The Big Ride, a mass participation cycle ride “demo”, is turning the spotlight on the arms trade with Israel as it prepares to gather in protest outside an arms factory owned by Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. Building on last year’s event, The Big Ride this year will be raising awareness of the Stop Arming Israel campaign- and we’re looking for riders to raise money for CAAT, too! The Big Ride will take place over the weekend of the 6th, 7th and 8th of August. If you’d like to join the ride and cycle to raise money for CAAT, please email fundraising(at)caat*org*uk.
The ride will set off from across the UK and riders will cycle to Birmingham, with spoke routes planned from London, Bristol, Manchester and Sheffield. On Sunday 7 August there will be a picnic event in Sparkhill Park, Birmingham where the various cycling groups will get together to enjoy food and music, including a very special surprise headliner.
Cyclists will then be pedalling en masse to Shenstone, near Lichfield, to hold a rally outside the UAV Engines arms factory. UAV Enginges are part of Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, and have been the target of repeated protests in the last two years. Ride organisers are appealing for cyclists to join the rides to the Birmingham hub or just to Shenstone.
John Goss, aged 70, a cyclist from Birmingham and himself a former engineer is one of The Big Ride organisers. He said:
UAV supplies Israel, and other countries, with military drone engines used in extra-judicial killing. The site on which UAV Engines stands was once a motor-cycle manufacturer of BSA Norton bikes. BSA itself stands for Birmingham Small Arms Company based, believe it or not, but a stone’s throw from Small Heath Park where The Big Ride will gather.
BSA’s success came not in the manufacture of rifles or weapons so much as in bicycles and motorcycles. If our protest can change UAV Engines’ philosophy we will have metaphorically turned swords into ploughshares — not for the first time.
Last year more than two hundred cyclists took part in a nine-day cycle-ride from Edinburgh to London, half of them covering the full distance and raising £65,000. You can find out more about the Big Ride on the their website, or email fundraising(at)caat*org*uk if you’d like to sign up to ride for CAAT!