Day 4 saw yet another early start for the GM Fundraising Poppy Ride cyclists. Setting out from their overnight stop in Calais they negotiated the busy roads around the Channel Port before taking the D215 South towards Ardres.
The flat terrain was a welcome relief after the previous day’s climbs and descents and the team made great progress, lunching in Béthune, where they posed for selfies with a bust of the late French President, Francois Mitterrand.
After lunch the riders cycled 13 miles south on the D937 pausing at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, near Souchez, to pay their respects. Caberet Rouge was a small, red-bricked, red-tiled café that had stood close to the site of the cemetery in the early days of the First World War.
The café was destroyed by shellfire in March 1915 but it gave its unusual name to this sector and to a communication trench that led troops up the front-line. Commonwealth soldiers began burying their fallen comrades here in March 1916.
The many rows of graves served to remind the team of the enormous cost of First World War and the final few miles to Arras were quiet.With the culmination of the ride ahead of us, it is fair to say we are each very proud of getting this far and are looking ahead to what will no doubt be a very special day for us all tomorrow.