This blog post is from an article originally published by the Orange County Register, August 4th, 2013
BY RYAH COOLEY / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Donny Savard’s face lit up as he looked around at the more than 300 riders and all the different bicycles at the start of the Honor Ride at the A Road Bike 4U shop in Irvine on Saturday.
“There are some cool bikes here,” Savard said. “Look at that.”
He pointed to a tandem bike for two and an outdoor elliptical bike, where the rider stands up to pedal.
Savard, of Laguna Nigel, said he hasn’t ridden a traditional road bike in four or five years. He is in a wheelchair due to injuries he suffered in the Iraq War while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Thanks to funds raised at the honor ride put on by Ride 2 Recovery and A Road Bike 4U on Saturday, Savard will soon have a bike of his own. The Top End Force RX bike will allow him to lie down and pedal the bike with his hands.
Savard said it felt amazing to have so many people come out and support him.
“I’m like one in a million,” Savard said. “This is an opportunity I never would have expected.”
Linda Glassell, the national director of Honor Rides for Ride 2 Recovery, said the organization is a nonprofit that uses cycling as a means of rehabilitation for healing heroes like Savard. She said the Top End Force RX bike they’re getting Savard is valued at $5,000.
After the event, Glassell said they raised more than $20,000, primarily from registration fees. Glassell said some riders also chose to raise funds on their own and they held a raffle the day of the ride with a Giant road bike as the grand prize. The remainder of the funds will go to Ride 2 Recovery’s rehabilitation programs.
Bruce Marshall, owner of A Road Bike 4U, said he partnered with Ride 2 Recovery because he wanted to give back to the community. Helping veterans also is important to Marshall, whose grandfather, a World War II veteran who died 15 years ago, lost his arm in combat.
Marshall saw how much playing golf helped his grandfather during his recovery, so he was excited when he found out about Ride 2 Recovery using cycling to help veterans.
“I always thought that wounded vets didn’t get enough appreciation,” Marshall said. “To think that I could help veterans who have put so much on the line… It’s just a small thing to do.”
Marshall said he hopes to make the honor ride an annual event.
Participants chose between a 25- and 60-mile loop, which both started and ended at Road Bike 4U and went through the GreatPark. Riders paid $35 to pre-register or $45 for same-day registration.
Jules Shobert lives in Covina and works in Costa Mesa. The honor ride for Savard was only her third time on a road bike so she chose to do the 25-mile loop.
“I think it’s great,” Shobert said of the event. “The half-marathons I do are all associated with charities that I support.”
Prior to the start of the ride, Savard said he wasn’t sure if he would do the 25- or 60-mile loop. He was provided a hand-powered bicycle for Saturday’s ride.
“It’s all going to depend on how comfortable I feel,” Savard said. “I’m just going to keep going till I waste out. I have a tendency to over do it.”
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