The Knights in White Lycra is a Tokyo-based all-inclusive amateur cycling team consisting of male & female cyclists of all ages, abilities and nationalities. Common among its members is a desire is to 'get fit & give back' by raising funds and awareness for community projects in Japan, specifically to improve the lives of disadvantaged and marginalized children. In only its 5th year, KIWL has raised over ¥35 million and holds fundraising events on and off the bike giving opportunities for adults and kids alike to contribute to their community.
The Knights in White Lycra was formed by British Expat Rob Williams and other compatriots in 2012, ''middle aged men in lycra'' (MAMIL's) needing to lose weight and get fit, and with a desire to give back to the community they called home. A karaoke session spawned the classic 60's hit ''Nights in White Satin'' and thus a cycling team name was born.
In April 2013, ten British men of varying plumpness rode 330kms to Minamisoma over 3 days to raise ¥2.7 million for the Save Minamisoma Project. For most participants, it was the furthest they had ever ridden. The massive sense of accomplishment, paired with the joy of meeting the people for whom they were raising money, and witnessing the tsunami-ravaged coastline, motivated the Knights to continue their exploits.
In May 2014, twenty cyclists including the first lady to participate, rode 500kms from Tokyo to Minamisanriku in Tohoku to raise ¥5.5 million for OGA for Aid. This built a small vegetable processing factory in the devastated town which to this day still functions as a business creating employment.
In the following year, 26 Knights from seven countries completed a 520km journey again to Minamisanriku to benefit OGA for Aid's ''Place to Grow'' project, raising ¥7.4 Million to educate local children in the agricultural industry. In the peleton was the Deputy Head of Mission to the British Embassy Julia Longbottom and three Japanese riders.
42 riders from 10 countries spanning four decades left Tokyo in May 2016 for a 530km journey to Ichinoseki in Iwate for the benefit of a newly chosen charity, Mirai no Mori www.mirai-no-mori.jp KIWL raised over ¥10 million in 2016, guaranteeing places for 20 abused, neglected and orphaned children in care, at MM’s multi-day summer camps for the next 3 years.
In May 2017, 40 cyclists lined up at Ueno Park to gain ride to Ichionoseki in support of Mirai no Mori.
The Knights in White Lycra have to date raised over ¥30 million for community projects in Japan but are determined to continue growing and helping more under-privileged children. In its 5th anniversary year, the Knights expect 40 riders to complete a 550km journey to Ichinoseki, again in support of Mirai no Mori, hoping to raise sufficient funds to send 25 kids to MM’s winter camps for the next 3 years. Please sponsor the riders, and come to our various events throughout the year to help us to our goal. Our fundraising events are sufficiently varied to cater to everyone, be they cyclists or not, ranging from Quiz Nights and Band Nights, to cycling, jogging and walking around the Imperial Palace.