From Chicago to Orange County, Ride 2 Recovery Helps Injured Veterans

Big Orange Classic Annual Ride 2 Recovery - Orange CountyLast weekend, Chicago area cyclists came out to support U.S. veterans at the Ride 2 Recovery Honor Ride in Barrington, Illinois. More than 300 riders — both veterans and their supporters — participated in the fifth annual Barrington Honor Ride and Run.

In just a couple of months, Ride 2 Recovery will come to Southern California. The Honor Ride in Orange County, now in it’s 3rd year and called The Big Orange Classic, will be taking place on Saturday, October 31st. Southern Californians, let’s show our veterans how much we appreciate their sacrifices by building on last year’s turnout of over 500 riders! Can we aim for 600, 700, or even 1,000 riders? Register and show your support today!

Produced by the Fitness Challenge Foundation, Ride 2 Recovery uses cycling-centered programs to help and support injured veterans, both physically and mentally. Every year, Honor Rides take place in different locations across the country to raise awareness for its cause and funds for its programs. These include a community and military-based recovery program called Project Hero, multi-day biking events called Challenges, special biking events, and various initiatives geared toward helping male and female sexual assault survivors.

“Anybody can ride a bike, and we’ve proven that,” said Ride 2 Recovery Coordinator Jack Shepard at the Sunday event in the Chicago area. Some veterans rode on modified bikes that were designed for them by a Ride 2 Recovery engineer to accommodate their injury. Some were missing limbs. “There’s a guy who lost both his arms, and we built him a $20,000 mountain bike where he can shift gears with his knees and brake with his butt,” Shepard said. “We’ll build a bike for any injury.”

Shepard said that Ride 2 Recovery even built a tandem recumbent bike for a veteran who was paralyzed from the neck down. While the person on the front powered the bike, the paralyzed veteran’s arms moved around a hand crank in a way that Shepard says has been helping build his muscles.

Beyond the physical, however, Ride 2 Recovery helps veterans recover mentally.

Veteran Sherri Smith of Waterloo, Wisconsin, talked to the crowd at the Sunday Honor Ride in Barrington about what Ride 2 Recovery means to her.

Veteran Sherri Smith Ride to Recovery
Veteran Sherri Smith (photo by Laura Pavin, Pioneer Press)

According to the Chicago Tribune article: “Sherri Smith of Waterloo, Wis., said that she discovered Ride 2 Recovery through an Honor Ride in Madison, Wisconsin. She had been struggling ever since she was evacuated out of Iraq due to an injury, suddenly putting an end to her 15-year military career.

Cycling changed that.

“It is something that gives me freedom and keeps me from thinking about the injury and anything else I had gone through,” Smith said, prior to setting off on her bike ride on Sunday.

“It just gives me that sense of accomplishment when I’m done–it’s exhilarating.” She said she now runs Ride 2 Recovery’s Project Hero program in Madison. Smith is one of countless others for whom Ride 2 Recovery has made a difference.”
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Southern Californians if you want to help these amazing veterans, make a positive difference in their lives, and contribute to this worthy and honorable endeavor, then please Register and Show your support today!

HT: Chicago Tribune

One thought on “From Chicago to Orange County, Ride 2 Recovery Helps Injured Veterans

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