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As the Crow flies

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The Torres Strait Islands—a labyrinthine network of hundreds of landmasses stretching from the northernmost extremity of Queensland to the Western Province of Papua New Guinea—are home to a distinct indigenous culture that dates back more the two and a half millennia. Today, the artist Laurie Nona, whose family has been part of the Badu Island community for generations, works to preserve island culture through artwork that celebrates the region’s rich indigenous history.

In the early 2000s, Nona founded the Badu Art Centre, a collective where artists produce work across a variety of media, including textiles, printmaking, carving, and jewelry to carry forward the ancient stories and traditions of indigenous islanders. Nona has deep roots on Badu Island. His family has resided there for centuries, and the main street in Badu Island’s single city is named for his father. Today, Nona is one of the most respected members of the Badu Island community. Both his artwork, which has been collected in the National Gallery of Australia, and his efforts in preserving the island’s culture are points of pride for Badu Islanders.

This year, Nona was chosen to design the guernsey to be worn by AFL’s Adelaide Crows in the Indigenous Round, an annual celebration of the extraordinary contribution indigenous athletes have made to the sport of Australian Rules Football. Throughout the league, each club commits to supporting indigenous regions throughout Australia. The Crows, through the 2015 Indigenous Round and other long-term programs, are actively involved in the Torres Strait Island community.

The Crows have a special connection to the Torres Strait, as their most renowned player, the now retired Andrew McLeod, is of indigenous Tor-Australian descent. In his storied career, McLeod played a record 340 games for the Adelaide Crows. He was twice awarded the Norm Smith Medal and twice carried the Crows to premierships.

Like a guernsey, a bicycle can be a deeply meaningful artifact, one that is as much a piece of artwork as a piece of sporting equipment. Through Project One, the world’s leading custom bike program, Trek offers cyclists around the world the opportunity to design their dream bike and customize it with the personal touches that make it even more meaningful than a stock model.

From components and accessories to thousands of paint options, every detail of a Project One bike can be specified to a cyclist’s desire through the online design program. And, after designing a Project One bike online, customers are invited to visit Trek’s headquarters in the United States for an incredible VIP Trek Factory Experience to meet and ride with the engineers, painters, and designers who worked on their one-of-a-kind bike.

To honour the Crows’ sportsmanship and philanthropy, and to contribute to the AFC Foundation’s extraordinary patronage of the indigenous communities of the Torres Strait Islands, Trek partnered with Nona and the Adelaide Crows to create a custom Project One road bike inspired by the design of the Crows’ Indigenous Round guernsey.
At Trek’s US headquarters Waterloo, Wisconsin, a hemisphere and nearly 14,000 kilometers as the crow flies from the Torres Strait Islands in Queensland, the master painters and craftsmen behind the world’s finest custom bicycles recreated Nona’s design on the sleek carbon tubes of a Trek Émonda.

The end result is, like Nona’s guernsey, symbolic of the loyal support of teammates and of overcoming obstacles in the name of kinship. But it also stands for camaraderie and the importance of coming together to celebrate and honour different cultures.

And most importantly, the hand-painted Trek Project One will benefit the very same foundations supported by both Nona and the Adelaide Football Club. Later this year, Andrew McLeod will ride the Crows bike in a 3-day charity ride as he continues the AFC Foundation’s crucial work empowering young indigenous Australians from the Torres Strait Islands.

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