Wounded veterans find peace in bike ride across Virginia

June 01, 2018 - 12:56 pm

Pedaling more than 200 miles across Virginia, 50 wounded veterans and supporters arrived at their final destination Friday.

The United Healthcare Memorial Challenge Bike Tour, which is not a race, is a noncompetitive, therapeutic bike ride which allows riders to stop at historic sites, civic centers and local attractions. While some rode traditional bikes others made the journey with hand cycles, recumbent bikes and tandems.

Navy Veteran Candise Morgan, who sufferes from PTSD and MST (Military Sexual Trauma) began biking last summer and quickly became hooked. She started biking 60 miles a day and she says the effect it has had on her health is monumental. Joining cycling groups she explains the comraderie is priceless. 

“I know the feeling of hopelessness, I was not in a good place last year so to have an outlet and people who check up on you. That is what you need. Will not erase what happened to you but tools to manage your day to day life,” says Morgan. 

United Healthcare

Once relying on medication to help her, she says her perscriptions have now been replaced by her bike.

“It helps clear my mind and focus on the ride, I don’t have to think about wounds, just have to ride a bike.”

United Healthcare

The ride benefits Project Hero, a nonprofit that helps veterans and first responders affected by injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives.

Founded in 2008, they not only build and provide adaptive bikes to our wounded veterans but they also host cycling events and community based programs across the country.  

“If you know any veteran or first responder in a dark place we are the ones to send them to,” explains Peter Bylsma of Project Hero.

For information, visit www.projecthero.org.

Contact us about this article or share your story at gethelp@connectingvets.com