Early this morning I drove southeast onto the rolling plains of Peyton, Colorado. The land was in sharp contrast to the mountainous terrain I had explored last week. There on the prairies of Colorado, I found a group of wounded warriors and their support team who had come together from across the nation to ride bikes.
Forty-seven soldiers who had served, or continue to serve, our country were gathering for a bike ride as part of the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride. The riders share the common experience of war wounds both physical and mental. They also share the love of cycling. These men and women have found freedom and camaraderie on two (or three) wheels.
|WWP Soldier Ride Trek Bikes lined up and ready to go|
There was a clear attachment to the bikes - half the recumbent bikes were privately owned with the others purchased by the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Except for a few private bikes, the upright bikes were all donated by Trek Bicycles and widely adjustable to each cyclist's needs. All the bikes are transported in large U-Haul trucks and fit specifically to each rider prior to the ride.
|Unloading the U-Haul truck and getting the gear ready to ride|
|Morning group warmup at the WWP Soldier Ride|
|What a great group of people|
|Soldier Riders ready to ride|
|Another WWP ride takes off down the road with full police escort|
|Soldier Riders on uprights and recumbents riding together|
This is Dan's 4th year on the ride, he happily completes two rides a year. He told me he used to be 80 pounds heavier, which I never would have guessed. The first three years, Dan rode an upright, but he said his balance is worsening as his legs are losing more strength, so he was fit on a recumbent this year and likes it. It takes a bit to learn the steering he said, but it is safer for him and still lots of fun. Dan will be back again next year.
|Dan Curran, age 27, a 4th year alumni of the Wounded Warrior Project|
|The Wounded Soldier Project jersey. Every rider wears one.|
|WWP Trek bike. Each upright and recumbent bike is fit considering the individual rider's injuries.|
|Soldier Ride will be coming to a town near you.|
|Out on the road together having fun|
Soldier Ride® began in 2004 when civilian Chris Carney cycled more than 5,000 miles coast-to-coast in support of WWP. In 2005, Carney again cycled coast-to coast, this time with several combat-wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldier Ride is a physical health & wellness program of WWP, which envisions a generation of wounded veterans well-adjusted in body, receiving the care they need to maximize rehabilitation and live active and healthy lives. Through peer support, adaptive sports, health, nutrition, and recreational activities, WWP helps warriors achieve independence and pursue an excellent quality of life.
soldierride.org or woundedwarriorproject.org