A MINUTE WITH: GREG ROCHE
We talk to Greg Roche, co-founder of Sunday Bicycles and now a rider and sponsor of the KFS Special Vehicles team.
CW: What made you set up Sunday Bikes?
Greg Roche: Last year I was racing for Nippo but I got married and knew my wife was expecting, so I thought I was probably going to have to stop riding and get a proper job. Harry Lodge said to me that he was setting up a team in the UK and asked if I fancied riding for them as it would be less commitment. My wife and I had discussed setting up this company and when Harry suggested we became the bike sponsor it all fell into place.
Sounds like an unconventional way of starting up a business…
We’d written a business plan two years ago but this gave us some drive to get on with it. It was a bit of a risk but it was a way of staying involved in the sport and making a living out of it. My wife knows nothing about bikes but she has a background as a sales manager and is pretty clued up on the financial side of things. My brother’s a CAD engineer by trade and did all the design work for us.
What’s special about your bikes?
We wanted to make something that was solid and workmanlike but would give good performance and be comfortable. That’s why we started off with titanium, although I’m not averse to using carbon in the future. At the Girvan I crashed and my bike got crushed under a motorbike. A lot of the components got written off, but I put the frame in the jig afterwards and it was as straight as a die.
Why’s your company called Sunday Bikes?
Because Sunday is the day people race or take part in sportives. It’s a bit of a cliché but I was pretty keen that the brand be recognised as ‘for cyclists, by cyclists’. That’s why we are involved in the team and why we sponsored the Etape du Dales sportive. Our presence there wasn’t just a commercial stand but we got involved, handing out coffee at the beginning of
the day and offering massages at the end.
Has sponsoring a British team been a worthwhile investment?
Yes, absolutely. With Rob Sharman being a reasonable name in the sport, it’s given us a bit of credibility. I have had people ring up and say they’ve seen the bikes at a race and want a team replica.
How long have you been racing?
As a junior I was a mountain biker and got my elite licence when I was 19 or 20. I signed for the Sunn-Chippie team to ride some of the under-23 World Cups but the whole thing folded over the winter and I switched to road racing. I’ve ridden the Ras five times and last year with Nippo was racing away a lot in places like Croatia, Belgium and France.
What’s your biggest achievement?
I won the Tour of Cranbourne Chase overall in 2005 with a 20-mile solo break on the last stage. It wasn’t a big race but it was around the time of the National Championships and there were quite a few big names in it. Last year I also took the yellow jersey at the Tour of the North in Northern Ireland.