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.

Ride with BMC’s Peter Stetina & Support America’s Veterans

Calling All Orange County Cycling Enthusiasts:

R2R Challenge High-FiveIf you are reading this blog, most likely you’re a cyclist!  You are probably an American citizen too, or at least live here.  The one thing all Americans share is a deep appreciation of those who sacrifice life & limb to protect our freedom and those of others around the world (regardless of your opinion on any particular war).   These men and women truly are heroes.   Here is your chance to step up and make a BIG contribution to America’s wounded veterans using your passion for cycling.  I can’t think of a better combination!

Ride 2 Recovery and The Big Orange Classic have put together a fantastic event the day before the main ride.   In return for your $100 donation, here is what you’ll get at this exclusive Orange County VIP event:

  • Peter-Stetina-TourEasy (nobody gets dropped) 20 mile ride with one of America’s top cyclists, Peter Stetina of BMC Racing.  Peter is a 4 time Grand Tour finisher, including a 35th place (out of 164 who finished) in his first Tour de France last year.
  • Chance to ride & chat with Peter in a more intimate setting than the main ride.  He’ll be hanging out pre- and post-ride as well.  How many group rides have you been on where the guy riding next to you has competed in the Tour de France – and you haven’t been dropped!  Go ahead, ask your questions – what’s a day at the Tour really like?
  • Ride the same top of the line BMC SLR01 as Peter Stetina!  You’ll have the opportunity to demo one of these amazing race rigs on this ride.
  • The ride starts and ends from Shimano USA headquarters, perhaps the most innovative and recognizable brand in cycling.
  • Browse and hang out in the recently constructed Shimano showroom to see the latest in bicycle components and gear.  This will include a demonstration of the new Road Hydro groupset.
  • Complimentary Shimano grab bag and post-ride beer/appetizers while hanging out with Peter Stetina and reps from Shimano and BMC.

Tour de France 2014, Grand Depart, Peter Stetina, BMC Team Machine SLR01 (Pic: Colin Henrys/Factory Media)

While this is truly a dream event for any cycling enthusiast, what you’ll feel best about is that your donation is really making a difference in the lives of America’s wounded veterans – or Healing Heroes.  And what is changing their lives? CYCLING!  If you love cycling and it has given so much to you, what better way to give back than giving wounded veterans that experience they so desperately need.  What makes cycling unique as a way to help our Healing Heroes become fully rehabilitated?  First of all, almost everyone can cycle, no matter their physical situation.  This is not so for almost any other sport, including running. Cycling treats the whole person:  physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually.  And healing veterans can be brought to a higher level of function by utilizing cycling as a part of their rehabilitation.  But in order to reach more veterans, Ride 2 Recovery needs your help.  And fundraising events like these help do that.  Here is a video that captures much of what Ride 2 Recovery is all about.  Caution – it is sobering, but also inspirational.   Please consider signing up for this one-of-a-kind cycling event!

 

 

Ride 2 Recovery Spotlight: Delvin McMillian, Air Force Veteran

Ride 2 Recovery Spotlight - Delvin McMillian, Air Force VeteranTo sign up for the OC Honor Ride, click here!

As part of A Road Bike 4U’s continuing partnership with the RIDE 2 RECOVERY organization, we are honored to highlight individual stories of men and women in our military. In today’s post, we honor Delvin McMillian, an Air Force veteran whose fighting spirit was not squashed when he contracted the Hantavirus in 2001 and had both of his legs, one hand, and a part of the other hand amputated. Being a quad amputee did not stop Delvin from riding. With Ride 2 Recovery’s help and months of research, brainstorming and hard work, his Ride 2 Recovery Stealth “Mad Max” was born.

Here is Delvin’s story:

Delvin McMillian had one question for the Ride 2 Recovery team, “how can I join the ride?”

