An Insync Bikes team member will lead a team of riders tackling historic Belgian cobblestones – on a bike brand used in the early days of the event more than 100 years ago.
Emma Cooper, a graphic designer at Manchester-based, Indian-owned Insync’s Global Design Centre, is part of the five-person squad that will enter the 104th edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) event in April to raise funds for a cancer charity.
Insync is sponsoring the team and providing their Viking Roadmaster bikes, a brand unveiled in 1908 and ridden in the professional Tour of Flanders race when it launched five years later.
The 237km ride, from Antwerp to Ghent, takes place the day before the pros battle it out to enable the public to share the experience of riding the famous cobbles.
Emma and riders Vincci Fung, brothers Liam Lee and Dale Lee, and Nick Rule are all members of Chorlton Velo and have decided to raise money for Cyclists Fighting Cancer, which gives bikes to children and young people affected by the disease. The charity was chosen because it fits with the company’s ethos to champion cycling as a force for good.
All are experienced riders used to taking on epic rides, with Emma having pedalled across Taiwan, Majorca and the south of France previously. This will be the biggest event they have ever taken on, though, and the first where they have ridden Reynolds steel bikes.
Emma said she anticipated the challenge taking six or seven hours, although there would be some unusual conditions to tackle, depending on the weather. It can be anything from close to freezing to 18 degrees in early April and bad weather can prove a challenge even for experienced riders.
She said: “I’ve always wanted to do this so I’m really looking forward to it. After 200km the hills and cobbled streets start so, while we want to be at the front of the pack to avoid being slowed down by crashes, we will also need to conserve energy for the tough ending.
“The Reynolds’ required steel frame of the Viking bikes make them the perfect bike to ride because the steel soaks up the worst of the bumps without adding much weight, much better than a carbon frame would. It’s great to be bringing the history of Viking back to the race where the brand was ridden all those years ago.”
The team has been training together in West Yorkshire and the Peak District, taking part in local audaxs through the winter months, and will travel to Majorca for more intensive sessions in March.
“It’s a matter of becoming adept at riding hard against stiff, freezing headwinds before suddenly winding around a bend and finding ourselves at the foot of a cobbled, unforgiving climb,” said Emma, who has designed the British Racing Green look of the bike as well as a Viking-branded kit for the five to wear.
“We want to be able to trust it, because the ride is so long, and a lot of the test will be a mental game. We’ve never ridden as a team before and it will be a challenge to make sure we stay together because we all have different strengths and weaknesses, although we do all share a raw passion for cycling.”
The day after their ride, the team will stay to watch the pro riders take on the same course. To sponsor the team, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emma-cooper73
Hero Cycles Limited
Hero Cycles Lmited was founded in India in 1956. It is the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world by volume producing 19,000 cycles per day and 5.2million per year. This represents one out of every 20 of the world’s bicycles. Hero Cycles has manufacturing units in Ludhiana (Punjab), Bihta (Bihar) & Ghaziabad (UP). It is part of the Hero Motors Company which has revenues of $400million and $1.2billion in assets employing circa 8,000 staff.
The company exports to more than 70 countries through a network of circa 250 suppliers and 2800 dealerships. Its bike range includes road bikes, hybrid bikes, children’s bikes, electric-bikes, mountain bikes, BMX and roadster models. Hero in India also manufactures automobile components like chassis for cars, safety components and transmission for motorcycles.
In August 2015, it acquired British brand Avocet Sports with 51pc stake targeting high-end bicycle market in Europe and now has full ownership. In 2015, it also acquired Firefox Bikes – India’s largest premium bicycle brand with an established presence Pan-India through a network of 160 outlets. In 2016, it acquired a majority stake in Sri Lanka’s leading bicycle manufacturer BSH Ventures, further boosting its manufacturing capacity. As part of major expansion plans across Europe it launched the £2million Hero Cycles Global Design Centre (HGD) in Manchester, UK, in January 2017. In November 2019 the company changed its name from Avocet Sports Ltd to Insync Bikes Ltd.
Hero Cycles is ISO9001 & ISO14001 Certified from BVC of UK and recognized by the R&D department by the Govt. of India.