Friday’s heat didn’t stop riders from taking on the 25-mile Soldier Ride in Babylon Town.
The race, which is organized by the Wounded Warrior Project, brings together wounded veterans with civilians who trek together on a bike ride through the town. The yearly ride begins at Babylon Town Hall in Lindenhurst and heads across the Robert Moses Causeway and finishes at Overlook Beach with a community picnic.
In its 16th annual year, the Babylon ride raised over $80,000, with proceeds split evenly with Long Island Cares and the Wounded Warrior Project.
“The support this year is stronger than ever,” said Vesta Anderson of the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Wounded Warrior Project hosts community rides in towns and cities across the U.S., but the two races on Long Island — Babylon Town and another on the South Fork — hold the most history.
The concept was derived from Long Islander Chis Carney, who rode from the Hamptons to San Diego to raise awareness for wounded warriors.
“One of the warriors [Carney] learned of was John Fernandez, an Army veteran who was severely injured while deployed to Iraq in 2003,” explained Anderson. “John was with us through the ride this week to help us honor the 16th consecutive year that Soldier Ride has been coming to New York City and Long Island.
This year’s races also got an extra boost for the wounded warriors, as the NFL donated new, adaptive bicycles for the veterans who race.
“Thanks to the selfless support of our donors, warriors are connected to programs and resources that help them overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds,” said Anderson.
Top: Cyclists racing down Robert Moses Causeway for the annual Babylon Soldier Ride. (Credit: Facebook)