Tag Archives: disabled

Generous Donation Helps Vermont Injured Veteran Improve Fitness

By Richard Rhinehart

August 12, Barre, Vermont – Returning home following nearly 800 miles of riding from Ottawa, Ontario to Washington, D.C. in World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge, Marine Corps veteran David Santamore was surprised to see a large wooden crate in his driveway. Opening the crate, he discovered within a well-cared-for red Force 2 hand cycle, courtesy of Columbus, Ohio cyclist Paul Martin.

David Santamore and his Force 2 hand cycle.
Marine Corps veteran David Santamore on his new Force 2 hand cycle. Photograph courtesy David Santamore.

“I was very blessed to recover from an injury that we thought would sideline me from cycling and wanted to be a blessing to someone else who may not ever be able to have the outcome I had,” explained Martin of his generous donation. “In particular, I hoped my hand cycle could go to one of our country’s wounded veterans. So my wife and I set out to see if this could be done.”

Contacting Face of America ride participant Josh Sharpe, the Florida injured veteran and Bike-on.com staff member connected Martin with World T.E.A.M. Sports. Through coordination, the Holbrook, New York non-profit arranged for the Force 2 to be shipped to Vermont from Ohio during the latter days of the CanAm.

David Santamore at the CanAm ride start in Ottawa.
Veteran David Santamore on his Freedom Ryder at the start of the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge in Ottawa June 20. World T.E.A.M. Sports staff photograph.

“The experience of the CanAm ride has inspired me to really focus on taking my cycling to the next level,” said Santamore, a Vietnam veteran who lost his left leg above the knee in a 2005 motorcycle accident. “So far, I have to say the new bike is comfortable.”

Recognizing that the Force 2 will help him become a stronger rider, Santamore believes that by using both his new Force 2 and his older Freedom Ryder hand cycles will enhance his “overall fitness and improve my riding.”

“I had difficulty keeping up with the other riders,” explained Santamore of his CanAm ride. “In order to meet certain timelines, it was necessary for me to leave an hour or so early. I would normally finish the day’s ride about an hour after the main body of riders. By doing this, I was able to complete each day’s ride. For me, it was never a question of if I would finish, but when I would finish.”

For Martin, the Force 2 was necessary for him to stay active physically following “a very serious” Achilles injury. “Prior to this injury, I was enjoying many hours riding my road bike as I and my wife are avid cyclists,” Martin recalled. “Within three weeks following my Achilles reconstruction, I was riding my Force 2 hand cycle. I had to highly modify the leg stirrups to accommodate the large metal post-surgical boot I was to wear for months. My Achilles was classified as a complete tear mid-length – no connection – and required an FHL tendon transfer as part of the surgical repair. I was able to put a little more than 1,500 miles on the hand cycle while wearing that boot.”

The CanAm team arrives in Rome, New York.
The CanAm team arrives in Rome, New York to a warm welcome from the local residents. World T.E.A.M. Sports staff photograph.

In his recovery, Martin was permitted by his doctor to transition back to a peddled cycle. Impressed with a three wheel bike his wife purchased to ride near her husband, “I decided to purchase my own Catrike Expedition and slowly transitioned back to foot pedal power.”

Considering the two-week CanAm Veterans’ Challenge to be a stepping stone to future events, Santamore is planning on several events, including the August 24 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. He also is looking forward to future World T.E.A.M. Sports events, such as the Adventure Team Challenge in Colorado.

The Vermont hand cyclist reports the CanAm was “one of the most challenging and humbling events that I have had the pleasure to take part in. While thinking back over the ride, probably the most inspiring moments for me were when we were welcomed by the different towns that we visited or passed through. We saw everything from honks and waves to full-blown parades where we were escorted into town and treated to various meals at a local VFW, American Legion, Boy Scout Troop, or local restaurant.”

“I think my favorite greeting was in Rome, New York,” remembered Santamore. “We were escorted into town by the mayor, police and fire departments. One group of people lining the street was waving a Danish Flag welcoming Jens Sondergaard from Denmark. The overall support of the general public was very inspiring for me and the other riders.”

