“One thing at a time, as beautifully as possible”

There’s a lovely description on Thom Barnett’s Mamnick website that explains where his company name comes from. No, it isn’t some strange South Yorkshire reference to Nick’s mam (whoever she might be), but the logo does give a bit of a clue.

Mam Nick is, in fact, one of the many hard cycle climbs on our doorstep in the Peak District. It’s a long windswept climb that, even for the superfit, is a big struggle. But, like most struggles, getting to the top is what makes it all worthwhile – and that makes a good metaphor for the Mamnick ethos.

Mamnick’s clothes and accessories aren’t outsourced to some far flung sweatshop to keep profits up. Thom has found local manufacturers, seamstresses and craftsmen to create the designs to exacting standards; as well as looking good, these are items made to last. In his words, “less is more when it comes to designs for Mamnick. It’s classic with subtle details; the focus is on being well-made by honest people with bags of manufacturing experience, who pay attention to detail down to the very last last stitch.”

This level of care and attention to detail in the manufacturing is matched in all areas of the Mamnick production process – from concept, to design, to packaging. The company’s inventory includes shirts and jackets, many of which take their names from places in the Peaks that Thom likes to visit by bike. The stainless steel “commute clip” is a simple solution to that age-old issue of the cyclist’s oily trouser leg. And the Mamnick take on the King of the Mountains polka dot shirt comes packaged with an exclusive booklet written by former competitive cyclist Tom Southam.

Cycling is, clearly, a big inspiration on Mamnick’s designs. As Thom explains: “in my spare time my passion is for the bike; it’s a positive obsession I can take into old age. That may sound a bit grey, but being out there on the bike had a big effect on me when I finished my degree. It was something to focus my energy on, and drawing creatively on these places gave me an incentive to both work and ride. It sounds far-fetched but I think riding gave me a similar feeling to when you’re in a creative mindset. Spending hours alone in Derbyshire helps me think straight, clears my head of the unimportant things.”

It’s this love of cycling and of adventure, or, ‘Yompin’ as Thom affectionately refers to ‘any type of riding (or hiking) if indeed the participant is doing it their own way’  that led Thom to begin sharing a number of his adventure ride routes on his website journal.

It also allowed Thom to discover and tell the fascinating story of a group of Sheffield cyclists who set off to cycle around the world in 1980.   

Thom interviewed one of the cyclist, Malcom Pearce about the adventurous trip.

What inspired you to go on a cycling tour around the world? 

We were all out on a Sunday Rutland winter club run - usual rough stuff ride then finish up in a Derbyshire pub. Sat around a table we got talking about usual stuff then the conversation turned around to doing something different.

I can’t remember who brought it up but an idea was put up to ride overland to Australia on the bikes. We all had drunk a few pints so this sounded bloody great at the time!

I heard, whilst travelling through India, you ended up on the film set of Ghandi? Can you tell us anything more about that? 

We stayed in New Delhi Christmas 1980 – we camped on a tourist campsite.  We all went into the Thailand Embassy to sort out visas for our next part of the trip and got talking to an American guy outside the embassy who told us about the film crew looking for western faces for the epic film Life and Times of Mahatma Ghandi.  He told us that the film crew were really keen to find any western faces who wanted to be extras on the Richard Attenborough film and gave us an address to go to.  We took up this offer and went to the Ashoka Hotel to see about the film.  We were all taken on straight away and measured up for costumes. We were all British newspaper reporters for the Ghandi assassination scene at Birla House, Brian and Les also got work as extras as soldiers in the South African scene also filmed in New Delhi. 

Read the full interview with accompanying orignal photos on the Mamnick blog. 

Read Thom's musings on the definition of Yompin. 

The discussion with Thom is from an interview originally published on Our Favourite Places, originally written by Glenn Thornley.

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