'Healing heroes' are riding through Minnesota

150 veterans and first responders are cycling 500 miles

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.

Next Up

Minneapolis police

Vehicle runs over 2 people in downtown Minneapolis brawl

Two suspects have reportedly been identified.

Jorge Alcala

Rare night for Twins' bullpen fuels victory over Cardinals

The Twins scored five runs in the third inning in an 8-1 victory.

Bisi Johnson

Report: Bisi Johnson tears ACL, will miss 2021 season

Johnson suffered the injury during Friday's practice.

Mike Zimmer

Frustrated Zimmer sounds off after Vikings' positive COVID test

"I’m frustrated, not just with my football players who didn’t get vaccinated, but I’m frustrated with everybody [who didn't]."

Kirk Cousins

Report: Kellen Mond has COVID, Cousins among players out of practice

The team is scheduled to practice on Saturday night.

USPS packages

Two Ramsey County men sentenced in mail theft scheme

Sonny Vang Xiong was sentenced to three years in prison, while Davis Her was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

Jeff Gladney

Jeff Gladney's ex-girlfriend files $1 million civil lawsuit

The civil lawsuit accuses Gladney of assaulting the woman for over two hours.

vaccine, covid

St. Paul care home group will mandate COVID vaccines for staff

It comes amid reports of COVID outbreaks at homes where residents are all vaccinated, but staff are not.

Jail handcuffs arrest

Starbuck man charged with uploading, sharing child pornography

The 47-year-old was arrested after a tip from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.


Boy, 11, seriously injured after 'fall' that police now suspect was abuse

It was initially reported that the boy slipped and fell.


A bomb-sniffing K9 from Minnesota could be America's Hero Dog

It would be a posthumous award for Adak, who lived in St. Cloud.

A tiny Minnesota town is getting its war hero back

There'll be a funeral for him more than 75 years after he died.

A tiny Minnesota town is getting its war hero back

There'll be a funeral for him more than 75 years after he died.

Image from iOS (45)

Minnesota Zoo's drive-through experience is a short but sweet ride

The zoo is launching the drive-thru experience amid the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown.

After vandals hit Ely's veterans memorial, a MN business steps in to help

5 trees that were cut and pulled down were part of a memorial to Ely veterans.

The cost of riding a bus or train is going up

A fare hike for Twin Cities transit starts this fall

No cross, no Satan: A MN town cancels its 'free speech' zone

Belle Plaine is worn down by months of debates about free speech and church/state.