The current UK cyclo cross champion, former trailer-maker and one-time consultant to Raleigh has been appointed assistant product manager within the cycling division. One of her key responsibilities will be to increase Halfords' penetration into the women's market.

Isla Rowntree joins Halfords

Rowntree has been racing since she was 12 and has competed in cyclo cross, XC, road, DH and grass track events. She has a trophy cabinet groaning with cups, medals and other trinkets.

Along with a framebuilding partner she operated a micro-sized Midlands-based manufacturing business in the mid-1990s. This produced women-specific frames and a range of top-notch trailerbikes.

And in 1999 she was one of a number of consultants to Raleigh on the BOB, Raleigh’s female-friendly bike of the time.

Fellow consultant Jill Hopkirk, of Newcastle’s Cycle Centre and an ACT board member, said she enjoyed working with Rowntree:

"She’s really nice and very knowledgable about bikes."

Rowntree said she was excited to be working for Halfords:

"I have lived and breathed cycling for the majority of my life. My move to the UK’s largest retailer of bikes and accessories will allow me to influence a larger number of people and their enjoyment of cycling, whether they ride to compete or for leisure."

Steve Lowe, category manager for cycling and former marketing manager at Raleigh, said: "We are constantly evolving our customer offer. With Isla now on board, considering her expertise in cycling – especially women’s specific equipment – we can

really look to further develop this sector. We are sure that our customers will begin to see the fruits of her labours in store soon."

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