People have many different reasons for undertaking a challenge such as Ride to the Somme. Here are some of the rider stories …
Join Ride to the Somme 2017
Passchendaele and Arras
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 Passchendaele
After the huge losses in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme fighting continued for a further 2 years. In 1917 the major offensive moved further north to Flanders. Early in the year a major offensive was successful in pushing German lines back from Arras but at the end of the Battle of Passchendale only a small amount of ground gained. Combined the offensives came at the cost of over 400,000 Allied casualties.
At the the outbreak of The Great War 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 Cyclist Corps
The Army Cyclist 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 2017 will commemorate the cycling soldiers that fought and fell along the Western Front. The Ride will commence on Wednesday 30 August and will culminate at The Tyne Cot Memorial on Saturday 2 September. En route we will visit Arras and The Somme visiting some of the most important battlefield sites of The Great War. Riders will have an option of riding either approximately 50 or 80 miles per day.
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 Cyclist 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.