Tag Archives: hand cycle

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.

Cycling Brings Together Veterans

Veterans David Santamore and Harry Carr.
Veterans David Santamore (left) and Harry Carr at the 2014 Face of America ride from World T.E.A.M. Sports. Photograph courtesy Harry Carr.

By Richard Rhinehart

Ottawa, Ontario, June 16, 2014 – For two participants of the inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge, the two week ride to Washington, D.C. from Ottawa beginning this Friday from the steps of Parliament offers an opportunity to build upon a growing friendship with each other, and with other Canadian, American and Danish veterans.

Harry Carr at the Adventure Team Challenge.
At the 2013 Adventure Team Challenge in Colorado, Harry Carr rode his first upright mountain bike in many years. Photograph by Brian Gliba.

Located 80 miles apart by Interstate Highway 89, Air Force veteran Harry Carr, and Marine Corps veteran David Santamore both live in small New England communities. David’s home town, Barre, Vermont, is the larger of the two, with 9,052 residents. To the south, 4,397 residents call New London, New Hampshire home, including Harry. During the 13 days of riding in the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge, Harry and David will ride the equivalent of the distance between their homes three days.

Owing to a service connected neurological condition, Harry has impaired eyesight, and rides a recumbent bicycle. David rides a hand cycle after suffering an above the knee amputation after being hit by a motorist while riding his motorcycle in 2005.

Seeking “to inspire others with life altering situations to rejoin life, fulfill their goals, and beyond,” David sees the CanAm as an opportunity to prepare for upcoming sporting challenges, including a potential invitation to the Sea to Shining Sea cross-country bicycle ride from the non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports.

David Santamore at the 2013 Adventure Team Challenge.
At the 2013 Adventure Team Challenge from World T.E.A.M. Sports, veteran David Santamore rode a tandem mountain bike with the organization’s then-CEO Paul Tyler. Photograph by Brian Gliba.

Harry also is interested in participating in the cross-country journey, tentatively scheduled for 2015. “The CanAm ride is very encouraging to me and I hope to encourage other veterans to participate in cycling events and to continue the esprit de corps among all of our riders,” Harry said.

Having participated in two Face of America rides from World T.E.A.M. Sports, the two veterans also competed in the 2013 Adventure Team Challenge in Colorado. They also participated in the 2013 and 2014 National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinics.

“I have not driven a vehicle for more than ten years,” Harry explained. “In addition to the new freedom that recumbent cycling has given me, it has also given me more confidence in myself and I feel a lot healthier.”

Danish Army Veteran Jens Sondergaard Ready to Ride

Jens Sondergaard.
Danish Army veteran Jens Sondergaard at Army headquarters. Photograph courtesy Jens Sondergaard.

Ottawa, Ontario, June 13, 2014 – In addition to the Canadian and American veterans riding in the inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge, Danish Army veteran Jens Sondergaard is traveling from Denmark to Ottawa for the 18 day ride between capitals.

Jens explains that the Danish flag on his hand cycle in this image is special. “It has been running on two sled teams of Greenland with the Danish Sirius Patrol,” Jens reports. “I will be riding with the flag the last ten miles in Washington at the 4th of July.”

Jens rode with World T.E.A.M. Sports at the Face of America ride from the Pentagon to Gettysburg in late April 2014, so this will be his second event with the national non-profit organization.