RAFARides cycling event goes global with supporters urged to help ‘cycle the world’ for charity!

Cyclists across the globe are being encouraged to join Team RAFA in a bid to collectively cover 24,901 miles – equal to circling the world at the equator – to raise money for our vital work supporting the RAF community.

The riders, so far mostly based in Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, will be clocking-up the distance needed for their virtual circumnavigation of the globe in just 24 hours.

The ride will be split into two formats, enabling cyclists to take part in an organised on-road event in Leicestershire, or to join-in virtually on static or moving bikes from any location in the world.

The Leicestershire on-road event, which will start and finish at Waltham-on-the-Wolds, will be held on 5 June, and riders will be able to choose to complete 30, 70 or 100 miles.

Cyclists taking part elsewhere will be able to contribute their miles between 7pm on Friday 4 June and 7pm on Saturday 5 June.

Some of the remote participants will work in teams, using static bikes in RAF station buildings, while others will cycle in their own homes or on local roads and tracks. Everyone joining-in will be able to connect virtually via an online event App.RAF Association ambassador and keen cyclist, Air Vice-Marshal Gary Waterfall, is helping to set up and run the event – the latest in the RAFA Rides series.

Gary said RAFA Rides 2021 promised to be bigger and better than the three previous rides.

“Our ambition is great, but with good reason,” said Gary. “RAFA Rides has established itself in the top tier of fundraising events – not just for RAFA, but across all UK charity events. RAFA Rides 2020, held virtually due to COVID-19, raised in excess of a staggering £75,000, and was in the top one per cent of Just Giving’s fundraising for 2020!”

Gary started the RAFA Rides initiative in 2018 during the RAF’s Centenary. He said:

“I wanted to mark RAF 100 while simultaneously raising money to support former and serving RAF personnel and their families. The funds we raise are used by the RAF Association to provide practical, emotional and financial support to those in need.

“Previous rides have paid for training for Association volunteers to provide friendship to lonely veterans. During 2020, RAFA Rides made an essential contribution to the significant running costs of the charity’s outreach projects to combat loneliness and isolation during the pandemic.

“This year’s 24-hour event is set to be more exciting and ambitious than ever, with teams scattered across the world, including in Australia, the Maldive Islands, the west coast of the USA, and various European countries.”

One again, Gary will be bringing several cyclist friends and colleagues together to participate under his ‘RAFA Quaranteam’ banner, which enjoyed great success in 2020.

Gary said:

“Our team aims to ride throughout the 24-hour period in relays of 30 miles through the beautiful countryside from Waltham. We’re not yet sure how difficult this will be, as we certainly don’t intend to have a trial run!”

The event is open to all, wherever they are in the world. If you would like to take part, either as an individual or as part of a team, check out the 2019 and 2020 RAFA Rides videos, and sign-up for 2021 here.

Join #teamRAFA and take on our global challenge. Be part of something amazing in 2021!