Riders Reflect: Stories from Veteran Cyclists Served by Wounded Warrior Project
Our cycling programs have taken us to places such as Puerto Rico, San Diego, Seattle, New York City, and even Washington, DC, where the president of the United States met with a group of warriors in April.
Bicycling is a big deal here at Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). For years, it’s been one of the most accessible methods for the warriors we serve to stay active and healthy. It’s also one of our biggest programs: Soldier Ride®, the multi-day cycling event that connects warriors as they push themselves physically and mentally while managing visible and invisible wounds of war.
Our cycling programs have taken us to places such as Puerto Rico, San Diego, Seattle, New York City, and even Washington, DC, where the president of the United States met with a group of warriors in April. As WWP Physical Health and Wellness director, I’ve been blessed to not only ride alongside some of these amazing men and women but also hear some of their successes and stories. Our warriors have had a lot to say about cycling and Soldier Ride:
"I've been to many Wounded Warrior Project events, but the bicycle rides are my favorite. Being part of this organization has allowed me to connect with other veterans back stateside as well as here in Puerto Rico. I go riding every day as my physical and mental therapy. Through a Soldier Ride event, I discovered that my mind is relaxed when I'm on the bike. My legs are getting stronger, and bicycling is helping me lose weight. I never thought about being a cyclist when I joined Wounded Warrior Project five years ago, but it's allowed me to make new friends and keep in touch with how they're doing in their recoveries."
- David Camacho, Army veteran, Puerto Rico Ride
"When I lived in Hawaii, I went through a warrior transition program because I had a traumatic brain injury. That's where I first got connected with Wounded Warrior Project, and they've been a big help for me with the events they do. Soldier Ride was something I had wanted to do for a while now. Being on this ride has been a real game-changer for me. I had forgotten how it feels to connect with other service members. This ride reminded me how good it is to be around people who served too, and who know some of the same experiences I've had. These are people I can sound off with and talk about what's happening in my life."
- James Myers, Army veteran, Washington, DC Soldier Ride
“Soldier Ride Tampa is the best Wounded Warrior Project event I have ever been to. I struggle with some social anxiety, but I didn’t feel like I needed to have my head on a swivel. I was able to have a good time and relax because the staff made me feel welcome. My post-traumatic stress disorder makes me feel like I’m on my back and someone’s standing on my chest. But being around other warriors who struggle with social anxiety in the same way gives me hope. Everyone was amazing; the camaraderie was so great. I didn’t want to leave.”
- Brian Fulford, Marine Corps veteran, Tampa Soldier Ride
"I've seen Wounded Warrior Project change lives, and I've seen how it has improved my marriage. Wounded Warrior Project sticks with its mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. I see what it does. I see the changes it makes – it has done it in my life, it's done it in my friends' lives, and it can do it in the next warrior's life. Getting out there on the bike, to be alongside other warriors like me, and see what it’s doing for them, is an incredible feeling."
- Durrant Spencer, Navy veteran, Jacksonville Soldier Ride
“I don’t want my disability to slow me down or stop me. Wounded Warrior Project makes that easy because they find ways to make things possible. They don’t focus on what I can’t do – but what I can do. The bike they provided for me was perfect for my injury and allowed me to participate in the ride, just like anyone else.”
- Natalie Charles, Army veteran, Miami and Key West Soldier Ride
To learn about how WWP’s cycling events and Soldier Ride help warriors with fitness and camaraderie, visit https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/soldier-ride.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.