In a series dedicated to our Dedicated Few – riders who’ve made the annual pilgrimage with us every year since day 1 – Paul Fletcher shares some of his favourite war stories.
I’ve known and worked with Rod and Iron Maiden for many years, and was thrilled to be invited into the Truants charity brother (and sister)hood. I did my first ride with the Truants in 2012 around Marrakech, which was a truly exhausting but unforgettable experience, so when Rod and Alex told us they were planning a Heavy Metal Truants to ride to Download the following year, I was in!!!
We’re very privileged that we get to meet the amazing people that both work with and benefit from the children’s charities that HMT support. It’s incredible to see first-hand the work that they do, and the huge impact it has on the lives of the children they help, so it’s a no-brainer to keep coming back. It really helps that the 50 odd riders that return year after year are such a great bunch of people, and the ride itself is such a blast – 3 days of hills and then beers at download – I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
All of the charities do incredibly important work, but working in the music industry, we have very close links to Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy. I know people first hand who have benefitted from the work that they do, and how they can completely transform lives.
Worst memory for me was the horizontal rain and hailstones on the very first ride which really sorted the men from the boys! On the other hand there are so many great memories of riding through the beautiful countryside on fantastic sunny days, that it kind of balances out. Also the luxury of the Leicester Hilton at the end of the second day…now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d hear myself say.