UnitedHealthcare employee, Walter Chwalik, told Delvin about the Ride 2 Recovery and showed pictures from his ride in Florida. Our question at R2R was “how can we make a bike that will allow Delvin to ride independently?”

ide 2 Recovery Spotlight - Delvin McMillian, Air Force Veteran

Since 2008, Ride 2 Recovery has been providing grants for the bikes that are given to the injured veterans – but they had never had a quad amputee apply. That didn’t stop anyone. It was just another challenge to create a bicycle that would allow Delvin to participate in what is a life-changing experience for the riders.

Delvin McMillian and his fighting spirit was not squashed when he contracted the Hantavirus in 2001 in his dorm room at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The disease attacked his circulatory system and caused his lungs to collapse and his kidneys to fail. Both of his legs were amputated, below the knee, and one hand and a part of the other hand were amputated.

“Life doesn’t stop at the point of your injury,” he said. “In the big picture of life, it is just a minor setback. There is more to life than feeling sorry for yourself and you still have a lot you can offer the world.”

The Ride 2 Recovery program was founded on the principle that anyone, anywhere, anytime could ride some kind of bicycle and that R2R could make the necessary adaptations. The R2R team was up for the challenge of creating a bike for Delvin.

Only a small handful of quad amputees had ever even attempted to cycle and none of those had ever ridden a road bike of any sort. After months of research, brainstorming and hard work, the Ride 2 Recovery Stealth “Mad Max” was born. The bike had to steer, brake, shift, and ride easily and smoothly for someone who had no legs or hands to steer, brake or shift.

Delvin has now ridden Mad Max in Virginia, Texas, and Florida. Delvin now has the opportunity, as a quad amputee, to do something that any able body person can do, which is to ride a bike. Many people told him and the R2R team that this was not possible. Delvin proved them all wrong.

Read more Cyclist Stories on the RIDE 2 RECOVERY website.

Ride 2 Recovery Spotlight: Juan Carlos Hernandez, Army Veteran

Juan Carlos Hernandez, Ride 2 Recovery SpotlightTo sign up for the OC Honor Ride, click here!

As part of A Road Bike 4U’s partnership with the RIDE 2 RECOVERY organization, we are proud to highlight individual stories of men and women in our military who have given so much for our country. In this post we honor veteran Juan Carlos Hernandez, a retired E-4/Specialist, Chinook Gunner Crewman, U.S. Army. Juan Carlos began cycling in April 2010, only six months after his injury. He now rides more than 400 miles per week and has participated in more than 12 Ride 2 Recovery Challenges.

Here is his story:

“When I ride my bike, I feel relaxed. Free. It’s as if nothing else in the world matters,” says Juan Carlos Hernandez, a retired E-4/Specialist, Chinook Gunner Crewman, U.S. Army. “It helps keep my mind clear and focused. Riding my bicycle has dramatically helped me with my walking and my quick recovery; it has not only helped me physically but also mentally.”

r2r_Vet_Juan-Carlos-Hernandez_02_250x400

Juan Carlos, who regularly sports shorts with his patriotic prosthetic leg, has gone from never riding more than 20 miles to riding more than 400 miles in a week. Since he began cycling in April 2010 – only six months after his injury – he has participated in more than 12 Ride 2 Recovery Challenges.

In 2006, Juan Carlos joined the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan in Dec. 2008 with Task Force Palehorse 7/17th Cavalry. He was injured on Oct. 13, 2009 while conducting nighttime aerial missions in the valleys of Afghanistan. His aircraft was hit with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) with shrapnel penetrating his body. Juan’s right leg was injured so badly that it required a below-the-knee amputation on-site of the accident.

Transferred to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Juan Carlos did his recovery and rehabilitation at Brook Army Medical Center and the Center for the Intrepid (CFI). He moved quickly; released from the hospital in mid-November 2009, he was walking with his new prosthesis a few days before Christmas. By mid-February, he was pedaling with his prosthetic leg on an upright bicycle with no issues – except for a few minor accidents while learning to balance on his new leg.

While at the CFI, he heard about Ride 2 Recovery and joined his first ride within six months of his injury.

