Sunday, September 29, 2013

Strictly Bicycles Helps Ride 2 Recovery Continue 440-Mile Trek

Story by Max Almenas  Photos Courtesy of Ride 2 Recovery

Thousands of cyclists traverse the George Washington Bridge on a daily basis, but last week veterans from Ride 2 Recovery crossed over from Fort Lee to New York City to continue their six-day, 440-mile ride from Boston to Philadelphia during their annual Minutemen Challenge.

Ride 2 Recovery utilizes the sport of cycling as the key method to rehabilitate veterans who have lost limbs or suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other injuries.

When Scott Moro, Chief Engineer and Equipment Director for Ride 2 Recovery, stopped at Strictly Bicycles to get a bike computer repaired for a quadruple amputee, he explained how he and his wife helped founder John Wordin get Ride 2 Recovery on the road. 

“We used to run a professional cycling team called Mercury Cycling and we applied what we know towards creating a cycling program to help the mental and physical rehabilitation of these veterans,” said Moro. “We don’t just teach them how to ride – we teach them how to ride in a group.”

Once cyclists learn to ride in a group, they enter the next level of the program – peer to peer therapy, where they discuss the difficulties of physical and mental recovery, loss of friends during combat, and transitioning back into civilian lifestyle.

“Now they [veterans] can talk to someone else who’s been through the same thing in an atmosphere where they’re exercising, having fun, and they can let their guard down,” Moro explained. “It also gets them off their meds [medications]. The goal is not to get them off their meds – it’s just one of those things that happen. It helps them heal. It changes their lives.”

The multiple city ride included stops at the Empty Sky 9/11 memorial in Liberty State Park in Jersey City and the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center in New York City where veterans paid their respects.

In addition to the Minutemen Challenge and other multi-day events, Ride 2 Recovery employs hundreds of retired veterans who worked as bike mechanics before joining the military, and trains them to apply the Ride 2 Recovery rehabilitation methods at military bases nationwide.

“Their experience with bike repair combined with their understanding of the physical and mental benefits of cycling make them the perfect conduit for our programs,” Moro added.

Ride 2 Recovery also organizes one day events designed to raise funds to help support the organization.         

A week after the Minutemen Challenge, several members of Ride 2 Recovery joined bicycle industry organizations and bike shop owners such as Nelson and Joanna Gutierrez of Strictly Bicycles at the 2013 Interbike convention in Las Vegas.

Through the “Interbike by Invitation” program, which allows registered retail bike shops to invite their most loyal customers to the final show day at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Race 2 Recovery was able to attend for the first time.

Interbike, the largest bicycle industry trade show in North America, partnered with Ride 2 Recovery on the new 25-mile Ride 2 Recovery/Interbike Honor Ride at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center where veterans, troops and all attendees were invited to ride to the OutDoor Demo site in Boulder City, Nevada.

Next stop? The California Challenge, where veterans will cycle down the scenic Highway 1 while enjoying stunning views of the Pacific Coast through cities such as Carmel, Big Sur, San Simeon, Pismo Beach, Solvang and Ventura. The ride will leave Palo Alto and will finish at the Santa Monica Pier.

Ride 2 Recovery is produced by the Fitness Challenge, a (501C3) in partnership with the Military and VA Volunteer Service Office to benefit mental and physical rehabilitation programs for our country’s wounded veterans and healing heroes that features cycling as the core activity.

Held in partnership with the Fitness Challenge Foundation, R2R raises money to support cycling programs at military and VA locations around the U.S. to help healing heroes overcome obstacles they face.

Cycling is important part of the recovery process because it’s an activity that everyone can do, no matter the disability and cycling helps speed up the recovery process.

To learn more about Ride 2 Recovery, click here.

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