The Adventure Syndicate launches its 2018 team at Bespoked in Bristol this weekend, unveiling four hand-built bicycles from Shand Cycles that The Quad will adventure on for the next year, augmented with parts from Ritchey, tyres from Schwalbe and wheels from Hunt.
If you don't know who they are, The Adventure Syndicate is a collective of female endurance cyclists whose aim is to increase levels of self-belief and confidence in others (especially in women and girls) by telling inspiring stories, creating an encouraging community, and delivering enabling workshops and training.They say they do this because they love the way adventuring by bike makes them feel and they passionately believe we are all capable of so much more than we think we are. There are lots of stories on the website, we challenge you not to be inspired!
Following their appearance at the UK Handmade Bicycle Show, the Quad Race Team made up of; Lee Craigie, Rickie Cotter, Jenny Tough and Jenny Graham, will spend a week riding #Southbound from Bristol, encouraging schools to follow their progress online, and collectively match their daily mileage, for a chance to win a film screening and visit from some of the team.
#Southbound is part of a larger Adventure Syndicate project, in which the group are working with five different schools across Scotland, introducing bikepacking to teenage girls who wouldn’t normally participate in sport, and culminating in an overnight camping trip for each school.
Syndicate director Lee Craigie says: “Encouraging young women to be adventurous and self-reliant is a different engagement strategy to the traditional competitive sporting one. The confidence-raising possibilities that come from realizing they can travel great distances by bike and carry everything they need to eat, sleep and have fun along the way can change how girls view the world and what they’re capable of achieving in it.”
The adventure syndicate Schools, by The Adventure Syndicate
The team will be riding purpose-built Stooshies – Shand’s all-road adventure bike, constructed from a lightweight mix of Columbus and Dedacciai tubing, built to handle any terrain from rough gravel to slippery-smooth tarmac with no compromise on speed.
“We built the bikes to order,” says Shand’s Russell Stout, “which meant each rider had the opportunity to have their bike tailored with regard to sizing and other details. To have a bike specifically made for you gives a real boost when taking on challenging rides.”
Syndicateer Jenny Graham, who begins an attempt on the women’s round-the-world speed record this June, confirms this: “The whole process has been fascinating. I took along a bike that didn’t fit me very well. Steven and I chatted about what I’d like from the new bike, and the annoyances of my current set-up. He made a few measurements and off I went. The boys in the workshop kept me posted with Instagram updates throughout the process, sending me pictures of the tubes in a box, then welded together, then riveted and finally painted! When I collected the finished bike, it was like meeting an old friend.”
And Rickie Cotter, who has distinguished herself in almost every self-supported bike race there is, says: “To receive a bespoke handmade frame from a British company is a real privilege. Their level of craft and precision is arguably borderline art, and that extra time and care shines through on every level of its production. Knowing the Shand team have a deep-rooted passion for adventure leaves me with no doubt that this bike is going to handle the ups and downs I will throw it at – I can trust it to carry me through any adventure we choose.”
Following their #Southbound adventure, the team will spend the summer undertaking some of the world’s toughest and most exciting ultra-distance challenges. Jenny Tough is taking on Ireland’s TransAtlanticWay Race and the inaugural Silk Road Mountain Race, along with Lee Craigie and Rickie Cotter. Rickie will be making an attempt on the World 24-hour Solo Mountain Bike Championships in Fort William in October, and Jenny Graham sets off in June to cycle round the world, aiming to break Juliana Buhring’s 2012 time of 144 days.
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