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Wounded Warriors Highway of Heroes Bike Ride rolls into Port Hope

By PETE FISHER, Northumberland Today

PORT HOPE - 

Cyclists from the second annual Wounded Warriors Highway of Heroes Bike Ride rode into Port Hope on Saturday afternoon.

Ninety cyclists started their journey on Saturday morning at the Afghanistan Memorial just outside CFB Trenton and rode their bikes through the countryside of Northumberland County to the Port Hope Police Service station for lunch before heading out to Bowmanville to complete the 120-kilometre first leg of their two-day journey to Queen’s Park in Toronto.

Each rider raised at least $1,000 to participate in the journey with some raising much more.

Participants in the ride were veterans, members of first responders including members of the York Regional Police Service, fire and paramedics, Invictus Games team members as well as friends, family members and other supporters.

Steven Topham, who is the ride director for the Highway of Heroes Bike Ride, said the purpose of the ride is to raise funds and awareness for occupational stress injuries.

Last year the riders took a break in Memorial Park in Port Hope, but changed the stop this time because as of Jan. 1 this year, Wounded Warriors has opened up their programs to emergency responders.

“When we’re trying to bring in the first responder community, and knowing Chief Wood (Port Hope Police Chief Bryant Wood) from high school, I thought this would be the perfect spot to have our lunch and incorporate our first responder aspect,” Topham said of the PHPS station.

For most of the day, the riders faced a strong headwind, but persevered through it.

“Anyone that lives in this area realizes that roads aren’t the flattest of routes, but the riders tackled it very well today,” Topham said. “Our westward trending route is heading straight into that wind head on. It’s taken a bit of a bite out of the cyclists legs but they are in great spirits.”

Topham said the ride “started as a way of getting our veterans interacting and getting them out of their basements and self isolating.”

While this is just the second ride, Topham said the planning had been in the works for several years.

“There is a lot of healing taking place during these rides,” he said. “You’ve got a group of people that can share their stories, share their injuries and their tales and help each other through some dark times.”

The Port Hope Police Association presented a cheque of $250 towards the Highway of Heroes Bike Ride while the cyclists stopped for lunch.

Out of every dollar that is raised, 80 cents goes towards programming.

pfisher@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/NT_pfisher