Ride 2 Recovery riders are greeted as they arrive in Milwaukee. Photo by Tom Strattman

Riding toward recovery

About 50 cyclists - veterans and servicemembers - arrived in Milwaukee Aug. 28 at The American Legion National Convention, completing a six-day, 426-mile journey from Minneapolis. The cyclists are part of the national Ride 2 Recovery program that helps veterans overcome their wounds and inspire others to do the same.

"This kind of event does tremendous things for the mental and physical rehabilitation of the wounded warriors," said John Wordin, founder and president of Ride 2 Recovery. "Whatever kind of injury they may have - amputations, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, PTSD - cycling helps them to recover.

"Events like this create such a bond and camaraderie - it's a great group therapy session."

The American Legion lends plenty of help for Ride 2 Recovery events, Wordin said. "The Legion Riders provide motorcycle escorts, dinners are hosted by Legion posts, and the Legion Auxiliary volunteers to help at the rest stops.

"There's a lot of different things in terms of organizing these events that The American Legion plays a great part in. We couldn't do it without them," he said.

Wordin started Ride 2 Recovery in 2007 after working with the VA medical center in Palo Alto, Calif., to develop cycling programs for wounded veterans.