A Ride in the Park - Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
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Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System

 

A Ride in the Park

A Veteran rides an adaptive bicycle

Iraq War Veteran Joseph Allwood rides an adaptive bicycle on June 10 in Honor Heights Park.

By Nathan Schaeffer
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC) Adaptive Sports Program partnered with The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges in Tulsa to hold an Adaptive Cycling Ride for Veterans on June 10 in Muskogee.

For two hours, Veterans and their families peddled adaptive bicycles through scenic Honor Heights Park, which were provided by The Center.

Iraq War Veteran Joseph Allwood had never ridden an adaptive bicycle before and decided to drive from Westfield, Okla., to learn more about the bicycles and spend time in the park with his family and other Veterans.

“(I came today) to have fun riding bikes, enjoy the weather and enjoy being around other Veterans,” said Allwood. “My wife encouraged me. My wife is riding a bike and my two sons are riding. I’m trying to lose weight.”

In October 2013, JCMVAMC developed an Adaptive Sports Program for Veterans with physical and visual disabilities to give them the opportunity to become involved in adaptive sports, outdoor recreation, fitness programs and leisure activity.

Since then, JCMVAMC and The Center have held several adaptive cycling clinics for Veterans in the medical center atrium. But the event on June 10 was the first held outdoors.

A Veteran rides an adaptive bicycle

Vietnam Veteran David Wilson rides an adaptive bicycle on June 10 in Honor Heights Park.

Vietnam Veteran David Wilson, who has participated in previous clinics at the medical center, was thrilled the ride was held in Honor Heights Park.

“I think this is a better opportunity to really check them out,” said Wilson, who served two tours in Vietnam. “We’ve got hills and curves and longer distances.”

While Wilson exercises on a stationary bicycle at home, he said he enjoyed the opportunity to get outside and exercise with other Veterans.

“I ride a stationary bike all the time, but it gets really boring,” said Wilson. “Just being outdoors is a whole lot better than being indoors and we ended up with a decent day. We had a good turnout of Veterans.”

After the ride, Veterans and their families were treated to a cookout which was also provided by The Center.

Margie Crossno, the Program Coordinator of Adaptive Recreation and Volunteer Services for The Center, said her organization partnered with VA to educate Veterans and the public about the benefits of adaptive bicycles.

“It’s a great day to ride and anytime we can share our cycles with other individuals and spark that interest, it’s worth it,” said Crossno. “We just like to partner with other groups and try to build community interest. Partnering with the VA has been great for us.”

A Veteran rides an adaptive bicycle

Navy Veteran Michael Menasco rides an adaptive bicycle on June 10 in Honor Heights Park.

Upcoming Adaptive Cycling Rides

Every month through September, JCMVAMC and the Center will hold either an Adaptive Cycling Ride in the community or a clinic at the medical center.

The next Adaptive Cycling Ride will be held July 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at Civitan Park in Muskogee. The park is located at 3301 Gibson St. The adaptive bicycles will be provided by The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges in Tulsa.

To RSVP, please contact Meghan Collins at 918-577-3874.

Interested in an Adaptive Bicycle?

Since JCMVAMC created the Adaptive Sports Program, many Veterans have expressed interest in getting an adaptive bicycle.

Eligible Veterans may be able to receive a free adaptive bicycle through VA or AMBUCS, Inc. Contact Meghan Collins at 918-577-3874 to learn more about the application process and eligibility requirements.

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