Chef, Tom Aikens is inviting the hospitality sector to join him and industry colleagues in a virtual ‘Pedalling for Pubs UK Bike Ride’ to Jordan, Middle East, between 7-15 March 2022.

 At the same time as 27 hospitality professionals do the real, epic bike ride over 335km of desert and mountain terrain in just four days, Aikens and friends are asking colleagues working in pubs, bars, restaurants, breweries and offices to form teams and cycle 4,891km, the distance from London to Jordan, either on a static bike in the workplace, or outdoors between 7-15 March 2022.

“We wanted to mirror the efforts of the cyclists in Jordan – and it’s a great initiative to strengthen teamwork and do good at the same time, says Tom Aikens, Michelin-starred chef and restauranteur.

“It’s very simple to participate – borrow a static bike or two, and set them up in the workplace, wherever is practical, and cycle as many miles as you can over the week with colleagues to help us get to Jordan. Outdoor bike rides can be an alternative or a mix of formats can work too.

“Then, ask co-workers, friends and family to sponsor you to raise funds to help those in our sector facing tough times – and to support our veterans, people facing or experiencing homelessness and prison leavers access employment opportunities in hospitality.”

Joining Aikens at a Pedalling for Pubs UK Bike Ride at The Strand Palace Hotel on Monday 7 March, will be Kate Nicholls, CEO, UK Hospitality, Emma McClarkin, CEO, British Beer and Pub Association, and Steve Alton, CEO, British Innkeeping Institute amongst many others, to raise critical funds for two ground-breaking charities; Only A Pavement Away; and Licensed Trade Charity.

Rooted in hospitality, both charities stage phenomenal interventions for people facing homelessness, joblessness, health issues and financial hardship. They have been fundamental in helping those who have faced personal crisis – and could still lose everything as a result of the pandemic – get back on their feet.

On signing up, participants are given a fundraising kit including a bespoke pull-up banner with fundraising or QR code to display in the workplace to drive donations.

In addition, teams will have access to MyVirtual Mission, which tracks the distance travelled and enables organisations to compete with the other teams taking part.

To date, companies including Punch Pubs, Barclaycard Business, Wadworths and ABInBev have signed up and organisers would like more companies to step forward.

“The last two years have had an unprecedented effect on mental health and financial stability, said Jim Brewster, CEO, Licensed Trade Charity.

“We’ve seen huge growth in the number of people contacting us for help, especially for the mental wellbeing support we offer, which is why we’re asking licensed drinks trade people across the UK to ‘get behind the bar’ and pedal for pubs.”

Greg Mangham, CEO and founder of Only A Pavement Away, continues: “It’s good for business too – teams can collaborate, compete with other companies in the hospitality sector and have some fun. We’d really appreciate our sector colleagues helping us to raise much needed funds to provide information, support and employment opportunities for people facing difficult times.”

To take part, please contact paula.smith@ltcharity.org.uk, entries close on Monday 28 February.

To donate, please go to www.justgiving.com/campaign/pedallingforpubs2020.