Wanted: 400 riders for Chernobyl mercy ride-out rally

Published: 16 February 2010

Kawasaki ZX-12R owner Alec Phillips is organising a riding rally from the UK to the Ukraine to raise money for charity and hopes to complete the mammoth 3500-mile, 17 day journey with 400 riders in tow. The ride-out also coincides with the Nehzin Moto Fest, which attracts over 1500 bikers from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

The money-raising event takes place over 1-17 September, and will cost each rider with bike £1299, of which £100 will be shared between British Humanitarian Aid (BHA) and Aratta, the Chernihiv Region charity in Ukraine. 

If the full accompaniment of 400 riders can be realised, this will raise £40,000 to go towards funding a new aid centre in Chernihiv and ensure continued transport of aid into Ukraine by BHA. So what’s happened in the Ukraine to warrant the need for a mass ride-out rally? 

Alec Phillips: “Chernihiv is only about 50 miles from Chernobyl, where the nuclear reactor exploded in 1986, and the human impact from this is long-lasting. Unfortunately it seems the world has forgotten about this disastrous event.

“If Chenobyl wasn’t bad enough, the collapse of the Soviet Union compounded the misery of the people in the Ukraine. Unemployment, no social services and mass poverty is just a part of the problem affecting such regions as Chernihiv – and it isn’t going to get any better without outside help. As an aid driver, I was truly rocked by what I first saw on my first visit some five years ago. But with continued support from BHA life for the people in and around Chernihiv becomes slightly more bearable.” 

Extremely detailed information (itinerary, costs, what’s needed etc) on the whole event can be found at the dedicated website www.bike2ukraine.com The £1299 cost also includes ferry crossing charges, several nights in basic accommodation with camping making up the rest of the time (attendees to supply own tent and sleeping bag). Full rider support (translators etc) and back-up teams will be on hand at all times.

“It’s the chance of a lifetime,” said Phillips. “There are many people who would dearly love to undertake a challenge like this but have always held back because of trivial things like not being able to speak Russian, and so on. For this event they don’t need to. There will be help all the way, from crossing into mainland Europe and back.”