NEWBURY PARK, CA (BRAIN)—On Sunday, May 25, a team of bicyclists rode a victory lap around Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina, just before the start of the Coca Cola 600. They had completed a week long ride that began at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington DC.
Most of the riders were military veterans wounded in the line of duty in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Their triumph circuit around the Speedway marked the finish of the first Road 2 Recovery East Coast ride in which dozens of injured troops pedaled along with celebrities, athletes and elected officials for 480 miles over six days. Road 2 Recovery (R2R) is a program of the Fitness Challenge Foundation with the goal to raise money to support Spinning and outdoor cycling programs at military and VA locations around the U.S. to help injured veterans overcome obstacles they face.
“Cycling is an important part of the recovery and rehabilitation program for two reasons,” said John Wordin, executive director of Road 2 Recovery and an ex-Marine and former pro cyclist who organized the inaugural ride. “First, it’s an activity in which almost all patients with mental and physical disabilities can participate. And, second, participation in the Road 2 Recovery program helps speed the recovery and rehabilitation process.”
Giant Bicycle has partnered with the Road 2 Recovery and is the Official Road Bike of the R2R program. “Giant supplied bikes for vets riding in this event,” said Elysa Walk, general manager of Giant Bicycle. “And we’ll be working with our retail network to get more bikes under more recovering troops. Road 2 Recovery has proven that riding a bike can be a big part of their rehabilitation.”
Capt. Ferris Butler (pictured) was one of the veterans taking part in the first R2R event. He lost his left leg and much of his right foot to injuries suffered in the Iraq War. But a month later, he was fitted with a carbon-fiber prosthetic limb and training on a bicycle for this ride. He was turning a crank with his new leg before he could walk.
"This trip is not so much about having fun, as it is about transforming your new body with something you can work with for the rest of your life," said Capt. Butler,
A Road 2 Recovery West Coast ride begins September 28 and rolls from San Francisco to Los Angeles over seven days. All riders are invited to join by signing up at www.road2recovery.us.com. And a National “Salute Our Vets” one-day event will occur on Saturday, November 8, in conjunction with Veterans Day. The goal is to get one million people around the United States on their bikes outside (or on trainers indoors) to raise money and support cycling-based rehabilitation for veterans Events are being planned for IHRSA-member health clubs and Giant Bicycle retailers across the country.
Video highlights of the first Road 2 Recovery East Coast can be seen if you click on link.