‘We couldn’t have done this without our motorcycles’
Professor Derek Knottenbelt is a world-leading horse doctor and founder of Vets with Horsepower
“I won my first motorcycle in a raffle. So I had to learn to ride this Harley-davidson Sportster and do something with it. I decided to ride it to veterinary schools and give a couple of lectures. I started talking to a colleague about it and he said he’d ride with me. One thing led to another and all of a sudden we had 12 academic senior vets – all with motorcycles – offering to ride together. So, we decided to visit all seven vet schools in seven days and raise money for charity.
“I had only ridden 50 miles on my bike before we set off, but we completed the 1500 miles in seven days and that was just the beginning. That was in 2010. Since then we’ve done six of these innovative trips and continued lecturing. In return the vet schools give us money which we donate to charities in Africa, India and the UK. We target specific projects, like building a kitchen for a children’s home in South Africa.
“We’ve now raised £500,000 for charity and it’s been amazing. We were even presented with a Point of Light award by our Prime Minister! This year we’re taking on our seventh ride, and it will be the biggest project yet. We’re heading through Europe, covering 3500 miles in 14 days and delivering 10, eight-hour lectures along the way.
“We wouldn’t have done any of this if it wasn’t for our motorcycles. None of us would have done it if we had to sit in a mini-bus, could you imagine? We all love our motorcycles and are so happy to be able to combine our passion with charity work.”