More than 100 wounded military veterans and their supporters passed through SLO County Oct. 18 to the flag waving cheers of school kids during the 2017 United Healthcare California Challenge. The vets rode450 miles, from San Francisco to Los Angeles from Oct. 15-2, including a trek from San Simeon to Pismo Beach via Cambria, Cayucos and Morro Bay.
According to a news release, “The California Challenge is a collaboration between United Healthcare and Project Hero, a national non-profit organization that helps veterans and first responders affected by injury, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and traumatic brain injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives.”
The riders, who each has his or her own unique physical challenges, rode hand cycles, recumbent cycles, adaptive bikes, traditional road bikes and even custom tandem cycles.
Locally, the vets spent the night in San Simeon at the Sands by the Sea, and the next morning rode south on Hwy 1, including through Morro Bay High School, where they were greeted and cheered on by students. They had lunch at the American Legion Post on Mill Street in SLO.
In Pismo Beach, school kids at Shell Beach Elementary School lined the roadway, slapping hands with the riders as they went past.
They spent the night at the Pismo Lighthouse Suites and rode the next day 74 miles down to Solvang.
According to a news release, “Founded in 2008, Project Hero is a groundbreaking national non-profit organization dedicated to helping Veterans and First Responders affected by PTSD, TBI and injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives and increasing awareness of the national mental health crisis posed by PTSD and TBI.
Project Hero programs work by producing positive outcomes at lower costs and reducing drug-based therapies. Project Hero builds and provides adaptive bikes to physically-challenged and injured Veterans and First Responders and has helped tens of thousands of our Healing Heroes at no cost to participants through cycling events, community-based programs in more than 50 cities throughout the US and by supporting research.” For more information, see: www.projecthero.org.
Photos courtesy Project Hero