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GROTON, Conn. -- The cycling club at Naval Submarine Base New London rode with wounded veterans and other supporting cyclists during the third leg of the 2012 Ride 2 Recovery Minuteman Challenge as they passed through the base Sept. 12.
Ride 2 Recovery is a charitable organization that focuses on rehabilitation programs for wounded veterans living with mental and physical challenges by featuring cycling as a core activity.
The Minuteman Challenge is a multi-day ride which begins Sept. 10 in Boston and ends Sept. 16 at West Point, N.Y.
"This provided us an opportunity share camaraderie and time on the road with some real American heroes," said Lt. Andrew Thorne, president of the Naval Base Cycling Club. "Cycling has positively changed many of our lives and we're happy to take some time to be a small part of their journey with them."
More than 200 cyclists operated road bikes, hand cycles, recumbent bikes and tandems during the five-day event, many of their cycles had been modified to accommodate specific injuries, according to organizers. While the majority of the riders were wounded veterans or active-duty members, there were some civilians as well.
Riders were escorted by State Police through the base and were welcomed at each of the intersecting roads by Naval Submarine School students, volunteers and fans cheering them on during the leg from Hartford to New London. The cyclist's entire journey from Boston will cover more than 330 miles when they reach their destination at Fort Lee on Sunday, Sept. 16.
Participants rode traditional road bicycles, hand cycles and recumbent bikes, many of which were modified to accommodate specific injuries. All four branches of the military send service men and women to Ride 2 Recovery Challenges, and one of them, a retired Navy chief was glad to take part.
"It meant a lot to come onto the base and to see all the support from the Sailors when we rode through," said Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic (AW) James Reynold. "As a Navy man, being on a Navy base, it felt like being right at home."
Cycling has proven to be a catalyst in the recovery process by providing new physical challenges while concurrently helping to cope with the mental challenges. The Ride 2 Recovery long-distance, multi-day events challenge each rider individually to meet personal goals, to ride with others who have similar experiences and to find ways to cope with their 'new normal' through cycling and camaraderie.
The non-profit Ride 2 Recovery helps service men and women ride regardless of their disabilities, with a team of "expert mechanics and professional cyclists" who modify road bikes, hand cycles and recumbent bicycles to fit the needs of individual riders.