Puerto Rico has some of the best terrain for adventuring, whether it be kayaking in a bay, riding horses along a beach, zip lining over the tops of trees in the jungle, mountain biking down forest paths, or cycling along paved bike paths. However, finding accessible recreation has been tough. Emily and I know with the right mind set we can figure out any of these activities. Recreation businesses aren’t as optimistic as we are. We’ve traveled most the island searching for adventures and Emily’s determination in finding someone who would give us a shot finally paid off.
After calling just about every bike shop in Puerto Rico searching for a handcycle we finally found luck. We were searching for an adventure and that’s exactly what we found.
Emily reached out to Chris the paddle sport and cycling manager from Adaptive Adventures on Facebook. He was stoked and wanted to ride with us so he put a ride together the same day we were leaving the resort!
We met Chris and Michael, the only handcycist who rode the 300 mile ride around Puerto Rico and a whole crew of cyclists at Paseo Lineal Rio Bayamón It was completely destroyed after Hurricane Sandy but quickly rebuilt because it’s a very popular and needed recreation area. The paved cycling paths and walking paths are perfect for keeping people off the unsafe roads. It’s great for advanced, intermediate and beginner recreational enthusiasts.
Chris has been visiting Puerto Rico often helping friends Carlos and Jose’s non-profit Warriors 4 Life. In an earlier blog I mentioned how Puerto Ricans are able to enlist in the US military and how many do. These soldiers are deployed in war zones and see combat just like any other soldier. They often come back with battle scars. Some visible (amputee, spinal cord injury etc.) and some not visible (PTSD, substance abuse, anxiety, depression etc.) The VA is present but for Puerto Rican veterans there aren’t many programs to help after their return from deployment. This is where Warriors 4 Life meets a huge need.
The program was founded by military veterans who needed an outlet that wasn’t available. With the help of Adaptive Adventures, Warriors 4 Life Is launching a new cycling program. It’s not only for veterans though. Any person with a want to cycle can reach out and get on a bike. The equipment is brand spanking new too! I rode an Invacare Top End Force G handcycle, which is one of the most popular and best designed for recreational riding.
Besides privately owned adapted bikes the only 22 cycles on the island are owned by Warriors 4 Life. They have 8 handcycles, 14 adapted trikes and bikes.
Being on a bike in Puerto Rico felt amazing but what I loved most was the community riding with me. First, sharing my passion for cycling with Emily makes my heart happy. This was only our second ride together.
Second, Emily and I both have fathers who are veterans so riding alongside veterans reminded us of being with our families. And lastly, non veteran and non disabled cyclists came out to pedal along side us just to show love and support. Our ride was filled with laughter, joy and even a little bit of rain.
Emily and I didn’t know that seeking an adventure like this was going to lead to new friendships.
We are forever grateful for the whole crew who came out to support us in a 14 mile ride. This is exactly what we look for when we travel.
It’s getting close to the end of the year and you may need to do some donating or you just want to help a great cause. Please donate to Warriors 4 Life in Puerto Rico. They could use your help in helping our service members and their local community.
After the ride, Emily and I got back on the road. Next we visited the second largest city in Puerto Rico, Ponce. We mix in with the locals. You don’t want to miss what’s coming up. Don’t forget to follow our journey on social media.