Why You Should Participate in the Ride 2 Recovery – OC Honor Ride

R E C O V E R I N G from Become Films on Vimeo.

There are many great walk, run and bicycle charity events that you can participate in these days.  All the causes are worthy but with so many events, people have to pick and choose what they do.  So in a way, each event is competing for ridership, but nobody wants to look at it that way.   ARB Cyclery is hosting the 4th Annual Ride 2 Recovery – OC Honor Ride on Saturday, October 29th.  We would never tell someone to participate in our event over some other worthwhile charity ride.  Again, all the causes are worthy, and event participants will make their own decisions on what charities to support.  But let me tell you why we chose to partner with Ride 2 Recovery and why we’d love to see you come out and support this cause on Saturday, October 29th.ride-2-recovery-logo

Despite the nuttiness of the current election year, I think I speak for the entire crew here at ARB Cyclery when I say we feel grateful to be living in the United States of America.  And to be clear, this is not any sort of political statement – just an acknowledgment that we have freedoms here that you don’t find anywhere else on earth and that we shouldn’t take them for granted.  Hopefully, we can all agree on this, no matter your political persuasion.  And we all know that freedom isn’t “free.”  Thousands of Americans have sacrificed their lives to help us remain a free people.  You may not have agreed with certain wars in our country’s past or agree with what we are doing now, and that doesn’t make you unpatriotic.  But there is no doubt we would not be a free nation today if it weren’t for the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform in the past, as well as today.

The people in our military freely volunteer to defend our country, and it doesn’t matter who is President or whether or not they agree or disagree with a particular mission.  They go voluntarily because that is the promise they made.  Some pay the ultimate sacrifice, and many come home severely injured -physically, mentally or both.  In many cases, their lives are altered forever, and they deserve the support of all Americans, regardless of political views.  So supporting Ride 2 Recovery is one small way ARB Cyclery can give back to the veterans who have given so much for our nation.

While every organization that helps our veterans is worthy of support, Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) does it in a special way.  It uses cycling as its primary form of rehabilitation and healing.  Wow…. when I heard about this, I knew immediately that ARB Cyclery had to get involved.  Everyone here at ARB Cyclery has a passion for cycling, or else they wouldn’t be here!  Most people who ride regularly want to share with others what cycling has done for them – hoping they also catch the “bug.”  The benefits are numerous – health & fitness, connection with the outdoors, time to unplug, environmental, social, challenging oneself, increased confidence, and much more.  If you feel cycling has positively benefitted your life, then who better to share that with than those who we owe such an enormous debt of gratitude and desperately need our help– a wounded veteran.

On Saturday, October 29th, let’s take a pause and forget about all of our differences this election year and support our fellow Americans by giving the healing power of cycling.  You will literally be helping to save lives.  Click here to register!

If you would like to see the entire documentary, Recovering, there will be a screening at the shop on Wednesday, October 26th at 7:30pm following our shop ride.   The documentary will also be shown two separate times following the Orange County Honor Ride on Saturday, October 29th.

Help Our Healing Heroes

For every donation you make to Ride 2 Recovery, you can take that dollar amount off* a:
 Retul Bike Fit $300 
 VO2/Lactate Threshold Test $199 
 Sports Massage (1 Hr Session) $85*Maximum Discount 50% off any one service.  Simply make your donation online (don’t be anonymous), then Book your Appointment Online for your Retul Bike Fit, VO2 Test, and/or Sports Massage.(Mention R2R Special under Additional Comments)

2014 Ride 2 Recovery – 2nd Annual Veteran Honor Ride

SATURDAY AUGUST 2nd, 2014 at A Road Bike 4U

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A record turnout in the 2013 event has ride organizers planning for a huge response this year in support of veterans. Local bike retailer, A Road Bike 4U is hosting the charity rides and other festivities again this year. Registration is open now.  

Click here for routes, ride descriptions and details of the day’s festivities.

300 cyclists streamed through the balloon arch on their way to a ride that would not only provide the normal benefits of any bike ride, but also raise almost $20,000 for local veterans. The ride broke all records for Ride 2 Recovery, a relative newcomer to the world of charity cycling events, but one who has won the hearts and minds of many.

One of those was Bruce Marshall, owner of A Road Bike 4U in Irvine, CA. “I was watching 60 Minutes one Sunday evening, and they reported on this organization who was outfitting vets with special bikes that would allow them to get back into cycling. The organization, Ride 2 Recovery, was seeing amazing results. The vets were not only able to exercise and participate in what can be a very social sport, but they were sleeping better and feeling better about themselves.”

Read more…

Ride 2 Recovery Personal Story: Hunter Stoneking

With Liberty and Bicycling For All: Hunter Stoneking

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In 2005, I deployed to Iraq. I made it through relatively unscathed, sustaining only minor injuries to my knee, back and hearing only to come home and completely tear my knee playing a football game with future Marines at my local recruiting station. This prevented me from deploying with my unit the following year, as it required surgery.

I became more and more depressed as the months passed and combat reports came in almost daily. Friends were getting injured and killed and there was nothing I could do. I felt I failed my brothers and retreated into a very dark place in my mind. I finished my service in 2007 and lived a secluded life for nearly four years, gaining a large amount of weight and letting my hopelessness and guilt consume me.

Then someone amazing came into my life: my son, who was born in 2010. Though I wasn’t with his mother and didn’t get to see him all the time, I knew I needed to get better for his sake. My father had left when I was very young, and I would not repeat this cycle of abandonment.

I started college and tried to live a healthier lifestyle. I had my ups and downs in this transformation but it wasn’t until I bought a bicycle that I truly began to feel a difference in myself. It started out simply as a way to save on gas money and quickly became my passion. i could feel the wind and sun on my face. I could let go of all the self-loathing and anger and guilt that I had been building up for so long. Best of all: I could share this love with my young child. We spent an entire summer riding that bike.

I could see the love in his eyes and the excitement when ride time came, and it made me feel genuinely happy for the first time in a very long time. A fellow veteran that frequented our local bike shop rode with us a few times and told me about Ride 2 Recovery. At first I didn’t know if I could handle participating. Just thinking about it brought back the pain and guilt of my failures.

How could I face my fellow veterans when most suffered much more severe traumas than I had? But Margaux continued to ask me to participate until I finally decided I needed to face my own demons and do it, not only for my own gain, but for my son’s, as well.

In October 2012, I participated in my first R2R Challenge. At first I was so uncomfortable. I had a panic attack just walking into the room with so many of my brothers and sisters looking at me. I quickly learned, though, that they were there to help me with my healing process just as much as I was with theirs. We are a family, a unit of heroes of all shapes and sizes and all levels of disability.

I felt welcomed somewhere for the first time in a long time and it was in an atmosphere I never thought possible. I cried like a baby nearly the entire first day. I didn’t know how to feel, I didn’t know what to say or how to treat those around me, but hey continued to welcome me into their hearts and by the end of the week my life was changed forever.

It was the big nudge I needed to let go of the past and live for the future. It’s crazy to think something as simple as a bicycle could be the instrument of such a huge change in so many different aspects of a person’s life, but I see it every day when I am with Ride 2 Recovery. It inspires me to continue to improve. I want to ride alongside other R2R warriors that I have come to love and respect; to help them as they helped me to overcome not only mental and physical adversity but to tackle the most difficult, single-day mountain bike event in the U.S.

I never thought I would feel whole again but now through Ride 2 Recovery and cycling I feel anything is possible. I feel I can be the man I want to be and the father my son deserves and there isn’t a more amazing feeling in the world.

Originally published in the July/August issue of American Bicyclist, the magazine for the League of American Bicyclists.