Riding for the Veritable Poppy Project

Let’s ride an SS1000 (1000 miles in 24 hours) to mark one of the events that left an eternal scar in our landscape; Operation Market Garden. An operation in September 1944 to push from Belgium to Arnhem to end the war before Christmas 1944. We know now where that led to….. A huge loss of fine men, a hunger winter in the Netherlands and Operation Veritable in Februari 1945.

In the area I call home we have many eternal resting places of the men who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Two of those dear places are the Milsbeek War Cemetery and the cemetery in Ottersum.

The Veritable Poppy Project

In February 2020 we remember it is 75 years ago that Gennep was liberated and the Milsbeek cemetery was created. My wife Bianca started the Veritable Poppy Project. The aim of this project is to create a Poppy (or lieveling/sweetheart) for every single soldier buried in our municipality and plant it on his grave on the 14th of February 2020, Valentines Day. The Poppies will be made by inhabitants of the municipality and any other who is interested. Every single Poppy will be made for a specific soldier. So who makes it, know who he/she is making it for. The Poppies will be made on the 2nd of November 2019, All Souls day. 

The Ride

To enable this project, I'd like to raise awareness by the best way I can. So Let’s ride! The planned date is 15th of September, weather permits. The 18th is the alternative date. The IBA and Long distance riding is all about safety, not about silliness.

The Poppy is of course the symbol for the fallen and the name giver of the analogy is John McCrae. We will visit John McCrae’s grave in Wimereaux, on his grave I will plant a Sweetheart for him. The ride will roughly follow the route along the battlefields of Market Garden. To make up for the 1000 miles, we cross the Netherlands, Belgium and France. The plan is to lay wreaths along the ride, I plan to lay them at Valkenswaard War Cemetery, Grave Maas Bridge, de Oversteek in Nijmegen and of course at the Brigde in Arnhem.

Sponsoring

There are a few things you can sponsor. You can sponsor a few Poppies/Sweethearts for this Veritable Poppy Project in Milsbeek and Ottersum. You can sponsor the Sweetheart for John McCrae’s grave. Also you can sponsor one of the wreaths.

You also may want to ride with me. That for certain is possible. Mind, it is not a walk in the park. 1650 km in 24 hours with all the needed and wanted stops does require some of you. Safety is priority number 1, fast riding is not my style. But when you have completed the ride, it will be one to remember for life.

When you ride with me, a donation as you see fit would be very much appreciated.