Cyclists to Bike Hundreds of Miles to Raise Funds for Recovering Vets
About 100 cyclists, most from Montgomery County, are gearing up for a 320-mile bike ride will help ease the uphill battle some wounded veterans face in their recovery.
The riders will travel along the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh, Pa. to Smokey Glen Farm in Gaithersburg, starting the ride Oct. 2 and ending Oct. 5. They are raising funds to benefit Operation Second Chance, an organization that helps wounded warriors with anything from groceries to home repairs.
Ride Allegheny was founded in the months preceding the 9-11 attacks as six men from Gaithersburg were slated to embark for Pittsburgh, Pa. on Sept. 12, 2001. Four years later Ride Allegheny partnered with a fledgling nonprofit organization called Operation Second Chance that supports wounded men and woman recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This month Operation Second Chance celebrated its 10th anniversary as a nonprofit and the Ride continues to be its biggest contributor.
One of the Ride Allegheny founders, Clark Wagner of Kentlands, said the ride is grueling to those who haven’t trained.
“We have had guys in their late 70s who were experienced cyclists. You really do have to do some preparation. We have some who like to ride fast to those who take their time and want to get to start to finish,” Wagner said.
Each Ride participant is asked to raise funds for OSC. Its first year 20 riders raised $16,000. In 2013 the event raised more than $300,000 with 85 registrants. This year riders are again looking to clear the $300,000 mark.
Paul Lumsden of Gaithersburg is returning to the race for his second ride. He’s got a fundraising goal of $2,500.
“It’s a great cause” is the standard reply but in addition to that, it’s a good physical challenge, great group of people and the ride itself is a blast,” he told MyMCMedia Friday.
According to Dave Baseheart, who is in charge of managing the ride every October, “this year we’ll have the challenge of accommodating many more riders coming from 14 different states across the country, but we are prepared to give them the ride of their life”.
Operation Second Chance has offices in Germantown helps veterans by doing things such as paying rent for families facing eviction; securing flights for soldiers to travel home between surgeries; donating grocery gift cards and other services.
Ninety percent of Ride Allegheny funds raised are directly donated to Operation Second Chance.