By Kristy Dorsey

Scottish Olympic medallist Callum Skinner has launched his latest business venture in the form of an athletic partnership based on a shared love of coffee.

The Rio de Janeiro gold medallist has teamed up with fellow international cycling champions Owain Doull and Philip Hindes to set up 5 Rings, which will deliver sustainably-sourced coffee along with “the stories behind the roasts” direct to consumers. It follows last week’s launch of a Kickstarter campaign for HindSight, a new cycling safety product backed by Mr Skinner.

Work on the 5 Rings project began back in October, but the roll-out of the brand was delayed by about a month by the spread of Covid-19. The new business has been funded equally by its three founders.

“It’s all our own cash, which is daunting but exciting at the same time,” said Mr Skinner, who since retiring in 2018 has been a vocal advocate of the need to better prepare athletes for life after sport.

READ MORE: Olympic cycling champion Callum Skinner launches 'rear view glasses'

“Coming out of international competition is very challenging these days. They used to say that having an Olympic medal would make you a millionaire, but that is not really the situation any more.”

5 Rings is initially offering two single origin roasts, Blind Faith and Cali Crash, following its founders’ personal stories from their careers in professional cycling. As friends dating back to 2012, the trio would regularly go out together during their travels on the hunt for great coffee, one of the relatively few indulgences allowed at elite level.

With flavours of milk chocolate and date, Blind Faith is named after the cyclists’ post-Olympic gold medal celebrations at the Rio 2016 games. Cali Crash, with flavours of red cherry and brown sugar, is named after Mr Doull’s ill-fated performance at the 2014 Cali Track World Championships in Colombia.

Further roasts will be added to the consumer menu, and the company is also in early talks to supply bike shops and cycling-themed cafes once these venues can resume business. As part of its ethical and environmentally-friendly offering, 5 Rings is using a “smokeless” roaster that emits up to 80% fewer greenhouse gases, while its packaging is certified CO2-neutral and 100% free of plastic and aluminium.

READ MORE: Cycling ace Callum Skinner reminded of Wall of Death but is alive and kicking

Currently based in Manchester, Mr Skinner has spent the past two years building a career in sports marketing while also campaigning to improve the rights of athletes. He sits on the Team GB and UK Anti-Doping Athletes’ Commissions, and is a forefront volunteer on the Global Athlete movement representing the interests of athletes to governing bodies around the world.

HindSight is a business set up by Mr Skinner and physicist Alex Macdonald to develop what are described as “rear view cycling glasses”.  These are expected to be of benefit to urban commuters, performance enthusiasts and professional cyclists.

A winner at the 2019 Scottish Edge Awards, HindSight is now seeking an additional £30,000 of funding through its Kickstarter campaign.

Speaking of his various interests, Mr Skinner said he is now embracing a “more scattered approach” after years of fixating on a single goal.

“I spent all my time from 17 to 26 years old with a sole focus,” he explained. “As much as I enjoyed that, I always wanted to do more, but that isn’t really possible in that very focused type of lifestyle.

“This is a nice antidote to that kind of sole focus.”