Once again the sun was out to greet the Big Battlefield Bike Ride riders setting off from Mons this morning, although they also had a welcome layer of cloud cover helping to keep down the body temperatures! 14 miles through Mons town and suburbs (this time minus the police escort) and then the riders were out in the quiet villages once more and ready for the first water stop. Everyone was in good spirits (despite a few people nursing headaches from one or two fizzy pops too many the night before!) and raring to hit the road.
From there, the riders had a relatively flat 20 miles until lunch, where as well as lots of yummy carbohydrates, they were treated to speeches from some of the wounded riders. Josh Boggi told the 250 fundraisers how on New Year’s Eve 2010 he stood on an improvised explosive device and lost three of his limbs. He went on to say how the care he received meant he was back in the UK in hospital within 24 hours, which effectively saved his life. Then one of our Canadian riders, representing "Soldier On", spoke to us about her injuries, her recovery journey and how honoured she felt to ride alongside her British, French and Australian comrades.
After lunch the sun suddenly decided to do a runner and was replaced with torrential rain. Despite having to hastily trade in suncream for waterproofs, moods were not dampened (excuse the pun) and soon enough the sunny attitudes managed to ACTUALLY change the weather and the rain cleared off again!
At 56 miles into the day riders compared notes about who got the most soaked during the downpour. With just a few miles and two guided battlefield stops left everyone was keen to get off quickly and they stopped off at Monchy-le-Preux to hear about how the Newfoundland regiment saved a difficult situation during the Battle of Arras in 1917 and then the Orange Trench Cemetery.
The final and most emotional calling port of the day was Arras Memorial to the Missing. After 70 miles in the saddle the group stopped here for a ceremony lead by our pedalling padre Roger and laying of wreaths. Remembering those who gave their today so that we could have a tomorrow.
You can support our BBBR riders by texting 'RIDE' to 70900 to donate £5. You will be charged £5 plus your standard network rate. £5 goes directly to Help for Heroes. Telephone help line number is 01494 750 500.
Find out more about hero ride at www.heroride.org.uk