It’s hard to believe that Philip van Schalkwyk is only 16. The lad is over six-foot tall and has legs that are both long and powerful. He’s also seriously skilled, which helped him claim the South African Youth Men’s Enduro title for 2021. But he’s more than just an Enduro racer, as we found out…

Paid partnership with Bell Helmets South Africa

Philip van Schalkwyk doesn’t try to be imposing, but his presence is hard to ignore. He’s not shy, but he doesn’t say more than he needs to. But damn, his riding speaks volumes for the kind of rider he is. We rode with him recently and asked him some questions:

Philip van Schalkwyk lets his legs do the talking – mostly… | Photo: Supplied

Birth date?  22 February 2005.

Where do you live? Stellenbosch.

School? Paul Roos Gymnasium.

Local trail? G-Spot and Jonkershoek.

How did you get into riding mountain bikes? I started doing Spur series races when I was about 7-years old – and that was when all of the shenanigans started!

What disciplines do you race? This year I raced Road, Marathon, XCO, DH and Enduro. But my main focus is on DH and Enduro since I enjoy those the most.

In action at Round 3 of the 2021 Western Cape Downhill Series | Photo: Supplied

You finished an incredible sixth overall on a seriously rugged course at the SA Enduro Champs at Iron Throne Bike Park. How did you do that?
The Iron Throne Bike Park is a gnarly place! My main focus for the race was to go smooth and not to make mistakes. The reason for this race strategy is because we had a lot of punctures in practice and getting puncture mid-run is a disaster!

Most gravity racers aren’t obviously strong pedallers, but you’re super powerful when pedalling, do you follow a specific training plan?
I think I am such a strong pedaller because of my XCO background. I don’t follow a specific training program. All I do for training currently is ride my e-bike as much as I can and as hard as I can!

What bikes do you own currently? I own a Commencal Supreme 27/29 this is a bike I use for Downhill racing; a Specialized Enduro I use for Enduro racing; a S-Works Epic that I race XCO with and a S-Works Levo (eBike).

Philip’s current favourite bike – his Specialized Levo SL

Wow! That’s some fleet. Which is your favourite? My favourite bike is my S-Works Levo (eBike) because, you can do so much more riding in a set time frame compared to a normal bike. I hope to in the future see more racing in South Africa involving eBikes.

Do you have any ambitions to race professionally one day? Currently I don’t have any ambitions to race professionally because there is no money in cycling; but maybe my plans could still change…

What is your main goal for 2022?
My main objective for next year is to win the Junior category for DH and Enduro at SA Champs. I think I can achieve this because if you compare my times this year to those that are in Junior currently, my times are faster.

Do you have any sponsors? Stellies is my only sponsor at this time. They are a local clothing brand that started in Stellenbosch. Their slogan is: Live the life you’ll always remember. I think this line represents what I do quite well.

Follow Philip’s progress on Instagram: @philip.v_s

Taking a breather with Matt Lombardi at Jonkershoek | Photo: Supplied
Charging on the pedals at Round 1 of the 2021 Enduro Western Cape Series at Jonkershoek | Photo: Supplied
Stellies clothing is Philip’s only sponsor – for now… | Photo: Supplied
Philip in his happy place – manualling his Levo SL. Photo: Supplied



Because we want to include everyone that’s interested in this campaign, we are giving away three Bell helmets (one per month) valued at R3000 each to winners of the Saved by the Bell competition. We still have two more to give away Here’s what you have to do to go into the mix:

STEP 1: Follow @bellhelmets_bike and @shred_sa on Instagram

STEP 2: Post on your Instagram account a photo or video of you doing something on your bike that you’re proud of, tagging bellhelmets_bike and @shred_sa and use the hashtag #savedbythebellSA

Every four weeks we will include all the posts into a draw and randomly choose one winner. Everyone is at a different level of riding, so don’t feel intimidated if you can’t do crazy tricks. Just post what you are proud of doing on your bike and do the tagging and hashtagging to be in the running.

Note: The winner will be notified by Instagram DM. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours of us sending the DM, we reserve the right to draw another winner. The winner can choose whether he/she wants a Bell 4Forty OR a Bell Nomad. The prize is not exchangeable for cash. The prize will be delivered by courier to the winner’s daytime address.

Paid partnership with Bell Helmets South Africa