At 6 o’clock the alarm goes off: no usual time for a Sunday. Get up quickly to leave for the province of Zeeland to participate in the Ride for the Roses. I am taking part in the exceptional cycle tour for the fifth time and realise that it is going to be a day full of emotions.
by Harm Custers, Head of Marketing at Takii Europe
The Ride for the Roses is a cycling tour for the battle against cancer. Participants raise money through cycling a route for the Dutch Cancer Society (DCS). The DCS is determined to beat cancer as soon as possible. They fund and guide scientific research, influence policy and share their knowledge about cancer and its treatment.
Just before the start, we all listen to the song “The Rose” made famous by Bette Midler. Everyone takes a moment to dwell on the reason that we are cycling for a cause. Goosebumps; because all 7000(!) participants fall silent. Lump in the throat; because it touches so many participants. Powerful; because you can turn the helplessness against this disease into a strength through cycling.
And then the start of the most massive contiguous cyclist peloton in Europe. For a moment, you feel like a professional cyclist as public roads are closed for the occasion and (thanks to hundreds of volunteers) the perfect organisation. You cycle on highways and local roads, through cities, villages or the countryside, over dikes, bridges and in low-lying polders. And everywhere supporters along the side who cheer you on and encourage you. Even marching bands that whip you up!
Along the way, many conversations with Takii team colleagues. But also casual talks with fellow cyclists. The aches and pains all disappear as you realise that with this ride, you contribute to the fight against cancer.
The tour ends 110 km and 4 ½ hours later; feeling a bit tired but above all proud and satisfied. At the finish line, we all receive a red rose that symbolises a new day – a future, for everyone. Together we have a nice meal and drink and therefore also celebrate life. Grateful for having completed this trip in reasonable condition and health, thinking of those who can no longer do this or those who are currently fighting cancer. Thank you Takii Europe for sponsoring our Takii Team. Thanks also for all relatives and friends who have sponsored the individual participants.
7000 Participants of this years’ Ride for the Roses raised more than 850,000 euros for the DCS. Next year there will be another ride in Assen, in the North of the Netherlands. I hope to participate again. It remains a fantastic experience and an emotional roller coaster.