A Bit About Us

Alexander Milas on the birth of the world’s greatest charity cycle ride…

So then, how did this all begin?

It’s said that mighty oaks grow from small acorns. It should also be said that’s especially true of acorns that have been soaked in beer. It feels like yesterday. Back in 2012, Iron Maiden manager, Rod Smallwood, invited me on one of his now infamous charity cycle rides, the Truants. This particular one was through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains out in Morocco in some truly blistering heat. It was hard, but it was also genuinely one of the best, most fulfilling experiences of my life. It had been years since I’d cycled – life and the demands of work had gotten in the way and I doubted whether I could finish, but like a lot of people out there for the first time I surprised myself, and my face ached from all the grinning. What I didn’t know was that it was about to get a million times better. It was early evening in Marrakech, and the heat was just about bearable for the first time. Rod cracks over a beer, turns to me, and says…

How are you planning on getting up to Donington this year?

That moment saw the birth of the Heavy Metal Truants, and to say it’s been a remarkable journey is an understatement. Just like our mascot, created by Matt Dixon out of the goodness of the heart, our little cycle ride has evolved rather significantly over the last eight years. The first seven rides saw dozens upon dozens of cyclists come together to raise money for three fantastic charities that do truly immense work to improve the lives of children and young people: Nordoff Robbins, Teenage Cancer Trust, and Childline. Add in friends and family who’ve supported them, and the great and good of the music industry who have supported us, and you haven’t just got a proposition that has raised over £681,500 to date, but an organisation that’s the very essence of what heavy metal is all about. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan, an agent, a manager, a promoter, a publicist, a record label, a media type or an artist: hills and sweat are a great equaliser, and the only thing that matters is that you’re out there with us.

An evolution of the Heavy Metal Truants mascot, as drawn by the immensely talented Matt Dixon

It’s about more than just the cycle ride, though. Every year we also hold the Monster Rock Auction: a charity memorabilia auction that’s seen some truly unique and wonderful items donated by bands and industry. It’s evolved rather a lot over the years, and the only thing that hasn’t changed is the incredible generosity of the winning bidders, and this year we plan to make it bigger and better than ever – keep your eyes peeled for developments, soon.

And this year made it even more special with the addition of Save The Children as our international charity and the birth of the Virtual Ride. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we weren’t able to physically ride to Download Festival 2020, so we came up with idea of allowing participants from all over the world join in virtually, on road bikes, on exercise bikes, hand bikes, on anything with pedals! Add to that a walking/running challenge and it has made The Heavy Metal Truants a truly open, global community, coming together to raise an additional £130,000 and counting for our now four charities.

We don’t stop at the finish line, to join or find out how else you can support hit us up.

Alexander Milas