'Healing heroes' are riding through Minnesota

150 veterans and first responders are cycling 500 miles
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A special kind of bike ride got underway in Minnesota Monday. It's for military veterans and first responders who were injured during their service. The 150 riders will spend eight days making their way from the Twin Cities through the Chicago area, using hand cycles, recumbent cycles, adaptive bikes, and traditional road bikes to cover more than 500 miles. 

It's the UnitedHealthcare Great Lakes Challenge, which is a collaboration with Project Hero

Cyclists went from the Twin Cities to Rochester on day one, in what's described as a non-competitive, therapeutic ride. 

What's Project Hero?

Since 2008 Project Hero has been using cycling to help injured veterans and first responders, especially those affected by post traumatic stress or brain injuries. 

The group builds adaptive bikes and donates them to veterans, who often use them in rides that raise money for other "healing heroes." You can donate to Project Hero here

Many of their events are one-day Honor Rides, but United Healthcare is sponsoring five multi-day events around the country this year, including the Great Lakes Challenge, which has a route designed to take in historic sites and local attractions along the way.

John Wordin, the founder of Project Hero, says the multi-day rides provide an "opportunity for a life-changing experience that supports mental and physical rehabilitation and recovery." 

The riders will leave Rochester Tuesday morning for La Crosse. In Wisconsin they'll also camp at Reedsburg, Madison, and Lake Geneva. Then come stops in Palatine, Illinois, and Chicago before the ride ends in Evanston on Aug. 14.

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