Vets arrive in Philly after 400-mile ride

 In this 2010 photo, participants ‘Ride 2 Recovery’ in the Rocky Mountain Challenge while active servicemen and women cheer along the riders. (Image courtesy of Ride2Recovery)

In this 2010 photo, participants ‘Ride 2 Recovery’ in the Rocky Mountain Challenge while active servicemen and women cheer along the riders. (Image courtesy of Ride2Recovery)

On Saturday, a group of disabled veterans and their supporters will ride into Philadelphia.

Cyclists on the Ride 2 Recovery will have travelled more than 400 miles when this journey ends. Their mission, to improve the health and wellness of veterans, continues.

Speaking from the road this week, 26-year-old Juan Carlos Hernandez said he began cycling six months after losing his leg in Afghanistan in 2009. He was serving as specialist in the Army, and a rocket-propelled grenade hit his helicopter during a night mission.

Hernandez, who spoke by phone after a day’s ride of almost 80 miles using a special prosthetic, said his group had visited an elementary and middle school that had asked them to come by.

“It was really cool to go by and say hi to the kids and see them waving the American flag and just screaming and yelling,” he said. “It was really really heartwarming and touching.”

Hernandez said the riders pushed each other along, literally, during a hilly day of riding. 

The trip was timed to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. A group of New York firefighters joined the riders on their journey.

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