Ride 2 Recovery Cyclists Stop In McConnellsburg
American Legion Post 561 in McConnellsburg played host to more than 350 cyclists who wound their way through the hills and valleys of Fulton County last week as part of the Ride 2 Recovery 9/11 Challenge.
The bicycle tour commemorated the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and included participants ranging from survivors and family members to 9/11 emergency responders and military heroes injured in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some cyclists had prostethic legs or arms, and others rode customized recumbent bikes as a result of previously sustaining an array of physical injuries.
The 530-mile ride kicked off Sunday, September 11, at Liberty State Park in New Jersey within view of the World Trade Center. The route took riders through Philadelphia, Lancaster, Gettysburg and into Mc- Connellsburg last Thursday, where they stopped to lunch at the American Legion. Receiving an enthusiastic and warm welcome by local residents, the participants shared stories of their military time and displayed medals earned during their service.
Certainly challenged by the local terrain, bikers also encountered some inclement weather that delayed portions of their journey. From McConnellsburg, cyclists travelled to Bedford before making their way into Shanksville for a special ceremony held at the Flight 93 National Memorial. The eight-day ride was scheduled to end at the Pentagon Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In order to participate each rider was reportedly asked to give a minimum donation of $2,998, which represents $1 for each person lost on that tragic day 10 years ago. Proceeds benefit mental and physical rehabilitation of military veterans. All injured veterans were permitted to participate in the ride for free, and discounts were offered to active duty military and Veterans Affairs employees.
Ride 2 Recovery challenge events are produced by the Fitness Challenge Program in partnership with the Military and VA Volunteer Service Office. The Fitness Challenge Program is designed to benefit mental and physical rehabilitation programs for the country’s wounded veterans and features cycling as the core activity.
According to the Ride 2 Recovery organization, cycling helps injured veterans improve their health and wellness through individual and group cycling. Cycling has proven to be a catalyst in wounded veterans’ recovery process by providing a new physical challenge while concurrently helping to cope with the mental challenges. Challenge rides are multi-day events, though riders are eligible to participate for a single day.
The 9/11 Challenge cyclists are also riding to raise money and awareness to support spinning recovery labs and outdoor cycling programs across the United States that are used to help injured veterans overcome the obstacles they face.
Supporters of the Ride 2 Recovery 9/11 Challenge were United Healthcare, the USO and the American Legion Family.