The Lorax

Fanie Kok, in the dirt and in his element in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Photo: Johan Badenhorst

The Lorax Fanie Kok and a Voice for Trail Builders

Fanie Kok hasn’t had a physical address in three years.

Even if someone did try to ship him something, he’d probably be in their neighborhood before it got to his hometown in South Africa.

As the head of Specialized Bike’s Soil Searching program, Fanie’s job takes him around the world, from British Columbia to Singapore to Ireland to Utah, and his title of Global Trail Advocate could not be more spot on. Every stamp inside his unrecognizably tattered passport represents not only a place, but also a community of mountain bikers he’s come to consider his friends.

Fanie’s path wasn’t necessarily an intentional one. As a young cross-country racer with a short-lived downhill calling, he spent his early years aiming for podiums. “I just wanted to ride my bike,” he says, “but that concept didn’t exist in South Africa. You had to race.”

Instead, Fanie’s road to professional advocacy began while driving demo gear for Specialized South Africa. When the company approached him about a market research position they were creating to better connect with riders and communities, the initial pitch seemed a dream job: travel the globe, ride bikes and talk to people. Fanie, however, saw deeper opportunities.

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