An Insync Bikes team member will lead a team of riders tackling the Tour of Flanders in April to raise funds for a cancer charity.
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 event. Insync is sponsoring the team and providing its Viking Roadmaster bikes, a brand unveiled in 1908 and ridden in the professional Tour of Flanders race when it launched five years later.
The 237-kilometre 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 cobbles. Cooper 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.
“I’ve always wanted to do this so I’m really looking forward to it,” Cooper said. “After 200 kilometres, 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 audax 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,” added Cooper, 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.”
To sponsor the team click here.