Doing it for The Dambusters!

You may be aware that the Bike Inn was recently involved in the organisation and running of a rather high profile charity sportive event.

Now that the dust has settled and organisers and participants have had time to rest and recover, we’d like to look back on what culminated in a very successful weekend for all involved.

The RAF Benevolent Fund’s Dambusters Ride took place on Saturday 3rd July in honour of the last surviving member of the heroic Dambusters raid , Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE DFM. This year Johnny celebrates his 100th birthday, and this cycling sportive was dedicated to him and all the members of 617 Squadron who took part in the daring raid that helped to change the course of the Second World War.

The Bike Inn were delighted to be selected as partner in the organisation of this event and worked hard to create a sportive that would do justice to the contribution made by Johnny and his comrades.

The Dambusters Ride took place in Lincolnshire, with the main route covering 100 miles and passing RAF Scampton, the air base that the iconic mission flew from. In addition to the main route there was a shorter 56-mile route, with both rides departing from and returning to the Petwood Hotel - which was the 617 Squadron headquarters at the time of the historic raid.

Staff and volunteers from the RAF Benevolent Fund were invaluable and extremely active on the day of the ride – manning the start and finish points, marshalling, manning the food stations, and handing out extra water supplies and bananas to weary participants! Members of the Bike Inn took the lead in the overall management of the support function on the day – offering their mechanical services, route ‘sweeping’ and the co-ordination of other essential services.

A big shout out goes to all the other marvellous people who made this event come together… including Tony and Dana from MediBike (thankfully their professional services were not required on the day), Race Timing Solutions who provided the timing and tracking support, and Emma and all her staff at the Petwood Hotel who were very flexible and highly supportive throughout.

Our opportunity to partner with the RAF Benevolent Fund in their fundraising endeavours was brought to us by team member Martin Foreman, himself a former RAF Engineer. Martin led this project from start to finish, and worked tirelessly to overcome various ‘complications’ along the way – like the small matter of a global pandemic, which caused the complete postponement of the original ride date – but also led to the running of an additional virtual event, allowing many more fundraisers to take part.

The Bike Inn also has roots in Lincolnshire. It was here that the training school was located when the indomitable team of Alf and Theresa Webb moved away from Buckinghamshire, and where Jon (now the current Bike Inn MD) was teaching when he first met Martin. It was only later when Alf and Theresa reluctantly decided to retire that Jon took over the helm and relocated the school to it’s current home in Cumbria.

The RAF Benevolent Fund is a charity that supports serving RAF personnel, veterans and their families with a range of welfare needs. We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of something that means so much to us and the people we work with – and we are honoured that the RAF Benevolent Fund have already indicated their desire to partner with us again for the Dambusters Ride ’22!

Here are a selection of photos taken before, during and after the event - click on each image to see the picture in full:


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