“Being a Vietnam veteran, it is stirring to have citizens thank you for your service.”

As a 501(c)3 organization, donations to World T.E.A.M. Sports can be tax-deductible. In addition, donations can help athletes like Santamore improve fitness and become more involved in outdoor sporting activities.

David Santamore and his new Force 2 hand cycle.
David Santamore poses on his new Force 2 hand cycle in Vermont. Photograph courtesy David Santamore.

CanAm Veterans’ Challenge: Washington Gallery

by Richard Rhinehart

July 9, 2014, Washington, D.C. – Injured veterans and able-bodied riders with World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge completed their nearly 800 mile journey Friday morning, reaching the Capitol of the United States.

Following a triumphant arrival at the Capitol, the riders accepted an invition by the Canadian federal government to a reception at the Canadian Embassy. Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer welcomed the riders to Washington, and provided access to the building’s impressive top floor views of the Capitol. Serving as the ambassador to the United States since 2009, Ambassador Doer said they would like to play a role in the June 2016 CanAm Veterans’ Challenge ride now in early planning by the non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports.

Riders then pedaled to the staging area for the annual Independence Day Parade on Constitution Avenue, sponsored by the National Park Service. As Hurricane Arthur continued to churn to the northeast, skies cleared and temperatures warmed, providing a fitting end to the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge.

Arlington ride departure.
Riders prepare to depart Arlington, Virginia for the finish in Washington, D.C. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


Veterans lead the way.
Veterans on hand cycles move to the front of the team prior to departure from the Marriott in Arlington. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


CanAm riders at the Capitol.
Participants of the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge pose in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. for the cameras. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


Riding the streets of Washington, D.C.
En route to the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


Arriving at the Canadian Embassy.
Arriving at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


Van Brinson and Gary Doer.
World T.E.A.M. Sports CEO and President Van Brinson (left) talks with Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer July 4. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


Canadian Embassy reception.
Reception at the Canadian Embassy for the CanAm team. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


Team picture at the Canadian Embassy.
From the upper observation deck at the Canadian Embassy, the team poses for a group image in front of the Capitol. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


Waiting for the parade.
The team waits for the start of the Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


Start of the Independence Day Parade.
The CanAm team stands ready for the start of the Independence Day Parade in Washington. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


Big Balloon at the Independence Day Parade.
The Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C. included big balloons, including one behind the CanAm team. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


The CanAm Team in the Independence Day Parade.
The Parade is underway along Constitution Avenue. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.


Bob Clayton at the Parade.
CanAm Veterans’ Challenge rider Bob Clayton enjoys the Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C. Photography courtesy Bob Clayton.


Sorting gear on July 5.
Following the ride conclusion, there are still tasks to accomplish. On July 5, staff members gathered to sort gear and clean rental trucks. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

CanAm Riders Prepare for Final Stage to Capitol

By Richard Rhinehart

July 4, 2014, Arlington, Virginia – Under gray, leaden skies, CanAm Veterans’ Challenge riders are awakening this morning for their final day of the inaugural ride, a ten mile journey across the Potomac River to the Capitol of the United States of America.

Major-General Nicolas Matern.
Canadian Major-General Nicolas Matern joined the CanAm team for the July 3 ride from Frederick, Maryland to Arlington, Virginia. Photograph by Van Brinson.

With Hurricane Arthur churning southeast of the Washington capital region along the Virginia coast, the riders today face scattered showers and breezy conditions. Fortunately, the exceptional heat of the last few days has moved on, courtesy of a passing cold front late on July 3 that brought high winds, frequent lightning and heavy rain.

