People have many different reasons for undertaking a challenge such as Ride to the Somme. Here are just two people sharing …
Ride to the Somme
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is the UK’s oldest national tri-service charity and at the outbreak of World War One, the Government called on it to take care of the families of the Armed Forces going to the Front. Ride to the Somme is a fundraising event with money raised helping servicemen and women, veterans and their families in need following present day conflicts.Click to learn more
What is the Ride to the Somme?
Battle of The Somme
The Allies plan a major offensive and after heavy artillery pound the German lines on the 1st July 1916 the Allies go “over the top”. On the first day of the Battle of The Somme the British Army suffered 60,000 casualties. By the November the Allies had advanced 5 miles with one million men from both sides killed or injured.
At the the outbreak of World War I the British Army was considerably smaller than other armies across Europe. It was supplemented by a Territorial Force of part time soldiers and included 15 Cycling Battalions. After suffering heavy casualties at The Battle of Mons in 1914 the British Army started recruiting a larger force.
Army Cycling Corps
The Army Cycling Corps was founded in 1914. The bicycle in World War I was deployed at the front line involved in the movement of men, reconnaissance and communications whilst at home cyclists were recruited for coastal defence work. In January 1916 the volunteer army needs reinforcements and conscription is introduced.
Ride to the Somme will commemorate the cycling soldiers that fought and fell during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 as we ride 250 miles over 3 days. The Ride will commence on Wednesday 31st August and will culminate at The Thiepval Memorial, The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, which marks the 72,195 British and African soldiers with no known grave, on Saturday 3rd September.
When you enlist for the ride you will be asked to select a battalion that you wish to represent. We will visit a number of cemeteries which have graves of soldiers from the Army Cycling Corps before reaching Thiepval. We are keen to hear the stories from rider’s family histories and if possible will incorporate areas where they fought on the route.
We believe that not only will this be a fantastic cycling event but it will be an appropriate way to pay respects to those cyclists from 100 years ago who volunteered for their Country and made the ultimate sacrifice. As part of our team we will have an historian on the ride.