Soldier Ride: Wounded Warriors Bike Across New York

While doing physical therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, one of his therapists thought he'd be a good candidate for Soldier Ride, asked him if he wanted to do it, and he agreed.

"It's pretty cool. I didn't know that Wounded Warrior Project was this big and it's awesome that they would do stuff like this for us," Castillo del Muro said.

For both Klingel and Castillo del Muro, Soldier Ride comes down to the camaraderie.

"We're all family here. I don't have anything different than anybody else," Klingel said.

"It's awesome because you're surrounded by a group of guys who know what you're going through," Castillo del Muro said. "It's a lot easier to talk to them and it's cool to share what happened and see the different kind of injuries and the different kind of places."

Soldier Ride began in 2004 when co-founder Chris Carney of Long Island, New York rode his bike more than 4,000 miles across the country to support Wounded Warrior Project. Another co-founder, Nick Kraus, said this all started as a challenge and was never meant to become an annual event. But as Carney's journey across the country gained attention, two wounded veterans asked if they could join him.

Carney and several veterans continued the rides in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, Soldier Ride switched to a regional ride format with seven rides and has grown every year. This year, there will be a total of 10 regional rides across the country.

"I understand the need that soldiers have as they transition out of the military, into civilian life and I just really want to help," Soldier Ride Director Chris Roberts said.

Roberts said many soldiers who can no longer maintain the physical activity they were used to find riding a bike is a new form of physical fitness. But Roberts notes the benefits of Soldier Ride extend beyond physical activity.

"What is probably one of the most important aspects of Soldier Ride is that these guys can come together as a collective a group, the camaraderie that they build while there on this three or four day ride and becoming friends and sharing stories with one another that they normally wouldn't share with anyone else is really important," Roberts said.

This year, Roberts said he expects all ten national Soldier Ride to raise more than $500,000.

On Thursday, the soldiers will ride about 25 miles from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Friday, they'll continue on a ride through Babylon and Soldier Ride will conclude on Saturday as their ride finishes in the Hamptons. There are registered rides in both Babylon and the Hamptons that are open to public participation, as well.

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