Being proactive in communities and contributing to important causes around the world is a key component of adventure motorcycling for many. What we found in our moto-centric group are big-hearted individuals who use motorbikes as the catalyst, and often the tools, for giving back. Taking on such projects requires one heck of a lot of effort, and there are a few organizations out there pooling their resources to ensure not just the community around them, but also the world, is a better place. To bring some of these folks and their projects to your attention, we talked to a few of them about their organizations.
MOTOR CYCLE RELIEF
NDV Tell us how motorcycles have influenced your organization.
TOM LARSON : Motorcycles provide the common denominator that draws veterans and first responders to our program. We put on five-day “Relief Rides” in which we take participants into the Colorado mountains or the Arizona desert and provide a professional instructor to teach them how to ride ADV bikes. We have a fleet of 14 BMW adventure bikes available for the rides for those who do not have their own. And instructors from RawHyde Adventures, BMW Performance Center, Dragoo Adventure Rider Training, and West38Moto have been providing us with top-notch coaching. We do amazing rides and then return to the lodge for dinner, followed by evening workshops to teach concepts and tools for getting “unstuck” and on the road to better directions in life. The passion for motorcycling creates a common bond, helping to establish the trust and camaraderie necessary for our groups to be effective.Pretty much everyone who’s involved in our program—staff, participants, volunteers and donors—understands the therapeutic benefits of riding and sees what a great tool it is for bringing people together to blow off steam and to work on their unresolved issues. Motorcycles are at the center of what we do as a nonprofit.
NDV What inspired you to get involved in philanthropic work?
TL: Although I didn’t serve in the military, I’ve had to deal with issues of depression, anxiety, anger and resentment. At one point I realized that if my own relatively mild condition interferes with my life as much as it does, then it has to be exceedingly more difficult for those who’ve been through much more intense trauma. I also realized that when I ride, all the noise in my head seems to fade away. One day while reading a motorcycle magazine, I had the light bulb moment of using ADV bikes in the mountains of Colorado to help kickstart the healing process for men and women stuck in dark places, struggling to see any light at the end of their tunnels.
NDV Who is impacted the most by the work your organization does?
TL:Our participants are primarily military veterans and first responders who struggle with PTSD and related issues like depression and anxiety. Their trauma isn’t exclusive to combat, we’ve also had participants share trauma related to sexual assault, substance abuse, domestic violence, murder, suicide, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, motor vehicle accidents, search and rescue operations, and many other traumatic events related to hazardous occupations. We don’t limit participation to any specific category of trauma. Although the majority of our participants are combat veterans, we’ve also served first responders who were at the World Trade Center on 9/11 as well as other police, firefighters and EMS personnel who’ve been deeply emotionally affected by intense situations relating to or as a result of their jobs.
NDV How has CV19 affected your efforts?
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