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The ship is loaded with... bicycles!

A swarm of something fast, yellow and black arrives at the Vuosaari Harbour on the 8th of July 2016. It’s time for the Rynkeby Charity cycling event! 

Approximately 140 cyclists and 38 service team members in the Team Rynkeby’s colours of yellow and black are starting their journey towards Paris, France, to raise funds for children with cancer. Teams all over the Nordic countries are getting ready to leave on their trip from their hometowns. The Finnish teams cross over to Travemünde onboard Finnlines to begin their journey.

From an idea to a famous  charity event

Rynkeby event did not start out with charity in mind.

Knud Vilstrup, a Rynkeby Foods em-ployee, was diagnosed with COPD (smoker’s lung) around 2001. This was a wake up call and he decided to do something to ensure that he was living a healthier life. The idea of cycling to Paris was born.

During the spring 2002 “Team Rynke” with 11 cyclists and one volunteer in a minibus was formed. Later that year, they would travel 1,200 kilometres from Ringe, Denmark to Paris.

Even if the original idea had not been charity, a profit of EUR 5,100 was made with the event and the group decided to donate this money to the children’s cancer unit at Odense University Hospital.

Now Team Rynkeby is the biggest Nordic charity cycling project and it is run by the Team Rynkeby Foundation. The numbers are growing every year: more and more participants and sponsors want to join and also the sums of donated money are increasing. In 2016, Team Rynkeby raised just over EUR 8.83 million to fight childhood cancer in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

Beginning the journey on the boat

The cyclists started their journey onboard MS Finnlady on Friday and arrived in Travemünde on Saturday evening 9th of July before head-ing off to Paris the next morning. But what did the cyclists do on the boat while the bicy-cles were safely stored in the cargo section? “Beforehand I was personally a bit unsure how to pass all that time and so I had packed all kinds of books and magazines with me.

In the end I didn’t manage to open any of them,” tells Sari Siivonen, the country man-ager of Team Rynkeby Finland.

“When you have over a hundred friends around you in a ship with a great buffet as well as a deck for hanging out, enjoying the fresh air and even with space for exercising, it’s not easy to get bored.”

Especially the ship’s buffet was well-appreciated by the cyclists. Special thanks were sent to the chefs by one cyclist with multiple and severe allergies: these had been carefully noted and no one was left hungry. “Quite the opposite!” laughs Siivonen.  

All roads lead to Paris

Each team in each country cycles its own route to Paris. All of the teams meet in the centre of Paris and then cycle the last 14 km together to Prairie du Cercle Sud, close to the Eiffel Tower, where the trip ends.

In the afternoon of 16th of July 2016 an emotional conclusion to 7–8 days of effort and hard work was witnessed when up to 5,000 people welcomed Team Rynkeby to Paris, where it cycled for the 15th time.

Building a team for next year

The search for next year’s cyclists has ended already. It’s not difficult to find interest par-ties. On the contrary, there are thousands of people applying. Only a certain amount of the applicants are selected. The next Rynkeby trip to Paris will be in the first week of July 2017.

Finnlines congratulates Team Rynkeby on its great success and we look forward to working with you next year!