Injured Vets To Cycle, Raise Money, From Atlanta To New Orleans For The UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery 2016 Gulf Coast Challenge

         Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) is a groundbreaking veterans program started in 2008 that organizers said saves lives by restoring hope and purpose. They said it’s all about vets helping vets, and the program serves more than 10,000 of them. Founded on cycling based programs, the program raised $4 million last year.

         In 2015, R2R had 10,000 riders involved in the program who travelled more than 20,500 miles through 32 states.

         Right now, more than 200 injured veterans and their supporters are preparing for the next challenge. They will set off from Atlanta this Sunday, March 6, 2016, for the UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery 2016 Gulf Coast Challenge, a 6 day, rehabilitative ride that ends in New Orleans Friday, March 11.

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         Riders will travel more than 400 miles through Columbus, GA, Montgomery, Selma and Mobile, AL, and Gulfport, MS before ending in New Orleans.  

         “The UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery Challenge Series is all about restoring hope and purpose by providing mental and physical challenges that help veterans get their life back,” John Wordin, Ride 2 Recovery’s president and founder, said. “There are veterans who come to these rides not just to help themselves, but to help each other. This program is unique because the vets set goals for themselves, and we combine hard work with the reward of completing their goal while pushing them past what they thought they could accomplish. For these men and women, the addition of cycling to their physical and mental rehabilitation becomes life-changing.”

         R2R supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs for injured veterans. From indoor spinning training at military installations to multiday, long-distance rides, R2R helps injured veterans heal through the challenge of cycling long distances using hand cycles, recumbents, tandems and traditional upright bikes.

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         The riders said they share many common bonds as veterans, and some said the level of catharsis offered by R2R is unparalleled.

         Ulysses Adams III, USMC, said “Cycling with Ride 2 Recovery has been a tremendous asset to my path towards rehabilitation.”

         Scott Wells, USN, said “I really appreciate the help you gave me in accepting my injuries and in showing me I was not alone.”

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         “Ride 2 Recovery is not just any ordinary program,” Nathan Dewalt, USN, said. “This non-profit organization has changed my life in ways I could have never imagined.”


         R2R now boasts 5 main programs:


         Community and military based recovery and rehabilitation programs that bring the benefits of R2R to more veterans with one important goal: more riders riding more often. 

         Results show 55% of R2R participants that take prescription drugs have reduced or eliminated them, increased ability to perform normal day to day activities, speedier recovery from injuries or conditions, improved general health and fitness, reduced pain and improved sleep.



         Multi-day program events with 200 healing heroes. It is the goal of every Project HERO rider to ride and complete a Challenge ride.



         Community events geared towards raising awareness and funding for the R2R Program and connecting veterans with riders in the local community. Great opportunity for sponsor and donor engagement.



         Programs geared towards off road, racing, and other non-Challenge riding programs for the healing heroes to reach a goal beyond their original expectation.



         Initiative programs are specifically geared to a subset of the R2R heroes and their issues. Programs for male and female sexual assault survivors are the primary Initiatives.


         This is the seventh year that UnitedHealthcare will serve as the Ride 2 Recovery Challenge Series presenting sponsor, providing financial, in-kind and volunteer support to assist in the rehabilitation of America’s injured veterans. UnitedHealthcare is the presenting sponsor of six R2R multiday cycling challenges this year across the nation.

         “We are honored to support this important health program for the men and women who have proudly served our country,” Joseph Ochipinti, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Gulf States Region, said. “Programs such as the UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery Gulf Coast Challenge help provide exercise and rehabilitation services that are critically important to helping injured veterans enjoy a return to the health and well-being they richly deserve. We look forward to riding beside them and embarking on this challenge.”

         UnitedHealth Group reps said The UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery Challenge Series is one of many ways they support veterans and their families. UnitedHealth Group is part of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of major U.S. corporations that share the goal of hiring 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020. UnitedHealth Group reps said they partner with a variety of organizations to help place military and veteran candidates such as the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, RecruitMilitary and the Wounded Warrior Project.

         The public is encouraged to gather along the daily routes or at the hotels to support the cyclists.

         View daily stops and events along the route here


UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery 2016 Gulf Coast Challenge Schedule

Day 1          March 6 – Atlanta, GA to Columbus, GA (Fort Benning)

Day 2          March 7 – Columbus, GA to Montgomery, AL

Day 3          March 8 – Montgomery, AL to Selma, AL

Day 4 –        March 9 – Selma, AL to Mobile, AL

Day 5          March 10 – Mobile, AL to Gulfport, MS

Day 6          March 11 – Gulfport, MS to New Orleans, LA

Day 7          March 12 – Depart



Ride 2 Recovery 2015 Year End Review

• Revenue = $4M

• Admin is 9%

• 10,000 riders in the R2R program

• 105 event days in 2015

• 2,600+ bikes given to participants since 2008

• 230 custom adapted bikes built by R2R

• 20,500+ total miles traveled

• 32 states traveled through

• 6 Challenges events

• 14 Honor Ride events

• 11 Special events

• 70 Project HERO locations nationwide

• 2 Project HERO training camps

• 13 veterans on staff



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