MARINE CORPS AIRSTATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
More than 300 riders of all types crowded the air station Saturday to participate in the Lt. Dan Bike Ride, part of the Lt. Dan weekend that took place at several locations in Beaufort to honor disabled veterans.
“The purpose was to promote awareness of what reality is for our veterans,” said Rosa Robertson, the organizer of the bike ride. “They are coming back (from combat) and they need assistance and support.”
The ride allowed cyclists to travel the 11 mile loop that circles Fightertown’s runways.
The flat terrain, scenic route and traffic-free environment made it the perfect place to host the event. Riders were allowed to circle the loop from 8 a.m. until noon as many times as they wanted.
“The Air Station was the perfect place due to the lack of traffic,” Robertson said. “It was a safe route, no need to worry about city traffic or anything like that. Being on a military installation was perfect because who better to support our troops than ourselves.”
For many of the veterans it was their first chance to ride a bicycle since they were injured and they couldn’t be more appreciative.
“I just wanted to make it to the finish,” said Sean Phillips, a disabled veteran who rode Saturday. “The excitement and the people were the best things about today.”
Many of the veterans benefited from cycles donated by the Little Red Dog Foundation and Ambucs chapters from all over the nation. Each cycle was specially equipped to meet their individual needs.
The ride featured a wide range of skill levels, from speedsters riding custom road bikes to children only a step above training wheels.
For many who participated it wasn’t about their skill level or winning a race, the event was for a greater purpose.
“It was an opportunity for us to spend time together as well as share our support for our fellow service members,” said retired Gunnery Sgt. Steven Bosely “It is an inspiration to see the people who have been wounded overcome those difficult barriers with support from the public. I’m glad I could support and help, because I am sure they would do it if I was in their situation.”
Many patrons only did one lap, several raced the whole four hours, but everyone who came to the ride got to ride scenic perimeter road, enjoy a traffic free event and most importantly support their veterans.
“It was a wonderful turnout, we couldn’t have asked for a better day to have this event,” said Robertson, a former Marine herself. “The weather was perfect, people were in a great mood, and the support from the community was unbelievable.”