Rafe Aldridge

Tell us about your involvement with O2e so far:

So much to tell! My first event was the first Big Kev’s Big Bike Ride back in 2007. Great event but Kev hadn’t organised anything like it before and lets just say there were a few “gaps”, in particular around the lack of any route! Of course pointing that out was tantamount to volunteering and so I’ve planned the route for the ride ever since. We’ve been all over Northern Europe and it’s been immense.

What has been the most memorable event or challenge you taken part in, or supported, for O2e?

The first Big Bike Ride, partly for the wrong reasons, partly for making me realise I can do “extraordinary” despite being utterly useless at school sports but also for introducing me to a great bunch of people. All of the Big Bike Rides – watching ordinary people push their boundaries and ride a previously inconceivable 200, 250 or even 300 miles in a few days will never fail to impress me and being part of the organising team just makes it even more special.

Thinking back to your first introduction to O2e, who do we have to thank for you getting involved?

Kev’s brother John. John was a customer of my brother, Brett, at the time and didn’t think anyone was going to do this ride that Kev was organising, so suggested my brother do it as he’d just bought a bike to get fit. Brett asked me (I too had just bought one, totally independently as we live far apart) and between us I think we got about 6 or 7 people on that ride. Brett and Dad’s company provided the support vans with our Dad and uncle making up two of the support crew. Brett is now on the committee, Dad has supported ten Big Bike Rides and I’m an ambassador. I think JT did a good bit of recruiting that day!

And what was it about O2e that resonated with you?

Initially it was just the challenge of that first ride, I didn’t give the charity or its principles much thought if I’m honest. However, once I’d completed the ride and met the guys, I appreciated that extraordinary was relative and anyone could be extraordinary and make a difference.

Making is Difference is a basic principle of the charity. As an Ambassador of O2e, where and how would you like to make a difference?

Having been very closely involved on the “other side”, you realise just what an incredible amount of effort goes into organising and putting on an event, but events are crucial as people often turn to and need to use them to make their journey from ordinary to extraordinary. As such, I think everyone that invests time into making an event happen has themselves become extraordinary and enabled a genuine difference to be made. I think that’s where I’ll be continuing my efforts.

Finally, tell us about your next event that will take you from ordinary to extraordinary?

I intend to work on my own 1000-mile unsupported ride this summer, to ensure I keep my pushing my endurance and increasing my experience (this will be camping too!). I think this helps me be more supportive when encouraging and helping others take on their own challenges. Of course, having just done the recce for the 2017 Big Bike Ride, I’m really looking forward to actually riding it with some amazing people, some of whom will have never undertaken anything this crazy ever before.