The 450-mile trek to Los Angeles from San Francisco is a tough drive but imagine taking the journey on a bike, roughing the beautiful hills and coastlines of California! On Sunday morning, October 3rd, 200 Veteran and civilian cyclists took on that journey when they began the Ride 2 Recovery Golden State Challenge.
Since 2007, the Challenge has increased from only 15 riders and welcomes Veterans and civilian riders from all around the world. The program was created by professional cyclist and Veteran John Wordin, after being approached by the VA Palo Alto Health Care System to start a physical therapy program for returning service members. Since then, the federal government has recruited him to start programs for wounded Veterans across the country.
"It's pretty amazing. We're going to be integrated into mental and national military hospitals so every wounded warrior is exposed to this program," said Wordin. "It's a big deal for us."
The cyclists left from the Holiday Inn San Francisco International Airport, with the option of taking a 70- or 90- mile course to Santa Cruz on the first day. They finished up the ride on October 9 with a concert at Santa Monica Pier.
The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary is supporting the ride, providing motorcycle escorts for the cyclists with dinners and community events along the way. The event is sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, funding more than 2,000 wounded Veterans in rehabilitation programs. For more information, visit the Ride 2 Recovery website.