Team Talk

Riding for the Oceans

By Bill Springer 

Everyone at Damen Yachting is grateful to work in an industry that’s intimately connected to the sea. And they all understand how important healthy oceans are to Owners who explore the world and create once-in-a-lifetime memories with their loved ones and friends on the yachts they build. 

But as I recently found out, those reasons just skim the surface of why the Damen Yachting team of dedicated cyclists have been training so hard to be ready to ride from London to Monaco in September. All of their efforts will be helping the Blue Marine Foundation raise money to protect the most vulnerable ocean environments by creating large marine reserves and establishing sustainable models of fishing.

Team members are riding because they all care deeply about the world. And they’re riding to help preserve the planet for their families and generations to come. Some team members who have participated in the past are looking forward to the challenge and—the “special type of fun”—that happens when a diverse group of passionate people (of various fitness levels!) ride over 1,000 kilometres (and the Alps!) in eight days. While those who are riding for the first time are bringing energy, enthusiasm, and maybe even a little trepidation to their early season training rides.

Forbes journalist Bill Springer has ridden in every London to Monaco ride since its inception and this year he’ll be riding (and documenting the adventure!) as a member of the Damen Yachting Cycling team.

Meanwhile, as one of the lucky ones who’s ridden in every London to Monaco ride since its inception in 2016 (the ride has raised well over £1.7 million for Blue Marine Foundation projects since then!), I’m excited to experience the “special type of fun” that I know is waiting for us all on the roads we’ll be riding between London and Monaco before the start of the Monaco Yacht Show. But I’m even more honored to have been asked to help tell the Damen Yachting cycling team’s story and drive awareness and fundraising as an official part of the team! And I couldn’t be more proud to be riding with a team that’s being led by team captain (and Damen Yachting Digital Content Manager) Deniza Avamil.

Team Captain Deniza Avamil cycling in Norway after accompanying the Amels 206 STARDUST on her maiden voyage to the Fjords.
Experienced team member Michel Coens after climbing the Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees during the 2019 London to Monaco.

“Although this is the first time I’m going to participate in the London to Monaco ride,” she says. “I am honoured to be the captain of the team and to help organise this year’s ride. To create awareness and raise money for an important cause. One that I care about and which ties in perfectly with how I want to make a positive impact in the world. And from what I’ve heard from veteran team member Michel Coens and others, I’m sure it will be a remarkable experience for us all.”

A big thank you to all our sponsors and everyone who is helping us to support this great cause!”

“Climbing the Col de Tourmalet during the 2019 London to Monaco ride was an unforgettable experience,” Damen Yachting Refit Sales Manager Michel Coens says. “It was hard. It was beautiful. And challenged me in ways that weren’t exactly ‘fun.’ But it was incredibly rewarding to ride with the team. And the variety of feelings and emotions we felt each day—during the long, steep, painful Tourmalet climb, or during a coffee stop, or simply forming bonds with fellow riders during the long hours spent on the bike during the ride, and at dinner every night were priceless. And helping the Blue Marine Foundation raise significant funds to help create marine sanctuaries made all our efforts worth even more.”

Forbes journalist Bill Springer on the London to Monaco challenge.
Amels and Damen Yachting Cycle Team 2022

The importance of life below water remains a key focus for Damen Yachting and has played a large part in their ongoing Love our Oceans campaign.

This is only the beginning. In fact, I’m excited to be sharing stories about the whole team and maybe even a few about my training rides where I live outside Boston, Massachusetts, USA in the coming months.

Yes, I’m an American, but, maybe my day job as a superyacht writer for Forbes and lots of luxury magazines—including Finest Moments—might make it possible for me to be an “Honorary Damen Yachting Dutch Cyclist?” What do you think? I’ll be bringing lots of bright orange cycling socks to the adventure!

To donate, follow the team and to find out whether I am granted honorary Dutch cycling status after all, please click the button below.

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