Juan Carlos Hernandez, Ride 2 Recovery Spotlight

“Although long and exhausting, I had an amazing time meeting new friends, riding through cities that I never imagined visiting and making amazing memories. Ride 2 Recovery means a lot to me, helping me physically and also mentally. One thing I’ve learned from being part of Ride 2 Recovery is that everyone quickly becomes part of a family that keeps expanding.”

The R2R family is one of the main reasons Juan Carlos is still part of the program. “I love the program. I love what it has done for me and my fellow veterans who are recovering. I believe cycling does so many things that medicine cannot. I love the peer-to-peer mentoring we have with one another on the rides.

Because of the connections I’ve made with so many wounded warriors, I joined R2R as a staff member. I know there are many things that I can offer that others cannot, simply because I have been in their shoes and we can relate to one another. My goal is to help and mentor as many wounded warriors as I can. I know that I may not be able to help them all, but I will try to do my best to accomplish that goal and do it to the best of my ability”.

Read more Cyclist Stories on the RIDE 2 RECOVERY website.

2014 Ride 2 Recovery – 2nd Annual Veteran Honor Ride

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

DSC03158b

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…

[New Video] Irvine Resident and Olympian Dotsie Bausch after Ride 2 Recovery at A Road Bike 4U

http://ARoadBike4u.com 949-752-2080

“I love so much about it,” says Dotsie Baush. “I just love being able to be outside with the wind in my face and the ability to see so much in a short period of time, if you go 30 miles or 50 miles or 70 miles. But I love the competitive aspect of it more than anything. I love track racing and I love the gift it’s given me. It’s been an incredible journey so far in just a short period of time.” (quoted in ESPN interview.)

Her journey from anorexic runway model to professional cyclist and now Olympic Silver Medalist has been chronicled by virtually every major news organization. But beyond the model exterior and her physical capabilities on a bike, there is her unquenchable desire to pay it forward.

Her story of getting caught up in the crazy world of the New York runway model is nothing new. She drove herself so hard that she finally found herself barely surviving in a 5’9″, 90 pound body. After contemplating suicide, she headed for therapy and a big life turnaround. She credits cycling for much of her recovery.

Now she helps others who are disabled by an eating disorder. No one is better at identifying with someone in some form of addiction, than an ex-addict. But Dotsie’s big heart doesn’t end there.

Our wounded vets sometimes struggle with some of the same needs in their recoveries that Dotsie did. And many of them are finding the same thing she did. A bicycle is a fantastic way to build strength, endurance, and postive mental energy. Through Ride 2 Recovery, veterans across the country are being outfitted with specially designed bikes that allow them to fully participate in cycling.

To help raise money for these vets, A Road Bike 4U hosted an Aug 3rd ride originating at the store located in Irvine, at the corner of Main St. & Red Hill Ave. Dotsie Bausch was one of those riding in support of our wounded warriors that day. You can still get in on the fun, and meet Dotsie. Watch this video and plan to show up for the event next August 2014.

Honor Ride Raises $20,000 for Healing Heroes

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 hugs his wife Shawna as his 2-year-old son Seth looks on. Hundreds of cyclists gathered Saturday in Irvine to raise money to buy Savard a new hand cycle. KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Donny Savard hugs his wife Shawna as his 2-year-old son Seth looks on. Hundreds of cyclists gathered Saturday in Irvine to raise money to buy Savard a new hand cycle.
KEN STEINHARDT, 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.

During a break at Irvine Boulevard, Donny Savard visits with Mike Alford of Temecula as members of the cycling community, including many veterans, gather Saturday to raise the money for Savard's new hand cycle. KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
During a break at Irvine Boulevard, Donny Savard visits with Mike Alford of Temecula as members of the cycling community, including many veterans, gather Saturday to raise the money for Savard’s new hand cycle.
KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

“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.

Ride 2 Recovery's Project Hero program manager Robert Keating, left, and volunteer Richard Chappell ready a temporary hand cycle for Donny Savard at A Road Bike 4U bike shop in Irvine. Members of the cycling community, along with many service veterans, gathered Saturday to raise the money for a new hand cycle for Savard, injured in Iraq while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps. KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Ride 2 Recovery’s Project Hero program manager Robert Keating, left, and volunteer Richard Chappell ready a temporary hand cycle for Donny Savard at A Road Bike 4U bike shop in Irvine. Members of the cycling community, along with many service veterans, gathered Saturday to raise the money for a new hand cycle for Savard, injured in Iraq while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps.
KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

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.

