Around the country, thousands of veterans with physical and emotional barriers are looking at a date on the calendar and a city on a map, and dreaming about how they will smash through those barriers.
The Wounded Warrior Project announced Wednesday the national tour schedule for Soldier Ride, a one-day cycling event to help wounded warriors battle through the physical and psychological damages of war and to give the public a chance to ride alongside and honor them.
Retired Marine Jimmy Klingel, 29, told ABC News last summer he traveled from Wooster, Ohio, to New York City for his third ride. While in Iraq in 2003, an RPG launched shrapnel into his backside, thigh and arms, stole his hearing in one ear and left him with TBI. A year to the day later, a roadside bomb hit his humvee, broke both his arms, his legs and his back; four other passengers died.
Because of his back injury, Klingel rode a two-wheel hybrid bike during the ride that allowed him to remain upright.
Warriors of all ability levels cycle in Soldier Ride. There are state-of-the-art adaptive hand cycles, trikes, and bicycles to accommodate warriors with various injuries and disabilities, as well as unmodified road bikes for riders not requiring adaptive equipment. WWP provides equipment and support at no cost to warriors. The Soldier Ride’s environment is meant to be positive and to let warriors know they are not alone.
“We’re all family here,” Klingel said. “I don’t have anything different than anybody else.”
The tour schedule includes 12 dates, in 12 cities, from Feb. 20 to Nov. 12. Every Soldier Ride date is open to the public to ride alongside (the fundraising minimum is $125). A * denotes there will also be an “Honor Ride,” the day before, open to businesses who are sponsoring Soldier Ride (fundraising minimum is $2,000).
•Feb. 20: Tampa, Fla.
•March 26: San Diego, Calif.*
•April 9: Jacksonville, Fla.
•April 30: Washington, D.C.*
•May 21: Charlotte, N.C.*
•June 4: Chicago, Ill.*
•July 22: Long Island, N.Y.*
•July 23: Hamptons, N.Y.
•Aug. 27: Boston, Mass.*
•Sept. 17: Seattle, Wash.*
•Sept. 24: Nashville, Tenn.
•Oct. 22: Phoenix, Ariz.*
•Nov. 12: San Antonio, Tex.*