An annual bicycle ride across San Diego County aims to help military veterans wounded on battlefield begin a new path towards healing.
The Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride, held for more than 15 years in different cities across the country, is a 30-mile bike tour for injured veterans.
About 45 wounded warriors will partake in San Diego's two-day ride, which begins in Coronado's Tidelands Park on Thursday and crosses Encinitas and Del Mar.
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The event is free of cost to the veterans, their families and caregivers.
"Initially [the ride is] to engage warriors with one another and build that camaraderie that they used to have in the service," bike technician for Soldier Ride Jeremy Robinette said.
Ultimately, Robinette said, the ride becomes something more to wounded warriors.
"The bike itself becomes a tool for them. It's therapy, it's something that they can get out and requires that narrow focus that kind of takes their head away from everything else," Harmon said.
The day before the event's start, a group of technicians serviced bikes and adaptive equipment for veterans. The veterans are then fitted to their new equipment to ensure their rides are as smooth as possible.
Wounded Warriors Project invites others who spot the group of cyclists on their journey to encourage them to keep going.
Soldier Ride manager, Jonas Harmon, said the ride is ultimately a lesson in not giving up.
"If you're riding up a hill on a bike, it's hard. You want to quit," Hamon said. "Well, that's kind of like life. It's hard. Sometimes you want to quit. Sometimes you wanna stop.
"But if you keep going, the only reason we go uphill is so we can go downhill and that's where life is fun, right? Sometimes you need to overcome those obstacles."