Injured veterans from the Vietnam-era to the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began pedaling from Minneapolis on yesterday astride a variety of specially adapted hand cycles, recumbent bicycles and traditional road bikes. By week's end, the cyclist will have completed a 270-mile trek throught the North Star State.
"The Ride 2 Recovery Great Lakes Challenge helps support important health programs for the men and women who serve our country," said Forrest Burke, CEO of the event's primary sponsor, UnitedHealthcare. "Ride 2 Recovery enables injured service men and women to regain their physical, emotional and spiritual strength as they recover from the visible and invisible scars from their time served overseas."
John Wordin, president and founder of Ride 2 Recovery, added, "As they rebuild strength and conditioning, they are also healing the effects of post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and depression. Cycling is a powerful therapeutic exercise that they can continue to do for the rest of their lives."
As the trip got under way Tuesday,the cyclists road from Minneapolis to Red Wing and today they travel to Rochester and the Mayo Clinic. Thursday they head to Northfield and Friday they will visit UnitedHealthcare's corporate headquarters in Minnetonka. And Saturday afternoon the pedaling warriors will arrive at The American Legion National Convention in downtown Minneapolis where Legionnaires will be welcoming them to a receptionfrom 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. in The Minneapolis Convention Center, Hall E. Speakers will include Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster and Auxiliary President Carlene Ashworth.
"We encourage people to line Grant Street as the cyclists enter the facility in order to show support for the veterans who were there for our nation," said Jacob Gadd, deputy director of the Legion's Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division. "We hope all who can will join us in recognizing the brave servicemembers who have refused to give up in the face of adversity."
The Ride 2 Recovery cyclists will remain in the Twin Cities overnight, where they will particpate in the Legion's downtown parade Sunday afternoon.