Inaugural Face of America Liberty Ride to Manhattan Satisfied Athletes

By Richard Rhinehart

New York, New York, October 13, 2017 – The exceptional power of teamwork and collaboration led 65 adaptive and able-bodied athletes to the successful conclusion of the inaugural Face of America Liberty bicycle and hand cycle ride October 8 for the national non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports.

Preparing for the Face of America Liberty ride.

Athletes prepare for the beginning of the Face of America Liberty at Buffalo Soldier Field in West Point. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

The 54-mile journey from the United States Military Academy at West Point to the World Trade Center in Manhattan offered 15 adaptive military veterans with diverse disabilities the opportunity to ride alongside able-bodied civilians, active-duty military and retired veterans.

Arriving at the Trade Center in the afternoon, the riders relaxed on the steps and reflected in conversations upon their effort with new friends and family and colleagues who met them in New York. Their cycling journey along the Hudson River Valley had begun not long after dawn, and with sometimes-heavy rain showers for the first half of the day, the hazy, warm sunshine in the city was welcome.

Approaching the first rest stop.

Riders approach the first rest stop at Stony Point, New York, south of Bear Mountain State Park. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

Cycling together, up and down the rolling hills of Bear Mountain State Park, heading along the Hudson to New Jersey, the athletes found that teamwork, and providing a helping hand where necessary, led to the success of all participants. Accompanied by skilled ride marshals on bicycles and a trained moto team on motorcycles to direct vehicular traffic around the peloton, the athletes were able to ride in confidence. One adaptive veteran noted afterward that the “ride gave me an opportunity to slow down, enjoy the ride and the company that I was in. It was such a great experience!”

Participating adaptive athletes included men and women who live each day with paralysis, loss of limb, Traumatic Brain Injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress. For most, improving or maintaining physical fitness is an important part of their lives. Many of these athletes previously participated in World T.E.A.M. Sports’ annual Face of America ride to Gettysburg. This two-day ride each April sees more than 600 athletes on two routes, starting from the Pentagon in Arlington and from Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Riding south from Stony Point.

Riders rode south along the west bank of the Hudson River from Stony Point, New York. Photograph by David Rhinehart.

Presenting partner Northwell Health fielded a cycling team for the ride, and also saw employees volunteering for assistance at the two rest stops. Northwell employees also met the ride at the World Trade Center to greet arriving riders and provide assistance. Through their efforts and from the assistance of the ride’s other valued partners, the Face of America Liberty was a memorable day of bicycling that inspired all who pedaled to Manhattan.

Presented by Northwell Health, Face of America Liberty was also supported by partnerships with Cannondale, Hilton Capital Management, Hickory & Tweed, Penske Truck Rental, ProVetus and the Westchester Beemers Motorcycle Club.

View World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Face of America Liberty 2017 Flickr album.

View Paul Tyler’s Face of America 2017 Flickr album.

Jon Brideau addresses the athletes

World T.E.A.M. Sports Executive Director Jon Brideau addresses the athletes during the ride. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

Pedaling at Flywheel Park.

Athletes pedal around Flywheel Park at Piermont, New York for the lunch stop. Photograph by David Rhinehart.

Lunch stop for Face of America Liberty

The privately-owned Flywheel Park included a gazebo where lunch was served to Face of America Liberty athletes. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

Group image at Piermont, New York

Before departing lunch at Piermont, many of the athletes posed for a group photograph. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

Riders arrive at the conclusion in Manhattan

Athletes arrive at the World Trade Center in Manhattan the afternoon of October 8. World T.E.A.M. Sports CEO and President Van Brinson was there to welcome the athletes. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

Relaxing in Manhattan.

Relaxing at the end of the Face of America Liberty ride in Manhattan. Photograph by David Rhinehart.

One of the reflecting pools at the World Trade Center

One of the reflecting pools in the footprint of the former World Trade Center in Manhattan. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

World Trade Center Tower

The new World Trade Center tower was visible to athletes for many miles on route to the ride conclusion. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.