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Jul 16, 2019 1:20 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hundreds Of Cyclists Expected For Soldier Ride On Saturday

Participants in the annual Soldier Ride. PRESS FILE
Jul 16, 2019 3:07 PM

More than 50 American wounded warriors from across the nation and four British Armed Forces patients will join the Wounded Warrior Project for its 16th annual Soldier Ride in New York.

Approximately 800 cyclists are expected to participate in the event this year in Amagansett. They will follow a route from the farm field at 551 Montauk Highway in Amagansett through Sag Harbor and back to Amagansett on Saturday, July 20, beginning at 9 a.m.

Chris Carney, one of the founders of Soldier Ride, explained that the Wounded Warrior Project holds Soldier Rides all over the country, but that the original ride set out from in Montauk in 2004.

“In 2004, I went by myself from Montauk to San Diego,” he said over the phone on Tuesday, adding that the 5,000-mile ride helped raise awareness about injured veterans.

Soldiers from all over the country joined at different points in the race. By the time Mr. Carney had finished, 45 soldiers had joined the first-ever Soldier Ride.

Again, in 2005, Mr. Carney made the cross-country ride, this time from Los Angeles to Montauk—with two veterans from the Iraq War who had wounds requiring amputation.

This year, almost 1,000 riders participated in more than 30 Soldier Ride events nationwide.

“We realized the power the ride had,” Mr. Carney said. “It’s magic to see wounded veterans helping other wounded veterans … They feel empowered helping their buddies.”

Soldier Ride uses modified equipment and riding techniques to reintroduce cycling to veterans with visible and invisible injuries. While helping warriors overcome physical, mental and emotional wounds through adaptive exercise, Soldier Ride also reintroduces the bonds of military service to the recovery process.

“It’s about showing them support,” Mr. Carney said, adding that the Town of East Hampton and the local police departments have always been supportive of the event. “It’s a chance to meet the veterans and ride side by side or cheer them on as they ride by.”

Nick Kraus, another founder of the event, was already in New York City on Tuesday afternoon, readying himself for an 80-mile ride beginning on Thursday in the city and ending in Amagansett on Saturday.

“A big thank you to everyone in East Hampton. It really takes the whole community to pull this off, from the fire departments to the American Legion to the local police. The community support is tremendous,” he said.

The East Hampton Town Police have not scheduled any road closures for the event, they said in a press release on Tuesday morning, but the public should expect significant delays on Stephen Hands Path, Route 114, and roads leading into Sag Harbor during the morning hours. Motorists are urged to use caution while traveling along the route. The event is expected to conclude at 12:30 p.m. in Amagansett. Mr. Carney said that veterans should be arriving in town late Friday afternoon, and will have a dinner at The Clubhouse on Daniels Hole Road in East Hampton at around 5:30 p.m. Anyone who wants to stop by and say thank you, or hello, will be welcome, he said.

“It’s been 16 years doing this ride in the Hamptons, and it doesn’t get old,” Mr. Kraus concluded. “We’re happy to support our nation’s veterans.”

For more information, visit woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/soldier-ride.

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