More than 200 cyclists, including injured veterans and their supporters, began their Ride 2 Recovery Minuteman Challenge sponsored by UnitedHealthcare Monday, making a stop in Foxborough on their way to Providence, R.I.
The Minuteman Challenge is a six-day, 330-mile ride from Boston to New York City with stops in Providence, Hartford and New London. On Monday, the veterans passed through Foxborough and stopped at Gillette Stadium for lunch. New England Patriots linebacker Eric Alexander visited with the veteran riders.
Ride 2 Recovery is a nonprofit organization that supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs for injured veterans, featuring cycling as its core activity. From indoor spinning training at military installations to multi-day, long-distance rides, Ride 2 Recovery helps injured veterans heal through the challenge of cycling long distances using hand cycles, recumbents, tandems and traditional road bikes.
Minuteman Challenge cyclists began their journey Monday, Sept. 10, in Quincy, and started riding south through historic New England towns with overnight stops in Providence, R.I.; Hartford and New London, Conn.; Oyster Bay, N.Y.; and Fort Lee, N.J.
The ride will conclude Sunday, Sept. 16, with an Honor Ride through New York City that is open to cyclists from the general public.
“The Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge helps support important health programs for men and women who served our country, and we are honored to serve them through this sponsorship,” said Stephen J. Farrell, president & CEO, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual of New England. “Exercise and rehabilitation services are critically important to help injured veterans enjoy a return to the health and well-being they richly deserve.”
This is the third year that UnitedHealthcare is serving as Ride 2 Recovery’s presenting sponsor, providing financial, in-kind and volunteer support to assist in the rehabilitation of America’s injured veterans.
“One of the best qualities of cycling is that practically anyone can participate,” said John Wordin, president and founder, Ride 2 Recovery. “We adapt bikes for the injured veterans so they can once again find a physical and mental outlet, whether alone or in groups. As they rebuild strength and conditioning, they are also healing the effects of post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and depression. Cycling is a powerful therapeutic exercise that they can continue to do for the rest of their lives.”
To enhance the experience of each Challenge as it tours the country, Ride 2 Recovery adds stops and special events for the riders. The Minuteman Challenge included a lunch stop at the Raytheon Patriots Hall of Fame at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough; 9/11 memorial ceremonies at the Rhode Island State House and Bushnell Park in Hartford on Sept. 11; a ferry ride across Long Island Sound; breakfast at Macy’s in New York City; and attendance at the West Point versus Northern Illinois football game.
The USO will support daily rest stops with a mobile canteen, and the American Legion Family will provide a motorcycle escort and sponsor dinners and community events.
The public is encouraged to gather along the daily routes to support the cyclists.
The USO will support daily rest stops with a mobile canteen, and the American Legion Family will provide a motorcycle escort and sponsor dinners and community events. In addition to UnitedHealthcare, other sponsors who make these Challenges possible at no cost to injured veterans are BAE Systems, Chevrolet, Deloitte, Raleigh Bicycles, U-Haul and United Airlines.
For more information about Ride 2 Recovery, the Minuteman Challenge or how to participate, visit www.ride2recovery.com. The public is encouraged to gather along the daily ride routes to support the cyclists.