Battlefield Bike Ride returns to action

Peter Mallett 
Staff Writer

After a three-year hiatus, the wheels of Wounded Warriors Canada’s Battlefield Bike Ride rolled into motion again.

From June 13 to 17, a team of 50 cyclists from Canada embarked on a nearly 400-kilometre cycling journey in France. Their mission: to visit some of the most famous battle sites, monuments, and cemeteries commemorating the final 100 days of the First World War on the Western Front.

“Visiting those memorials and seeing rows upon rows of headstones was incredibly moving. I had the honour to play Last Post on my post horn while we remembered these young men who made the ultimate sacrifice,” says a former musician with the Naden Band and current performer with the Vancouver Island Symphony Ordinary Seaman (Retired) Karen Hough.

The annual Battlefield Bike Ride combines cycling with Canadian military history under the mantra ‘Honour the Fallen and Help the Living’. Over 750 cyclists have participated in Battle Field Bike Ride since 2014. The event has fundraised over $3 million in support of the charity’s national mental health programs benefiting injured and ill veterans, and first responders and their families.

Karen Hough, former musician with the Naden Band, plays Last Post at Beaumont-Hamel. Photo supplied.

This was Hough’s third Battlefield Bike Ride. She previously participated in Battlefield Bike Rides in 2018 in Bosnia and Croatia and 2019 in France for the 75th Anniversary of Juno Beach and D-Day.

She says the most significant experience during the ride was seeing the many military cemeteries where Canadian soldiers were laid to rest. Her grandfather, Private John William Hough, enlisted in the Canadian Field Ambulance in Victoria in 1916 and served at Vimy Ridge.

“Of the inscriptions on their gravestones that got to me the most were the anonymous ones engraved: ‘A soldier of the Great War, known unto God’,” Hough says.

This year’s Battlefield Bike Ride covered distances from 50 to 90 kilometres each day. The battlefields and monuments the riders visited marked a milestone in the Canadian Corps historic progress from Amiens, France, to Mons, Belgium from Aug. 8 – Nov. 11, 1918.


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