FOCUS are breaking new ground with the Ride Beyond Crew. After working with ProTour teams such as AG2R La Mondiale, FOCUS now want to inspire riders at the grassroots level on and off the road with their crew of eight likeable Dutch riders. We attended the kick-off in Girona and found out what the Ride Beyond Crew is all about.

What is the FOCUS Ride Beyond Crew?

After several seasons of competing in the ProTour circus, FOCUS have now decided to shift their attention to a crew of ambitious every-men and women from the Netherlands. Basically, the Ride Beyond Crew (RBC) is the direct heir to the legacy of the AG2R La Mondiale pro racing team which FOCUS cooperated with before. Far off from UCI rankings and Eurosport broadcast times, the crew will mingle with participants at numerous events and hobby races, pitch their tents on self-supported gravel trips or take on the monuments of pro cycling on their road bikes. Like a club without an executive board or a team without a trainer, the Ride Beyond Crew is an ensemble of individualists. Do they have a team jersey with logos of their sponsors? Nope!

We accompanied the crew at their first “training camp” in Girona and never once heard them use the words FTP nor Vo2-Max, having a heated discussion about Belgian beer, home-roasted coffee and interior design instead. However, the congenial atmosphere aside, it quickly became clear that the crew apparently their winters on indoor trainers and couldn’t wait to get outside and tackle some real-world climbs. So we shifted up into the big ring as we made our way up the quintessentially Gironan climb of Els Àngels, claiming PB’s with our cameras on our backs and high-fiving before the descent. On the way back down, Häptling Martijn explains to me who the crew is made up of.

Who are the Ride Beyond Crew?

The group of eight includes almost everything the creative work sector has to offer, from fashion designers and photographers to self-made YouTube stars and fixed-gear veterans. Although there is no internal hierarchy, the two initiators Martijn and Mike are the first points of contact when it comes to organisation or selecting new members for the team. So, curtain-up! This is the FOCUS Ride Beyond Crew:

Kaj Verhaegh
Probably the youngest Red Hook Crit veteran
Jelmer Broekstra aka. Botje
Fixed gear team manager of Botje Racing
Roel van Eekelen
Creator of things, founder of the Cranky Clubs
Lion Zeegers
Doesn’t see herself as a cyclist, but regularly outperforms the boys
Jasmijn van der Zwaan
Freelance Creative, flea market fan
Mike Vlietstra
Photographer, fashionista, co-founder of RBC
Martijn van Strien aka Fernwee
YouTube star, co-founder of RBC
Tijmen Smeulders
Creative director, interior designer

Which bikes do the RBC use?

For all their upcoming adventures and races, the crew will ride the finest bikes available from FOCUS. The bike of choice for asphalt riding is the FOCUS IZALCO MAX, which we’ve reviewed for you in the past, though the colour scheme and spec has been updated for the 2020 season.

FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9 | 7.44 kg in L | € 8,999 | IZALCO MAX review

For their off-road adventures, the team will be relying on the FOCUS MARES cyclocross bike. The MARES is the best off-road alternative currently available from FOCUS. We’re yet to see a thoroughbred gravel bike in the German brand’s portfolio. Is that about to change?

FOCUS MARES 9.9 | € 3,699 | Manufacturer website

What’s on the calendar for this year?

They’re currently working on an alternative schedule due to the corona situation. As soon as they’ve finalised the upcoming dates, we will post them up here for you.

For all Zwift fans among you, you’ll also have the opportunity to take part in the RBC group ride on Zwift every Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (CET). For more information about how to register click here.

In addition, FOCUS are currently hosting a Strava challenge which is about beating your own screen-time and spending more time on the bike than in front of a screen. Further details about the “Beat your Screentime” challenge are available here. By the way, they’re raffling off a FOCUS IZALCO MAX 9.7 AXS among all successful participants. So, participation isn’t only worthwhile for your own well-being!

Our thoughts on the FOCUS Ride Beyond Crew

The FOCUS RBC is an approachable and super likeable group of bike enthusiasts who have set themselves the most sensible goal: to make cycling more accessible and more personal, whether on the road or off-road. Far off from the big world tour stages, it’s everyday riders like you and me who share their passion for the sport that they want to inspire with their actions. We think they’re onto something with this approach and we’ve already seen other brands such as Rapha and Cannondale do the same with the alternative racing calendar of EF Education First. We’re not predicting the end of inflated pro team budgets, but the RBC definitely is a nice, down to earth addition to the road bike cosmos!

To find more about the FOCUS Ride Beyond Crew visit, check out the #ridebeyondcrew hashtag on Instagram and take a look at Martijn’s YouTube channel.

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Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Benjamin Topf, FOCUS Bikes