The beauty of cycling is that, instead of the countryside just flying by, you can engage with it and listen to it’s stories.

That was - The Lyon to Lincoln Challenge

During July 2018 I rode my bike from the Military Cemetary in Lyon via, military graves in Letra, monuments to Nazi atrocities throughout France, past statues of great leaders, the concrete of old runways, railway stations where airmen escaped from passing trains, the beaches of Dunkirk, old aircraft factories, museums to ancient squadrons, sites long forgotten, working RAF bases and ultimately the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire.

En route I met and spoke to many people, spoke of my project and heard their stories, these were ordinary peoples but each a hero in their own way.

Whereas I am just a bloke on a bike and in the course of those 17 days and 2000 km I found out so much information.

Naively I had thought I would just update this blog each day and upon returning home life would return to normal. But, while many questions were answered, now I have more questions.

So, I ask that you are patient whilst you wait for the full results and stories of my adventure which I will publish in full.

Watch this space…

Lyon to Lincoln

The Pathfinder Rides.

In July 2018, I rode my bike 1700km from Lyon, France, to Lincoln, UK.
I found out that in July 1944, a De Haviland Mosquito crashed in the hills above where I have made my home in France. The pilot and navigator lost their lives.
As the local community laid the 2 airmen to rest in a cemetery in Letra, in less than 10 months, the war in Europe would be over.
There was, however, so much more to this story, so much not known and so much forgotten. FO’s Flaherty and Christie, who now rest in the CWG in Letra, were 2 of over 75 000 aircrew who were killed, wounded or taken prisoner during those dark days.
My ride from Lyon to Lincoln was a voyage of discovery from where they died to the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln.

The Pathfinder Rides are an invitation to you to undertake your own voyage of discovery and, in so doing, put names to the places and history to the names. Lest we forget.

So watch this space for more information – but in the meantime, make sure you pencil in the weekend of 23rd / 24th July 2022.

In July 1944 a Mosquito light bomber crashed in the hills above Ternaud. The local resistance organised a funeral for the two unfortunate airmen. Hundreds of people attended, at considerable personal risk. They remain in the commonwealth war grave in the village of Letra.

In April 1944 a B24 Liberator crashed near St Cyr de Valorges near Tarare. Their fated mission was to resupply the local resistance. 5 of the crew died, one broke his back and two escaped to Spain.

On 6 February 1943, a Lancaster Bomber, en route to Turin, crashed high in the hills above Valsonne. 4 young aviators died and 4 finished the war as prisoners of war.

This post is also available in: frFrançais

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