Donny Savard approaches the first rest stop with the help of Mike Sowa of Westlake Village pushing him uphill through the Great Park and former U.S. Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Members of the cycling community, along with many service veterans, gathered Saturday to raise the money for a new hand cycle for Savard. KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Donny Savard approaches the first rest stop with the help of Mike Sowa of Westlake Village pushing him uphill through the Great Park and former U.S. Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Members of the cycling community, along with many service veterans, gathered Saturday to raise the money for a new hand cycle for Savard.
KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

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.”

Contact the writer: 714-796-7976

Contact the writer: rcooley@ocregister.com

Contact the writer: Twitter: @ryahcooley

Irvine Bike Ride to Raise Money for Local Veteran

This blog post is from an article originally published by the Orange County Register, July 29th, 2013

BY JILLIAN BECK / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

United States Marine Corps Veteran Donny Savard tickles his 2 year-old son Seth as his wife Shawna, reflected, is all smiles at their home in Laguna Niguel. Donny Savard plans to join the upcoming Ride 2 Recovery in Honor of America's Healing Heroes bike ride.
United States Marine Corps Veteran Donny Savard tickles his 2 year-old son Seth as his wife Shawna, reflected, is all smiles at their home in Laguna Niguel. Donny Savard plans to join the upcoming Ride 2 Recovery in Honor of America’s Healing Heroes bike ride.

He wants to get back on a bike.

Growing up, Donny Savard rode almost daily. He bought a collection of bikes using cash earned by mowing neighbors’ huge rural lawns in his Grass Valley neighborhood.

Eventually, he built his own. And he kept riding.

But, Savard sustained injuries while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Iraq War. In a wheelchair, he was sidelined from cycling.

These days, his collection is much smaller, and a reminder of what he can no longer do.

At times, Savard gets frustrated. He’ll go into his garage that’s attached to his home in Laguna Niguel, where he lives with his wife and young son, and see the bikes that he can’t ride anymore.

“It’s real frustrating going out there and just thinking to myself, ‘I had a lot of fun and good times riding those,’ ” he said.

The bike Savard needs, one that he can pedal with his hands, is pricey – about $4,000 to $10,000.

During a Ride 2 Recovery ride, a participant uses a hand cycle, much like the model Laguna Niguel resident and local veteran Donny Savard needs.
During a Ride 2 Recovery ride, a participant uses a hand cycle, much like the model Laguna Niguel resident and local veteran Donny Savard needs.

This time, he’ll have some help earning money for his bike.

Members of the Irvine and Greater Orange County cycling community will gather to raise the money for Savard’s hand cycle with a ride on Aug. 3 at a local bike shop in Irvine, A Road Bike 4U.

Bruce Marshall, the owner of A Road Bike 4U, reached out earlier this year to Ride 2 Recovery to bring an Honor Ride to Irvine. Last summer, the bike shop organized a ride to benefit the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, raising about $2,500.

Ride 2 Recovery is a national nonprofit organization that uses cycling as a form of rehabilitation for healing heroes, said Linda Glassell, national director of Honor Rides for the group.

The organization puts on rides, not races, across the country and the world. They can be a daylong Honor Ride, or a weeklong Challenge Ride. The Aug. 3 event is an Honor Ride.

Marshall was looking for a cause the cycling community could rally around. That’s when he found Ride 2 Recovery while surfing the Internet.

Helping veterans is close to home for Marshall.

Bruce Marshall, Owner of A Road Bike 4U, gazes out at the starting point of the upcoming Ride 2 Recovery in Honor of America's Healing Heroes bike ride.
Bruce Marshall, Owner of A Road Bike 4U, gazes out at the starting point of the upcoming Ride 2 Recovery in Honor of America’s Healing Heroes bike ride.

