local support for ride vyking
Our RIDE Series depends on the generosity of volunteers who give up their time to ensure that participants have the best possible day in the saddle.
Recently we caught up with Chris Eagland, founder of VÉLOKIND, to find out why he decided to volunteer at RIDE Vyking, on Sunday 4 June.
Outside the rain was coming down, however, inside Prologue Performance Cycling Café, we chatted about the Yorkshire cycling scene over flat whites.
Tell us about you and your cycling journey…
Like many others, I have fond memories of riding bikes as a child. The most vivid is of warm, summer days in the late 80's, riding my BMX to the park with my elder brother and down through the local woods with friends. Those carefree days just seemed to go on forever.
Somewhere along the way though I lost touch with cycling. I also feel like I lost sight of what I wanted to achieve in life – my purpose. I don’t know why, but as I’ve discovered entering my 40's and having begun reflecting a little more, it feels as though some of the decisions I’ve taken over the last 20 years were almost made on autopilot. I also feel like I’ve not been living as my full self. Holding back. Something I’m now seeking to change.
Throughout my 20's, I’d always enjoyed watching the spectacle of the Tour de France, but the turning point came in 2013 when, at the age of 33, I was finally seduced into road cycling by a school friend and member of Barnsley Road Club. After much research, I made my way down the M1 to JE James Cycles in Rotherham where I collected my first road bike, a Giant Defy Composite 3, and all the gear to get me out riding, proper.
It took me several nervous rides to get used to balancing on what felt like an incredibly narrow bike and clipping in and out of pedals was fraught with danger for a while. However, that soon passed and I quickly fell in love again with that sense of pure freedom you feel on the bike – that same freedom I’d felt as a child.
It's this journey which ultimately led me to conceive and create VÉLOKIND – a Yorkshire-born, sustainable cycling apparel brand, inspired by the freedom of riding and on a mission to connect and inspire fellow riders to discover their own freedom beyond the road.
Our home is a small but perfectly formed workshop and print studio in Harrogate where we work round the clock marrying our intense passion for cycle culture and design with our mission to inspire positive change in the cycling community.
You’re volunteering at RIDE Vyking this year, tell us about the Yorkshire cycling scene…
Yorkshire has a rich heritage of cycling and it’s not hard to see why. We are blessed with some of the finest scenery in the country and it’s always a privilege to ride in this beautiful landscape.
Buoyed by the incredible Tour de France Grand Départ in 2014, the subsequent Tour de Yorkshire races between 2015 and 2019 and the UCI Road World Championships in 2019, it’s hard not to have been gripped by this wonderful sport over recent years. We’re also lucky to have a wide and varied network of local cycling clubs with endless opportunities for social rides, whatever your preferred terrain and pace.
Above all else though, you can be assured of a warm welcome when riding in Yorkshire. We’re a friendly bunch and are keen to connect and share our passion for cycling with anyone who’s willing to listen!
Why did you decide to volunteer for Action?
I jumped at the chance to be involved with the Action RIDE Vyking event. What better reason can there be to ride your bike than to support vital funding for research to help tackle childhood disease and disability? Outside of our support for this event, VÉLOKIND gives 1% of sales to Cyclists Fighting Cancer, a charity helping support children living with and beyond cancer, so it just made perfect sense to be part of this.
The routes are on our doorstep and it’s always exciting to see people come together for local events. I’m curious about peoples’ individual stories and motivations for cycling, so am excited to meet everyone taking part and cheering everyone on.
Look out for Chris at this year’s RIDE Vyking event where he’ll be supporting riders at one of our feed stations along the route.