Jumbo Run

A charitable organisation for children with disabilities and special needs

While most of the major international motorcycling meetings are featured on LPMCC.net, one of them has not been so fortunate to date. It's time to rectify this omission and give the Jumbo Run the recognition it deserves.

What is a Jumbo Run?

At its origins the Jumbo of the 1960s was a motorbike and sidecar charity that gave disadvantaged children days out in places where they could have fun, taking them to and from the event in a convoy of motorbikes and sidecars, escorted most of the time by police motorcyclists.

Nowadays, this very special event has become a kind of solidarity and friendship action, which consists, for one day, of offering and sharing an original side-car ride with disabled people or residents of a care home.

A brief history

What we do know about its history is that it dates back to 1961. The very first meeting, was sponsored by the British Cycle & Motorcycle Industries Association. It was held in Coventry and 80 teams took part.

At the end of this first event, and in view of the enthusiasm and joy of all the participants, it was decided to make it an annual event.

But it was not until 1963 that the Jumbo Run was given its current name. The reason for this was that during the excursion, the participants had the opportunity to visit a zoo where there was an elephant called Jumbo. Some disabled people would then have likened the size of the sidecars to pachyderms. Hence the name Jumbo.

Badges commemorating the Jumbo Run in the Netherlands in the 60s

This event, which originated in England, soon gained an international reputation in neighbouring countries, where similar events were held relatively quickly.

The first to adopt it, in 1964, was the Netherlands, followed in 1967 by the Federal Republic of Germany.

German (left) and Belgian (right) Jumbo Run commemorative badges from the 70s

Sweden followed suit in 1970, bringing a dozen teams to Stockholm for their first ever Swedish Jumbo, organised by the Swedish Sidecar Club (SSK).

View of the 1st Belgian Jumbo Run held in August 1971 in Ypres

Belgium followed suit the following year, in the summer of late August 1971, bringing together no fewer than 150 sidecar riders and around a hundred motorcyclists in the town of Ypres. The programme included a ride in West Flanders for disabled children from Gits, north of the town of Roeselare.

As for France, it wasn't until 1978 that the very first Jumbo Run finally saw the light of day on French soil, in Brittany to be precise, and I had the privilege of taking part; my one and only participation in a Jumbo Run among the list of meetings reserved exclusively for sidecars that I was lucky enough to take part in.

Badge and sticker commemorating the first French Jumbo Run in Brittany in 1978

This grand premiere was pioneered by our friend the late Gilbert Neveu (aka 'B├ębert de Rennes'), an emeritus side-car enthusiast, former member of the legendary Breton club Condate, and member of the Confrerie des Gueux d'Route since its creation.

The rise of the Jumbo Run

Since then, these motorcycling events, showing solidarity with the world of disabled people, have continued to multiply on an international scale, even taking place in the USA.

These days, there are hundreds of Jumbo events in various countries around the world, where sidecar riders from all walks of life are happy to put in the miles on their three-wheeled machines to take part.

I hope that today's overview of the Jumbo Run will inspire some of you to come and share your anecdotes and memories of the meeting here on this website.

Jean-Francois Helias

 

There are lots of Jumbo Run badges on our Run Badges page.