What does the number 50 have to do with cycling, recovering veterans, and changing people’s lives?
A lot – especially for those who participated in Ride 2 Recovery’s 50th Memorial Challenge.
What is the Memorial Challenge?
A multi-day bicycle ride, May 30th through June 4th,where 150 riders bike from Washington DC to Virginia Beach. It’s a rehabilitation program for our Healing Heroes, fully supported by the title sponsor, UnitedHealthcare.
What is Ride 2 Recovery?
Its mission is to improve the health and wellness of our Healing Heroes© worldwide by providing a life-changing experience that can impact their lives forever, with cycling as its core activity.
What truly separates Ride 2 Recovery from other veteran cycling programs is the adaptation and modification of bicycles and the ability to create one-of-a-kind, specialty bikes from the ground up. “With a nationwide team of mechanics and engineers, we can create customized bikes with unique frame designs required for amputees or those suffering from paralysis,” says Kristen Beck, Ride 2 Recovery’s Community Outreach & Activations.
Ride 2 Recovery is unique amongst other veteran programs, in that they include all ages and eras. And it’s not just wounded/injured veterans they serve. Law enforcement, first responders, and emergency personnel that were physically and/or mentally injured in the line of duty are also supported.
What Makes The Number 50 So Special For This Cycling Event?
This past Challenge was actually the 50th Ride 2 Recovery Challenge, making it a very special event for everyone. To make it even more special for the riders, there was a giveaway each day. To celebrate and reward the riders on day 1, at Mile 50, CustomOnIt donated zipper wristbands to everyone, something they could use throughout the week.
“This giveaway helped elevate the overall rider experience and the event as a whole. We’re so grateful to CustomOnIt for their generosity and support.”
What A Difference Ride 2 Recovery Has Made
Ride 2 Recovery has helped so many. For example, a regular of the program is Humberto Reyna. He was a North Carolina State Trooper who, on Nov. 23, 2009, was rear-ended and crushed by a hydroplaning car going 75mph. The impact caused traumatic brain injury; it is often difficult for him to cope in normal life situations. When trying to find a rehabilitation program for Humberto, his wife said, “There aren’t many organized activities for people like Humberto. With his hypersensitivities and thought-processing difficulties, he needs to do these activities with someone. Otherwise he might become distracted and get lost.”
“Little things can make a big difference. I know this won’t cure me, but it will give me a little relief. [Cycling] is therapeutic; if I wasn’t doing this, I’d be staying at home,” Humberto Reyna.
Donald Ennis, who was Honorably Discharged from the Coast Guard in 1998 and is now battling Parkinson’s Disease, has said, “Coming to the rides changed my life.”
“When I ride my bike, I feel relaxed,” said Juan Carlos Hernandez, a retired E-4/Specialist, Chinook Gunner Crewman, U.S. Army, who lost his right leg when his aircraft was hit by a grenade. “Cycling helps me physically and mentally; it keeps my mind clear and aids my walking and quick recovery. I love the program and what it has done for me and my fellow veterans who are recovering.”
Ride 2 Recovery conducts five Challenge events in the US throughout the year, where they take 150 veterans through an all expenses paid, rehabilitative cycling program from city to city. The rides vary in length, elevation, and difficulty based on the location and time of year. The next event is the 9-11 Challenge in September and the California Challenge in October.
Want To Learn More About Ride 2 Recovery?
Ride 2 Recovery is a 501(c)3 and is supported by contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations. You can donate at www.ride2recovery.com or by texting RIDE to 41444. For more information, or to find out how you can get involved, please contact Kristen Beck | firstname.lastname@example.org | 818-888-7091
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