The 2015 Wounded Warriors Canada Battlefield Bike Ride (BBR15) will begin where our inaugural and inspiring Battlefield Bike Ride this past summer ended, at the iconic Vimy Ridge Memorial. Departing Vimy, the ride heads north, following the footsteps of Canadian WWI troops, crossing into Belgium and its historic Flanders Fields.
We will visit the sites of historic Canadian battles, including Passchendaele and Ypres, where we will arrive to attend the moving Last Post ceremony at the stunning Menin Gate, played as it has been continuously since its opening in 1928. Leaving Ypres we continue on north to the storybook city of Bruges, arguably one of Europe’s most picturesque cities, and site of major Canadian operations during WWII.
From Bruges, the ride’s focus shifts to WWII and the major role played by Canadians on the path to Victory in Europe as the world marks the 70th Anniversary of VE Day and the Liberation of the Netherlands. Stops include the Canadian war cemetery in Adegem, and the For Freedom Museum in Knokke-Heist, established by locals to honour their Canadian liberators. A brief ferry ride deposits us on the infamous Scheldt estuary, ground liberated by Canadians as we recall Operation Switchback. We will trace their march, passing through the Canadian War Cemetray in Bergen Op Zoom, through s’Hertogenbosch, and will culminate the tour in Nijmegen at Groesbeek cemetery in Holland.
We are honoured that our National Patron, LGen (Ret’d) Roméo Dallaire, will be joining us on this journey and are excited to invite you to take part in an experience of a life time. Together, moved by history, we will be supporting the outstanding programs of Wounded Warriors Canada as we continue to do our part to Honour the Fallen and Help the Living.
Todd McGowan is your Operations Manager for BBR15. 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.
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!