Heavy Metal Truants: Have You Got A Ticket To Ride?

"You can rehydrate with electrolytes or dehydrate with a beer - the choice is yours"

Heavy Metal Truants came about in a dusty cafe outside of Marrakesh where Rod Smallwood, Manager of Iron Maiden and Alex Milas, Editor for UK’s Metal Hammer had stopped off for some shade during a similar Truants ride. “Rod's a terrific friend and inspirational kind of guy, who's been doing this incredible, private charity ride for years called the Truants, who have raised well over a million pounds for Teenage Cancer Trust, Nordoff Robbins, and Childline”. Alex says.

“The Marrakesh ride was the first one I'd been on and it was just the best experience” he continues “Just a bunch of awesome, motivated people doing good and having fun on this great big cycling adventure - you become friends for life”.

The Marrakesh experience got both Rob and Alex thinking. Perhaps a more public facing event. And then Heavy Metal Truants were born. “The little brother to Truants - and honestly, it’s one of the best projects I've been a part of. Three years later and the fantastic mix of bands, fans, and industry types (since 2012) have raised £232,000 [$460,000+AUD] for those same charities through a mix of raffles, our Monster Rock auction, and our annual, 3 day, 161 mile ride [260km] from London to Download Festival and it's only getting bigger”.

From Marrakesh to England to Sydney, Australia... Metal As Fuck find ourselves chatting with Chris Maric of Maric Media; publicity extraordinaire and one of the best in the business – generally, Chris can be found working within the underbelly of the industry; running hard behind the scenes for some of the best national and international acts however as of next month Chris Maric will be doing something a little different to his regular 9 – 5 and that is being in the spotlight (or headlight as it were) as he jumps over to the UK to join Alex Milas for the 2016 Heavy Metal Truants charity ride which is aptly titled “We Are The Road Crew”, fitting....

“It’s an interesting story how I got to be onboard with Heavy Metal Truants” Chris begins. “Originally I had just planned on attending Hellfest this year with a Metal Blade Records colleague. Alex and the Metal Hammer crew were in the country last year for Soundwave and we got to talking about the Heavy Metal Truants project and I was invited to take part. As an avid donor to charities around the world I was eager to get involved. So the wheels were in motion [pardon that pun] and the next minute I had a Truants training manual arrive on my desk”.

“I’ve come in very late to the piece as the training manual starts 4 months prior to the event” Chris continues “With that being said though the ride is not a road race, it’s not arranged for elite cyclists in mind - it’s just for a bit of fun, but for someone who doesn’t exactly ride around daily on a bicycle I wanted to get into training as soon as possible. And it’s not so much the peddling I’ve found... it’s your arse; you sit on that bike for a while and your arse is just beyond numb, so that’s more what I’m dreading than any exhaustion as I do ‘cross fit’ 3 times a week, so it’s no problem. At the end of the day your ultimate test of fitness is your recovery as oppose to how long you can train for, but I have no reservations - I’ll be ready come June 8".

What are you looking forward to getting out of the event? “I am looking forward to the experience, its gaining traction as a metal community event. Next year, who knows, maybe I’ll take some Aussie bands as a full unit – the European press are having more eyes on Australian bands than ever before and it would be great to see more involved”.

In 2015 the event raised over $140,000AUD which is an impressive effort – are the Metal Truants hoping to surpass this figure in 2016? “Yeah of course, the riders have their own individual pages where you can donate and a few guys on there are charging through with nearly £1500 so far which is great to see. The fundraising continues beyond the race so hopefully whilst we’re on the road it inspires people to champion us as we go and really push those targets”.

Finishing at Download Festival and treating yourself to Hellfest – a nice reward after the 260kms worth of sweat that you’ll be pouring out Chris “I am very glad that the ride portion of my trip is at the beginning and not at the end [Laughs] so I can train hard and get stuck into the ride - then kick back at the festivals, and definitely let my hair down. The ride is sponsored by Trooper Beer, and the first stop on Truants is at The Horns Pub, which has become a bit of a traditional stop for the riders I’m told - so you can rehydrate with electrolytes or dehydrate with a beer - the choice is yours”.

We continue with Metal Hammer Editor in Chief Alex Milas as to what his motivation was for getting behind the Heavy Metal Truants project “Most people in this kind of work find that people fall over themselves to help because despite what you may have read, most people want to do good in the world, they just don't know how. Charity work gives people a chance to go to bed at night knowing that in at least some small way they aren't part of the problem. Until I started this ride I never thought I could really make a difference, and that's the unifying story of so many of our riders. When you see the difference the charities we support make in the lives of kids, it's very hard to not throw yourself into it. And seeing the metal community step up has been a wonderful site to behold. You don't see this anywhere else”. And on a jovial note - what are your anticipations for this year’s ride? “Heat. Hills. Scrapes. Aches. Spills. Rain. Beer. Rammstein. Black Sabbath. Iron Fucking Maiden”.

The ride is in a few weeks however the Truants crew still have a raffle and auction to plan- and have advised they have already bagged some truly unique items. “If we can all wall away in one piece with a great wad of cash for kids who need it then I'm happy”.

All the information for Heavy Metal Truants including donating to any of the riders participating or signing up yourself, can be found here: www.heavymetaltruants.com  

Its heavy metal and it’s for the kids!

https://www.teenagecancertrust.org  – UK

https://www.kidswithcancer.org.au  – AU

https://www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk  – UK

http://www.nordoff-robbins.com.au  – AU

http://www.childline.org.uk  – UK

https://kidshelpline.com.au  – AU


Moments from 2015 Heavy Metal Truants: