier than planned and keeps us going later than we’d like to admit."
Ollie Cousins - MAAP Founder
The ethos behind the brand?
Ollie - From our approach to pro team sponsorships, to product design, to how we market the brand, we want to bring a modern approach to the sport while also spurring on important conversions about the current state and future of cycling globally. Underpinning this is the idea of “family”. From our team, to our close crew of ambassadors, to our retail partners, to those of you out there right now championing MAAP on your local route, it’s a shared belief in what we can do together that allows us to keep developing and innovating with products and initiatives which is hopefully seen as bringing more value to the sport and industry.
How do you see the cycle clothing industry changing in the next few years?
Ollie - The influx of new brands will continue to be a trend in the market, which is great for the industry, sport and cyclist. However, this will also make it harder for brands to compete. The brands that will thrive in this arena will be the ones that are continually bringing ‘better ways’ not just ‘proven ways’ to the table, evolving and innovating with original ideas based on real needs and aspirations that are designed to make your riding experience better.
Tell us a bit about the 'In the Field' ride series?
Ollie - With community and family being core to us at MAAP, the driving impetus behind ‘In the Field’ was to connect and ride with the people playing an active role in supporting MAAP locally in their communities and bringing us to life on their local routes. City by city, route by route, we’re partnering with well-respected and community-driven stores to curate cool group rides that take a new look on a local favourite and give us all an excuse to get outside and ride with good mates and new friends alike. We’re kicking the initiative off in London with the Sigma Sports team and then we’re going to Munich in May with Bike Dress and Vienna in June with VELETAGE – the following city in July will be announced May 1st.
The community aspect behind MAAP, can you talk us through some of the events, teams and athletes you have supported?
Jarrad - We’re fortunate to be able to get behind the events, teams and riders that range from road, cyclocross, and gravel to pro, elite and local riders.
We’re the official apparel sponsor for Bennelong SwissWellness, Australia’s longest running and top performing UCI Continental team. We’re also about to kickoff the third year of our men’s and women’s Australian cyclocross team this year, now called MAAP/ENVE. Lastly, we have the MAAP/Basso team, a local team mixing it up during the Aussie criterium season. As a part of the family, these teams and our tight-knit crew of ambassadors across the globe are constantly pushing our product to its limits – and their personalities, local voice and passion for riding brings so much perspective and depth to the MAAP brand.
As far as events go, Ol’ Dirty is a bit of a local institution here in Victoria. It’s irreverent, fun and something you ride away from muddy and exhausted. We’ve been supporting that for three years now. The Shimano Super Criterium is one of the most iconic criterium races in Australia, so sponsoring the event for the past two years and having the MAAP/Basso team racing is a really special thing for us to do as an Aussie brand here in Victoria. In Europe, this will be our first year supporting Velo Vertical, a local event taking on the top 16 climbs in Vienna in a single day.
"For us, it’s an honour to be able to support cycling in this way. As we grow, we’ll continue to actively seek out more ways to contribute to the growth of the sport."
Jarrad Smith - MAAP Founder
How did working with Sigma Sports come about and why did you choose to work with us?
Jarrad - We’ve been working with Sigma for over 3-years now. We like the fact Sigma Sports is deeply knowledgeable and exists to cultivate and nurture community in cycling – as a respected brick and mortar store with a loyal customer base as well as a growing online store and community connecting and serving people across Europe and the globe. Moreover, you guys all love to ride, are great to work with and are always open to collaborating on new projects. The real question is: What are we going to get up to next?