Racing season came early to Homestead- Miami Speedway on Oct. 19. Although Ford Championship Weekend is rapidly approaching (Nov. 14-16), more than 700 members of the Everglades Bicycle Club (EBC) participated in the 12th annual Freedom Ride, in which the Speedway served as the center of attention.
The event benefitted the Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, a branch of Achilles International. More than 100 spectators lined the various routes along which the race was run.
The Freedom Team of handcyclists, accompanied by sponsoring cyclist-buddies, led the group of bicyclists on the ride, which began with a lap around the 1.5-mile track that hosts NASCAR’s Championships in November.
Sunday’s event hosted several different courses, ranging from 10 to 100 miles through rural South Miami-Dade County and Key Largo. The Honda Gold Wing motorcycle club served as Freedom Team escorts, ensuring safe passage for all riders on heavily trafficked and narrow roads.
Following the ride, Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted a Family Festival for riders and their families, where they were treated to music, entertainment and lunch.
A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to the Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, a program launched in 2004 by Achilles International, giving military veterans an opportunity to be active, build confidence and self-esteem, and achieve personal growth and goals.
The Freedom Team uses handcycles to ride and compete in marathons and cycling events, overcoming physical limitations by using cycling as a way to rehabilitate, train and participate in mainstream athletic endeavors. The local Achilles International chapter works with the Miami VA Hospital and Jackson Health System in providing support and services for these wounded veterans.
Miami-Dade County Parks Department works with Achilles in providing park space for training rides and competitions, as well as storage space for the handcycles at the Homestead Air Reserve Park.
EBC supports our military veterans and welcomes all cyclists, regardless of ability, to join and become part of the cycling community.