For the past three years we have commemorated the Cycling Soldiers of The Great War. Here are some of the stories from our Riders.
I decided to do the ride in honour of my Granddad and one of his brothers William Dutton, who sadly didn’t return. They were both cyclists in the 2nd Life Guards.
What I experienced over the 5 days was a physical and emotional rollercoaster of a Ride. I had prepared myself physically, but nothing can prepare you mentally, for these places. To be able to ride and see these incredible monuments and cemeteries with tens of thousands of names of very brave men on them, quite literally took my breath away and put a lump in my throat.
Superb food, amazing people to ride with and great teamwork! “One of the most incredible journeys of my entire life“. Thank you so much.” – Simon Ellison
What great people I have cycled with. Friendships have been created that I know will continue.
I will never forget being given the honour of helping to lay the wreath at Thiepval, I was just in tears.
Riding into Ypres, bells ringing and last of all everyone together going up that last hill to Tyne Cot, off our bikes for the last time that was such just an overwhelming experience.” – Kathy Munslow
Not being a cyclist and never having done any cycling events before, never mind one on this scale, I did wonder why on earth I had signed up to a challenge that seemed to be the impossible. As the date got nearer and nearer my nerves started to get worse…..am I going to finish, what if I get injured, what if others laugh at me, what will happen if my sponsors are disappointed in me, were all questions that were going around in my head.
Having completed the ride in 2017, I can definitely tell you why I signed up and the answers to all the questions;
I signed up because this amazing charity does amazing work and needs vital funds to continue. The ride not only supports this work but it also honours those who they are helping in a way that you cannot describe. The route and the historical places you visit really brings it home. The ride caters for all abilities and supports everyone no matter what. Yes people laughed at me and with me but not because I am a rubbish cyclist it’s because we had great fun on the way and motivated each other. I had the most immense experience with the greatest of people (organisers and riders)…….what are you waiting for….sign up now. You will NOT regret it!!!” – Rachael Hart
Here are some of the rider stories from the 2016 Ride.
I began cycling back in March 2016 at the time I was suffering from severe depression following the sudden death of my father.
I saw the Ride to the Somme advertised and noticed that the final day’s ride was on Sept 3 which was the first anniversary of me burying my father and I couldn’t think of a better thing to do in his memory.
I thought it would be a case of jumping on your bike and riding but I was wrong – this was far more than a ride. I have never felt so much compassion from and for people that I have literally just met, from the emotional support to the physical support plus the logistical support, it it really was a life changer for me and I will never forget the people that I met on this journey.” – Julie Porter
An unforgettable experience for cyclists of all abilities.
An emotional and memorable journey to the Somme superbly organised and supported every mile of the journey.
If there is one challenge you set yourself in your life then ride to the Somme.
You will find friends for life and be able to pay your utmost respect to the fallen in the Great War.” – Dave Bickel
Riding to the Somme was one of the most amazing things I have achieved. Having been a keen cyclist for many years, finding a new challenge was never far from the agenda of pushing my limits.
I am an ex-serviceman and wanted to remember my great grandfather who fought on the Somme. The sense of being together through this physical and emotional few days was not only humbling but character building.
Visiting the resting places of the soldiers was an honour to pay respect to these brave men of The Great War. The experience was all the more meaningful to be with such special people.
This is an experience I will never forget. Thanks to all.” – Gaz Williams
What a challenge, what fun, what an experience and well worth the effort for such a worthwhile charity. It was an achievement I and some of the others thought beyond us, having never ridden much more than 50 miles in a day.
To me it was, at moments, “a bridge too far” but I/we did it and have huge pride in our success. The Ride to the Somme 2016 mixed cycling challenges and a wonderful and emotional trip to the Somme battlefields.
We all learnt a great deal and met some amazing and inspiring people, it was a memorable trip with highs and lows and is etched in all our memories.” – Ian Talbot
SSAFA is a charity close to my heart as a former Royal Marine, and I fancied a bit of a physical challenge so I signed up. The idea was that it would then force me to get out and train more and enjoy some time on the bike.
In this, I failed spectacularly. By the time we came to ride, the furthest I had ridden in a single day was 35 miles and that had been three months earlier. I was therefore ill at ease when the first day started, convinced I was going to struggle to do 80 miles a day for three consecutive days.
The fact that I not only made it to the end, but actually enjoyed the whole experience, is testimony to the superb organisation and running of the event, as well as the brilliant way in which the team captains managed all the riders on the road. Collectively, the spirit among all the riders was incredible.
I regard the Ride to the Somme as one of the highlights of my life. A real bucket list moment ticked off. Many thanks to everyone that was involved.” – Chris Paton