His grandfather, who passed away 15 years ago, fought in World War II, losing his left arm in combat.

Marshall witnessed his grandfather’s tough transition back into civilian life with his injury, and saw him use golf as a way to recover.

“The sport was such an integral part of keeping him in good spirits and happy, despite his pain and everything he went through,” Marshall said. “I see cycling as doing that for a lot of people.”

Ride 2 Recovery, and its Project HERO (Healing Exercise Rehabilitation Opportunity) programs, aim to provide training and cycling programs at military hospitals and other veteran affairs facilities to help veterans overcome obstacles they may face once they return from duty.

Many veterans in the program suffer from psychological or physical effects from their service – often, both. Some experience post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Others have lost limbs or brain injuries.

Ride 2 Recovery purchases or builds about 100 bikes for veterans in the rehabilitation programs each year, with costs ranging from $3,000 to $20,000 per bicycle, depending on the specifications and adaptations needed for each injured veteran cyclist, according to David Haines, chief operating officer of Ride 2 Recovery.

Richard Brock, a program manager for Project HERO at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, said when veterans come back, many have become accustomed to military life, which is mission-orientated. Cycling can let them set and achieve goals, said Brock, who has worked with hundreds of veterans through the Project HERO program.

The camaraderie of Ride 2 Recovery’s weeklong Challenge Rides, and continued support, gives veterans a social environment to talk with one another.

Savard is looking forward to participating in some of the weeklong rides; the cycling itself, but also the social aspect.

Veterans ride adaptive cycles up an incline during a Ride 2 Recovery Challenge Ride earlier this year.
Veterans ride adaptive cycles up an incline during a Ride 2 Recovery Challenge Ride earlier this year.

“It’s not just riding with other people, it’s riding with other servicemen,” he said. “Especially the fact that there are other disabled veterans – we’ll always have something to talk about.”

About 75 people have signed up for the ride so far. Marshall hopes this year will be the start of a tradition at his shop. They’ve already set a tentative date for next summer – Aug. 2.

The ride is attracting many from the local cycling community, including Olympic silver-medalist and Irvine resident Dotsie Bausch.

Bausch, who won a silver medal at the London Olympics last year in the cycling team pursuit event, recently started helping out with Ride 2 Recovery.

“We know freedom is not free and the more that we can expose what these guys and gals have done fighting for us to be where we are … is a gift to anyone who experiences it,” she said. “So having (the Honor Ride) here in my own backyard, are you kidding me? It’s amazing. It needs to be everywhere – in small towns to big cities to Manhattan.”

She hopes to eventually coach some of the veterans into becoming competitive cyclers, helping some to compete in the 2016 or 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Savard’s eventual goal is to compete.

Veterans ride adaptive bikes and others participate in one of Ride 2 Recovery's Challenge Rides in 2012.
Veterans ride adaptive bikes and others participate in one of Ride 2 Recovery’s Challenge Rides in 2012.

Remembering the feeling of cycling makes him smile.

“It’s nice when you get on a stretch of flat road, or a slight downhill, and you can just relax and feel the wind in your face,” he said. “(It’s) the feeling of not having a care in the world about anything.”

Expect to see him zooming along Pacific Coast Highway in the coming months, getting back to that feeling of tranquility, once he gets his bike. He’s got his heart set on an Invacare Top End Force RX hand cycle, a model that allows him to lay down with just his neck and head tilted up.

Ride 2 Recovery is working on getting Savard a bike to use for Irvine’s Honor Ride next month. He said it might be one of the seated hand cycles, the kind that makes his body feel uncomfortable. But it would be one he can use to at least start off the ride with the other participants.

He’s determined.

It’s time to get back on a bike. “But, if I get comfortable, I probably won’t stop,” he said, laughing.

Both the 25 and 60-mile rides will start and end at A Road Bike 4U, Main St. & Red Hill Ave, Irvine.

Individuals can register online at https://ride2recovery.com/honorRide.php

$35 pre-sale, $45 for day-of registration, injured veterans are free

The event starts at 8 a.m.