Veterans Riding Recumbent Trikes Begin Trek Across United States
Twenty-two veterans commit suicide each day. That's a number
that former Air Force service members Peter and Kelly Guidry find
unacceptable. The Guidrys also happen to be husband and wife. The couple
decided to find a way to bring attention to the needs of suicidal vets
by journeying across the United States — on recumbent trikes…
Peter and Kelly each flirted with the idea of suicide after they were
discharged, getting through with the help of the Department of Veterans
Affairs. However, they knew other vets might not get the same help.
Peter found that riding a recumbent trike as part of his healing process helped him deal with the thoughts of suicide, and that sparked a much grander idea.
The Guidrys began to build recumbent trikes for other veterans, hoping the combination of exercise and fun would provide useful therapy for vets
with a lot of emotional healing to do. The bikes, which are made out of
repurposed materials, are painted in military shades of green and some
include small trailers to help vets run errands. Injured vets in
particular find the recumbent trikes easy to ride because they don't put
pressure on their damaged legs.
The Guidrys and a posse of other veterans took their triking to a new
level in January 2016 when they set off on a cross-country trip to
Washington, D.C., which they hope to reach by Nov. 11, Veterans Day. The
2,222-mile trip is intended to call attention to those 22 veterans a
day who commit suicide. Their goal is to lower that number.
The Guidrys and their organization, Forgotten Not Gone, aren't the
only ones to take to the streets with the goal of preventing veteran
suicides. In Palo Alto, California, more than 200 vets took off on a
grueling, week-long, 516-mile ride through the Santa Cruz mountains to
raise awareness. The ride, which began with a few veterans in 2008, is
sponsored by Ride 2 Recovery,
which sponsors similar week-long and single-day rides throughout the
United States and Europe.Raising awareness is a great first step, but
the problem of veteran suicide needs more than just awareness.