The Soldier Ride is one of the many programs the Wounded Warrior Project offers veterans. It’s making a stop in the Valley with two 16-mile rides in Goodyear and Scottsdale.
“It’s more than just riding a bike. It’s basically a group activity that they can all accomplish together,” said Nick Kraus, one of the founders of Soldier Ride.
Forty-one veterans are expected to take part in the ride. No matter the ailment or limitation, the Soldier Ride will find a way to get you on the road.
“If you don't have use of your legs, you'll have a hand cycle. No matter what it is, we'll get you fitted on a bicycle and you will succeed,” said Kraus.
Christopher Brouillette and Emmett Patterson, two Navy veterans, were out at The Wig Wam Resort getting fitted with bikes. They both have back and knee issue, so they’ll be riding recumbent bikes in which the rider sits in a laid-back reclining position.
“I've never done these cycles before -- something else to adjust to but I like it. It’s very comfortable, especially for my disability,” said Patterson.
The veterans say they are looking most forward to the bond with fellow soldiers.
“The camaraderie, being around the other soldiers and making new friends. That's something you miss when you get out of the service,” said Brouillette.
“It's always fun just being out here in the atmosphere with other veterans,” said Patterson.
A team atmosphere can generate more confidence for the riders.
“To get out there and say ‘I didn't know I could ride 10-15 miles on a bike after my injury. At the end of the day it's 'boom, high-five, we did it,'” said Kraus
“I'm just looking forward to the ride but it's a team effort,” said Patterson.
There will be two rides, both ending where they started:
Falcon Park Ride
9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (16 miles)
15050 W. Indian School Road, Goodyear, AZ
Saturday, Dec. 2
9:15 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (16 miles)
El Pedregal at the Boulders
34505 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