Following of the outstanding experiences of the Wounded Warriors Canada Battlefield Bike Rides in 2014 and 2015, the Wounded Warriors Canada Battlefield Bike Ride 2016 (BBR16): “The Italian Campaign” will build on the experiences of our previous rides and promises an awe inspiring trip celebrating and reflecting on Canada’s considerable contributions to the Italian Campaign in WW2. Our journey will allow us to bask in the natural beauty of Italy’s Adriatic Coast while savoring the hospitality and cuisine of the Italian people.
Your journey begins with your arrival in Bologna a location slightly north west of the cycling route of BBR16. The ride begins in historic Ravenna where Julius Caesar gathered his forces before crossing the Rubicon. As we move towards the coast we will enter Rimini, the Northern Allied objective in 1943 and the famed Gothic line. Canadian service in Italy would end in this area in February 1945. In many ways, Italy is where victory in Europe began. Those brave souls of the Allied armies who fought with such courage were far from the infamous and unwise label of being “D-Day Dodgers.” In Italy, Canada more than pulled her weight in the road to liberation and ultimate victory!
Prior to landing on the mainland across the Strait of Messina the Canadians had already shown their resolve having fought through more kilometers than any other formation in the Eighth Army ending the rule of Mussolini. Stops will take us to places like a WW2 Bailey Bridge near Servia over the Savio River near where, on the night of 21/22 October 1944, “Smokey” Smith actions would see him awarded the Victoria Cross. “Smokey” until his death in 2005 was Canada’s last surviving VC recipient.
Travelling along the coastline we will arrive in Ortona. It was in the days surrounding Christmas Day 1943 in the rubble of Ortona, in what one reporter called the “Courtyard of Hell”, where Canadians fought their most famous battle during the campaign. Ortona, the “Italian Stalingrad”, site of some of the fiercest and most fighting in WW2 is a major objective of our cycling route as we “Honour the Fallen” at the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery.
Famous sites in the Moro and Liri Valleys await as we travel towards the town of Cassino, our cycling Objective on BBR16. Sites such as the mighty bastion of Monte Cassino await as we transport you west to Rome “The Eternal City”, the ancient centre of the Empire and a major strategic, political and psychological allied objective in WWII.
Together we will continue the Mission of Wounded Warriors Canada to “Honour the Fallen, Help the Living”.
Meet Matt Barlee, Your Magic Places Tour Provider
Combining his loves for adventure, travel, and cycling, Matt is truly living his passion through his company, Magic Places Cycling Adventures. During his 24-year career as a Canadian Air Force officer, his varied roles included hunting submarines under the Arctic icepack, Oceanographer for Canada's West Coast fleet, and the Canadian Forces Liaison for the 2010 Olympic Games. During this time, Matt always managed to find time for his pursuit of adventure, from climbing Himalayan peaks to racing bikes on Canada's national team.
Upon retirement from the Forces, Matt dove headlong into entrepreneurship under the mentorship of business mogul Peter Thomas, developing business franchises and directing real estate developments, until the day that he went on his first bike tour with Magic Places. It was then that he found the perfect synthesis of business and passion, and over two years, he partnered with and then purchased the company. Now, he describes his job as "riding my bike in the world's most beautiful spots with a bunch of really cool people." As Magic Places' logo states: What a way to see the world!
Meet Todd McGowan, WWC BBR16 Operations Manager
Todd McGowan is your Operations Manager for BBR16. He is a retired Army Chief Warrant Officer with 27 years of Canadian Forces Service. He completed tours in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait/Iraq, Croatia, Bosnia, Germany, Afghanistan, Turkey and sailed with HMCS Ottawa and was skydiver with the SkyHawks parachute team.
Todd is also an avid cyclist with extensive experience of European bike touring. He is also a Wounded Warrior himself and a graduate of our sponsored Veterans Transition Program for PTSD veterans.
Photos from 2015 Battlefield Bike Ride - Liberation of the Netherlands
Visit the Battlefield Bike Ride facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wwcbbr.
Ride Comments, Questions?
Contact Todd McGowan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet Glen Innes, WWC BBR16 Ride Director
Glen is the Ontario Territory Manager for Cervélo. In 2012, he got involved with Wounded Warriors Canada to support their very first Battlefield Bike Ride. That year he had the life-changing experience of riding through the north of France with a group of Canadian Service Men and listening to their stories. It was these stories that inspired Glen’s drive to give more. Glen returned to Canada with a deep and profound sense of admiration for our Canadian Armed Forces members and what they go through doing their jobs. Ever since, Glen has paired his passion and admiration for cycling and fitness, and the many benefits it provides for both physical and mental health, in support of Wounded Warriors Canada’s annual Battlefield Bike Rides. The 2016 Battlefield Bike Ride — the Italian Campaign — will be his fourth event.