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Disabled Vets Cycle Towards Recovery

On Memorial Day Weekend, 35 wounded veterans cycled 350 miles through Virginia.

By Sarah Beldo

Last month, nearly three dozen disabled members of the U.S. military completed a goal that most people would find challenging: cycling 350 miles through Virginia on a journey of healing.

"My experience was awesome," said Army Sergeant Juan Alcivar, who lost his right femur in a sniper attack in Baghdad. "I didn't think I was going to make it. All the new friends I made helped me."

Each year, Ride 2 Recovery organizes bicycle rides for wounded veterans across the country, with the aim of creating life-changing experiences and encouraging rehabilitation.

The support group also raises money for labs equipped with indoor bicycles, as well as outdoor cycling programs across the U.S.

Cycling is the focus of the rehabilitation because the organizers believe almost all patients with mental and physical disabilities can take part.

Getting involved in a physical challenge has also been shown to speed rehabilitation and strengthen relationships with other veterans through teamwork.

"Participating in this ride changed the lives of the wounded warriors in a very positive way," John Wordin, executive director of Ride 2 Recovery, told American Forces Press Service. "To see their transformation over the course of six days was truly inspiring."
 

Sarah Beldo is a journalist from San Francisco