On 5 June, 810 riders from all over the world joined together for an unusual cycling challenge, including 250 who took on routes around the beautiful Leicestershire and Rutland countryside. RAFA Rides 2021 raised money for the Royal Air Forces Association, the charity that supports the RAF family.
The event, which was made possible thanks to generous support from defence 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.
Riders joined from 20 countries across six continents, all united in cycling for a cause close to their hearts. Teams and individuals took part in North America, South America, Africa, the Middle East, New Zealand, as well as across the UK and Europe. During the day, live feeds between Leicestershire, RAF stations across the UK and the teams in other countries brought the riders together, despite being dispersed all around the world.
Air Vice-Marshal Gary Waterfall, RAF Association ambassador and RAFA Rides founder, said:
“RAFA Rides 2021 has surpassed all our expectations. In just four years, this annual ride has become a real highlight in the cycling calendar – I am truly humbled by the incredible level of support. Having so many riders join us from so many places made it a truly global event. I want to thank everyone who took part, as well as all their family, friends and colleagues who sponsored them. We’re already working on exciting plans for 2022 – linking up even more countries around the world to ride together in support of our air forces.”
Amy Petterson, Head of Community Fundraising at the RAF Association, added:
“I want to thank everyone who took part in this year’s RAFA Rides, whether they rode 10 miles or 100 miles, their efforts are greatly appreciated. Thanks should also go to all the kind people who donated money, and finally to all of our incredible volunteers who gave up their time to support the event.
“The team from RAF Waddington who helped organise the event put in a great effort out on the road and started off our 24-hour broadcast in style.
“Special mention should also go to Wing Commander John Gorman, currently working in Washington DC. John had set himself the amazing target of cycling 500 miles in 24 hours on a static bike. Hopefully John’s legs are well on their way to recovery by now!”
The RAF Association is already busy preparing for RAFA Rides 2022. Anyone who loves cycling, and wants to join riders around the world in supporting the RAF community, can sign up now. To register for RAFA Rides 2022, visit https://rafa.org.uk/events/rafa-rides/.
The 2021 global feed is still available on the Association’s YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/RAFWingsAppeal.