In just over two weeks’ times, hundreds of RAFA Riders from around the world will be preparing to take on RAFA Rides 2022, tackling distances from ten to 100 to 250 miles in the saddle to show their support for the Royal Air Forces Association.
In 2021, 800 people from six continents took part in RAFA Rides, all united in cycling for a cause close to their hearts. As we prepare to welcome more cyclists than ever in 2022, some of them have been sharing what inspired them to sign up.
Amongst this years’ RAFA Riders is Squadron Leader Sarah Lockhart. Sarah (pictured above) took part in RAFA Rides 2021 remotely from Colorado Springs. Immediately after last year’s event Sarah signed up for RAFA Rides 2022. Telling us of her motivation she said:
“I chose to take part in RAFA Rides because the RAF Association is an amazing charity this is likely to affect all RAF personnel and their families throughout their service in one way or another.”
Sarah will be joined by Wing Commander Simon (Nev) Nevin. Asked why he is taking part in RAFA Rides he said:
“The RAF Association is a cause very close to my heart. As a member of the RAF for 24 years who has seen the exceptional work they do and how integrated they are into the wider RAF community, I jumped at the chance to take part.”
RAFA Rides 2022, made possible thanks to generous ongoing support from security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin UK, was created so people across the world could join together both in person and virtually, in support of the RAF community.
One of last years RAFA Riders, Wing Commander Fred Wigglesworth, explains what it was like to be part of 2021’s event.
“RAFA Rides gave us a great opportunity to connect with people and be part of a community – even if only virtually. Being a small unit based in Nevada, we often feel a bit isolated but RAFA Rides bought us into the fold, gave us a united purpose with units all over the world, and made us feel part of something special.”
Another return rider in 2022 is Warrant Officer Stevie Joy. A keen cyclist for over 30 years, Stevie took part in RAFA Rides for the first time in 2021. For him it was much more than just a cycling event, it boosted his mental wellbeing and helped him deal with the death of his father, who passed away after contracting COVID-19.
“The first time out on my bike felt like flicking a switch – I instantly felt better. As the weeks and months went on, I started connecting with friends again and I had a focus. RAFA Rides is the perfect event, as it involves cycling, which I love, but also feels like I’m doing something for Dad and a cause he loved.”
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