For many riders, the penultimate day of riding from Frederick, Maryland to Arlington provided an opportunity to reflect upon their journey from Ottawa, the nearly 800 miles passed, the people they met during the ride and the new friends they made along the way. Arriving in Arlington by mid-afternoon, prior to the arrival of the cold front and its heavy thundershowers, the team was able to relax before attending a buffet dinner presented by sponsor Benson Botsford. At the dinner, several riders spoke of their experiences along the journey and staff members were recognized for their many valued contributions during the successful ride across four states and one province.

The schedule for the CanAm’s final day is surprisingly busy. Team members were to depart the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington for the Capitol at 7:45 a.m., arriving for a final ceremony by 8:30. Next on the schedule is breakfast at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, followed by participation in the National Independence Day Parade on the National Mall. Then, the riders are free to explore the capital on the nation’s birthday. Fireworks this evening over the city will cap off the day.

World T.E.A.M. Sports CEO and President Van Brinson announced at the Thursday dinner that although the inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge is ending, the next edition is already in the planning. It is tentatively scheduled for June 2016, following a course from Washington D.C. north into Canada, ending on Canada Day, July 1.

CanAm Riders Reach Maryland July 2

By Richard Rhinehart

July 2, 2014, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – For the injured veterans riding bicycles, recumbent bicycles and hand cycles in the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge, the ride this morning through the historic Gettysburg National Military Park was an emotional experience.

Gettysburg Battlefield
CanAm Veterans’ Challenge riders rode through the historic Gettysburg Battlefield July 2. In April of this year, World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Face of America ride rode many of the same lanes. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

Riding south through the solemn monuments and quiet green fields of the hallowed Civil War battlefield following their Gettysburg departure, the participating veterans could relate to the experience of colleagues in battle. One-hundred fifty-one years ago to this day, Union and Confederate troops were fighting the Civil War’s deadliest battle, with an estimated 46,000 to 51,000 casualties during the three days beginning July 1.

Loys Station Covered Bridge.
The reconstructed Loys Station Covered Bridge north of Frederick, Maryland is a familiar sight on Face of America rides. The CanAm team rode through the bridge July 2. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

Back on familiar ground south of the battlefield, the riders followed much of the same byways and lanes World T.E.A.M. Sports’ annual Face of America ride travels on its annual journey north to Gettysburg from the Pentagon. Hilly northern Maryland near the historic Loys Station Park with its reconstructed covered bridge provided riders with some elevation gains and losses. Yet, with the smaller team of the CanAm, the experience of these roads was different, more intimate.

The CanAm team will spend the evening in Frederick, Maryland, and ride to Arlington, Virginia on July 3. With Tropical Storm Arthur growing along the eastern Florida coast before moving northeast along the Atlantic coast, forecasters call for increasing showers in the coming days, with potential heavy rain on the afternoon and evening of July 3 in the Washington region. The riders of the CanAm look to arrive in Arlington early Thursday afternoon, and hope that Arthur stays to the east, allowing for a rain-free conclusion on July 4 in the capital.

Canada-U.S. veterans ride hits Wyoming Valley

Cyclists en route from Ottawa to Washington

By Steve Mocarsky, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

American Legion Hall welcome sign.
The American Legion Hall welcomed the team. Photograph by Van Brison.

June 28, Wilkes-Barre, PA — Some are blind. Some have artificial limbs. A few of them still can’t sit with their back to a door because of post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet, they’re on a nearly 800-mile bicycle and hand cycle trek to the nation’s capitol.

And they all stopped in the Wyoming Valley on Friday to have dinner and catch some shut-eye.

Twenty disabled veterans from Denmark, Canada and the United States were joined by about 10 able-bodied vets to participate in the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge — a two-week bike ride that started in Ottawa, Ontario and will culminate in Washington, D.C. on July 4.

Marina Libro receives a helping hand on a climb.
Veteran Marina Libro receives a hand on a steep climb June 28. Photograph by Van Brinson.

