In less than three weeks, I will be riding along side veterans and supporters to raise awareness for the Ride 2 Recovery program. This offers our veterans an opportunity to work hard through their own healing process instead of taking a handout.
Ride 2 Recovery started in 2008 with a telephone call from a recreational therapist with the VA to John Wordin. This therapist thought cycling would be an alternative therapy to PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) as well as physical injury rehabilitation and thought John was the person to create the program they had in mind.
The first Ride 2 Recovery Challenge event was held with fourteen riders and no additional staff. By 2010, R2R held six Challenges across the US with an average of 170 participants per ride: the Texas Challenge – from San Antonio to Dallas; the Memorial Challenge – from Washington DC to Virginia Beach; the Rocky Mountain Challenge – from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Colorado Springs; The Great Lakes Challenge – from Minneapolis to Milwaukee; the Golden State Challenge – from San Francisco to Los Angeles; and the Florida Challenge – from Tampa to Jacksonville.
In 2011, R2R was up to seven Challenges per year (Texas, Memorial, Florida, Golden State, Great Lakes, and the 9/11 American Challenge which began in the shadows of Ground Zero on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and rode through Shanksville, PA, finishing at the Pentagon). The seventh Challenge of 2011 introduced our first Challenge in Europe, The Normandy Challenge, which traced the steps of D-Day and subsequent battles.
In 2012, R2R took 147 riders through Belgium and Luxembourg to ride the Battle of the Bulge Challenge in addition to Texas, Memorial, and Golden State, added the new Gulf Coast Challenge – New Orleans to Tallahassee; the new Minuteman Challenge – Boston to New York; and the new Bluegrass Challenge – Cincinnati to Nashville. Challenges are limited to 200 participants. Now, each one sells out early and has a lengthy waiting list, attesting to the power of the Ride 2 Recovery program.
I enjoy bicycling, and I enjoy my freedom even more. Last year I had the opportunity to watch the cyclists ride by as I cheered them on. This year I will be riding the full 65 miles through the countryside of Ohio.
If you can, please donate to this cause. No amount is too small. Your contribution is tax deductible and it is never too early to get that head start on next years deductions. I understand we all have groups we support, but if you can contribute any amount, it will be put to good use.
Thank you for reading this and if you choose to contribute, thank you for your generosity. Click this link to contribute to my personal page for the ride.