Every year we see hundreds of teams rally together to take on United Energy Around the Bay as a unit, with many riding for a cause close to their heart – and this year is no exception!
Soldier On is one team joining us for the third year in a row, having built a special bond between the returned service men and women in their community, and the social, mental and physical health benefits of riding a bike.
Soldier On is an organisation that works side-by-side with those who serve and protect Australia, and their families, to H.E.L.P secure their futures (through Health, Employment, Learning and Participation initiatives).
The bike riding connection blossomed in 2016 when the Soldier On team ran a Melbourne social ride for 30 current and ex service men and women in conjunction with Veteran Health Week. The feedback from those involved was overwhelmingly positive.
Of course, we know a lot about the physical and mental health benefits associated with spinning the wheels of your bike. But for the members of the Solder On community – many of who are living with PTSD, anxiety, and face many issues reintegrating with society post-service – the true benefit came from the social side of bike riding.
Having a team of people from similar backgrounds coming together to complete a shared goal provides a unique opportunity to socialise and support each other. This hit a chord with the members of the Solder On community.
Looking to build on the connections that were formed during Veteran Health Week in 2016, the group looked to Melbourne’s biggest celebration of bike riding in 2017, United Energy Around the Bay.
Partnering with RSL Active for the event, the Soldier On team grew to include service men and women from right around the country, converging on Melbourne in early October to don their team jerseys and join the sea of colour that rides around the bay.
2018 saw friends and family of the Soldier On community wanting to join the celebrations, and the team spread out across the 50km, 100km and 210km ride options.
One member of the team, Damien Cox, expressed his gratitude “for the wonderful experience gained from my daughter and I attending the United Energy Around the Bay event."
“My daughter is 13 and it is the furthest ride she and I have ever done. It certainly was a fantastic experience,” he wrote in the Soldier On newsletter.
With just over six weeks until this year’s ride, Soldier On are currently sitting second on the teams leaderboard, with 78 registered riders. Their 2019 jerseys are on the production line, and they’re ready to play their special role in the best day on the bike all year.
We look forward to seeing them out there!