Wounded vets on bike trek will be welcomed into Park City | ParkRecord.com

Wounded vets on bike trek will be welcomed into Park City

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The route from sea to shining sea will go through Park City later in June.

The Sea to Shining Sea bicycle ride that takes wounded veterans across the country is scheduled to stop in Park City on June 14, when the riders will arrive from Salt Lake City. They will stay the night in Park City before leaving for Roosevelt the next morning, a 110-mile leg that is one of the longest of the ride.

The organizers want to mark the arrival of the riders in Park City with a celebration. Paperwork has been submitted to City Hall, but a route through Park City has not been finalized.

Heinrich Deters, a City Hall staffer who is involved with the talks with the organizers, said the municipal government wants to honor the veterans with some sort of event.

He said he has contacted organizations like the National Ability Center to discuss ideas. Deters said Park City’s veterans might also be involved on June 14.

The organizers of the event, a not-for-profit organization based on Long Island, N.Y., called World T.E.A.M. Sports, said some cities hold low-key events when the riders arrive and others schedule a larger welcoming involving dinners, speakers and presentations.

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Richard Rhinehart, a spokesman for Sea to Shining Sea, said the veterans trekking across the U.S. enjoy being welcomed when they reach a community. He said they speak to the crowds about their military service and about the ride itself. Rhinehart said the veterans also speak to disabled people at the stops, explaining that staying active can improve someone’s life.

"The riders are absolutely delighted with anything local communities do as far as their arrival," he said.

The ride started on Memorial Day in San Francisco and is scheduled to reach its destination, Virginia Beach, Va., on July 28. It is the second cross-country ride following one in 2010.

Sixteen veterans are participating. Some were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan while others are veterans of the Vietnam War or the conflict in Bosnia. Approximately 40 people between the riders and the support staff are traveling and will be stopping in Park City.

The riders are using different sorts of bicycles depending on their capabilities. Some are riding road bikes while others are on handcycles, which are powered by the rider’s arms, or on recumbent bicycles, which allows a rider to pedal while in a seated position.

Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council in late 2011 were informed that the ride might stop in Park City, and at the time the elected officials appeared interested in hosting the riders.

More information about Sea to Shining Sea is available on the ride’s website, http://www.s2ssbikeride.org.