World T.E.A.M. Sports, the organization collaborating with Soldier On Canada and Wounded Warriors Canada to put on the 766-mile ride, chose Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre as a dinner stop, and the Hilton Garden Inn in Wilkes-Barre Township for the group’s overnight accommodations as the cyclists pass through this part of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Amanda Salvo, Hilton Garden Inn sales manager, said the hotel is providing discounted stays and breakfasts and free drinks at the bar to the cyclists. “What they’re doing is unbelievable; the amount of endurance and stamina they have to go 700-plus miles is remarkable. We’re very honored and proud they chose to stay with us.”

Read the full story at the Times-Leader web site.

500 mile marker.
The CanAm team passed 500 miles on June 29. Photograph by Van Brinson.

The Inspiration of the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge

By Richard Rhinehart

June 29, 2014, Reading, Pennsylvania – World T.E.A.M. Sports videographer and Pomfret School Junior Austin Galusza provides a short video about the inspiration of the inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge.

With 16 participating injured veterans and nine able-bodied riders from the United States, Canada and Denmark, the Challenge provides inspiration to bicyclists both disabled and able-bodied.

The team reached Reading Pennsylvania the afternoon of June 29. Monday, June 30 is a rest day for the team. On Tuesday, July 1, the riders begin the final stretch of four days riding, beginning with a ride to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and ending with the triumphant arrival at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. July 4.

Veterans Head South from Cooperstown

By Richard Rhinehart

Cooperstown, New York, June 26, 2014 – Veteran riders with World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge climbed onto their bicycles, hand cycles and recumbent bicycles this morning for a 77-mile ride south and west to Binghamton, New York. One of the longest days of riding on the schedule for the CanAm team, the riders were on the road early to beat expected thunderstorms in the late afternoon.

Chris Levi and the riders depart Cooperstown.
Veteran Chris Levi and other CanAm Veterans’ Challenge riders depart Cooperstown, New York, June 26. Photograph by Brinson Langley.

Incorporated in 1834, the southern New York city at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers, Binghamton and “the Valley of Opportunity” is home to a quarter million residents. CanAm riders will travel along New York Highway 7 through Oneonta, Sidney and Bainbridge to downtown Washington to the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel for their overnight accommodations.

During Wednesday’s day of rest, the team visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, exploring the various exhibits detailing Major League Baseball’s long history.

On Friday, the team will undertake another long ride – the ride’s longest – 90 miles from Binghamton to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

CanAm Veterans' Challenge team at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown hosted the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge team on June 25. Photograph courtesy Brad Horn, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Veterans, riders receive warm greeting

By Nicole A. Elliott, Rome Sentinel

June 24, 2014 Rome, New York – “Welcome to Rome!”

Bystanders adorned in patriotic red, white and blue, some waving American flags and flashing signs, shouted cheers of encouragement and good wishes as about 27 injured veterans and supporters cycled down West Chestnut Street Monday afternoon.

Rome was among the several small-town stops on a 14-day bicycle trip from Canada to Washington, D.C. by the team of veterans representing three countries — the United States, Canada and Denmark.

Welcoming poster in Rome.
A welcoming poster greeted riders as they arrived in Rome, New York. Photograph courtesy Rome Sentinel.

They were treated to a spaghetti dinner by Rome Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and then enjoyed a hot shower and comfortable bed overnight at the Wingate Hotel at Griffiss Business and Technology Park.

The contingent included 16 injured veterans biking with nine able-bodied riders, also accompanied by support staff in some vehicles, according to the World T.E.A.M. Sports organization, which coordinated the event. The nearly 800-mile trip was geared to build awareness and provide inspiration.

Participants include veterans who served in Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Among their disabilities are loss of limb, paralysis, post-traumatic stress, brain injuries, and blindness in some cases.

Two able-bodied riders are serving as pilots for blind veterans using tandem bicycles, according to World T.E.A.M. Sports.

“The ride does two things: It provides people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in an athletic event of this magnitude and it allows communities to observe people with disabilities and highlights the fact that their disabilities could be merely nuisances and can easily be overcome,” said World T.E.A.M. Chief Executive Officer Van Brinson.

Read the full story at the Rome Sentinel website.