Motorcycle Relief Project
You served us. Now it’s time for us to serve you.
Ok, we understand that this might be a little uncomfortable for some of you. We know that you might not always be able to accept it when someone thanks you for your service, or that you don’t always feel worthy of someone’s gratitude or admiration just because you wore the uniform. We get that. But we also recognize that serving in the military or as a first responder is hard work. In difficult circumstances. With high demands and intense pressure. And for many of you, serving came at a great personal cost. So, no matter how you may feel about your motives for serving or what you did or didn’t do while you were over there, the fact remains that you served. And that alone is enough for us to want to serve you back. Besides, it’s not like having someone serve you must be torture. In fact, we’re pretty sure that the way we want to serve you will be something you’ll enjoy. A lot. Read more.
VETERAN RELIEF RIDES
Relief Rides are 5-day dual-sport motorcycle tours and are specifically designed to provide relief to veterans with PTSD and related issues. Rides include a combination of on-road and moderate off-road riding. Participants get to ride on some of the most scenic two-lane roads in the country as well as some amazing jeep trails and forest roads. Participants must have at least a year of experience riding motorcycles, but no previous off-road experience is required.
HOW WE RIDE
Rides are controlled with a lead rider in front and a sweep rider in back, and all participants are asked to ride with safety as the main priority.
Our rides are about getting out in nature and enjoying scenery and camaraderie with other riders. Our rides are not about showing off, being competitive, or pushing the limits.
A support vehicle will carry participants’ luggage as well as food, tools, etc.
Riders who already own a dual-sport or adventure bike are encouraged to bring their own bikes.
Riders who do not already own an adventure bike are provided the use of a BMW GS adventure bike from our fleet of bikes that includes G650GS, F650GS, F800GS, and R1200GS models.
Accommodations will be in comfortable lodges, where group members will be able to unwind from the day’s adventures and join in group discussions around the lodge fireplace.
Participants will learn simple techniques for relaxing and dealing with trauma that can help them better manage their internal stress and move toward recovery.
Participants in Relief Rides are sponsored by generous donors and corporate sponsors who are concerned about the toll that serving in the military takes on many of the men and women of our armed forces.
2021 RELIEF RIDE DATES
- Feb 28 – Mar 6 (Tucson)
- Apr 18-24 (Tucson)
- Apr 25 – May 1 (Tucson)
- Jun 7-11 (Colorado)
- July ride, 11-17 (Colorado)
- Oct 24-30 (Tucson)
- Sep 12-18 – (Colorado)
- Oct 31 – Nov 6 (Tucson)
- Out-of-town participants arrive in Denver and are picked up at the airport
- Welcome Dinner & Introductions
- Orientation & safety briefing at MRP shop
- Ride twisty canyon roads to Evergreen
- Lunch in Evergreen
- Ride twisty paved roads from Conifer to Foxton
- The scenic road along South Platte River between Two Forks and Deckers
- Snack in Deckers
- More twisty pavement from Deckers to Woodland Park
- Arrive at Tihsreed Lodge in Florissant (just for fun, spell Tihsreed backward)
- Highs and Lows: Group members share a high point and low point of the day’s ride
- Evening workshop – Getting Unstuck: Overcoming Resistance and Moving Forward
- Ride to historic mining towns of Cripple Creek and Victor
- Dirt training session outside of Victor
- Ride Phantom Canyon to Cañon City
- Lunch in Cañon City
- Ride Skyline Drive on the outskirts of Cañon City
- Ride Shelf Road back to Cripple Creek
- Arrive back at the lodge
- Highs and Lows
- Evening workshop – Lighten Up, Francis: Introduction to Mindfulness
- (Weather permitting) Ride the 156 turns in 19 miles to the top of Pikes Peak, 14,115 feet above sea level
- Lunch in Woodland Park
- Afternoon ride through Eleven Mile Canyon
- Return to Tihsreed Lodge for rest
- Highs and Lows
- Evening workshop – What the F is Wrong with Me? – Living with PTSD and Why It Seems So Hard to Move On
- Ride Tarryall Road through South Park (setting of the animated TV show) from Lake George to Jefferson
- Ride Boreas Pass (unpaved) across the Continental Divide (elevation 11,481) from Como to Breckenridge
- Lunch at top of Boreas Pass
- Ride into a historic mining town and ski resort of Breckenridge
- Hwy 9 over Continental Divide at Hoosier Pass to Fairplay and then on to Hartsel
- Hwy 24 back to Florissant
- Highs and Lows
- Evening workshop – Getting Out There: Recovery through Serving Others
- Participants complete Exit Survey
- Depart Florissant and ride Tarryall Road to Hwy 285
- Ride Guanella Pass from Grant to Georgetown
- Lunch in Georgetown
- Ride through Idaho Springs and up to Echo Lake
- (Weather permitting) Ride to the top of Mount Evans, the highest paved road in North America (elevation 14,240 feet)
- Dinner celebration
- Presentation of awards, schwag & event wrap-up
- Meet MRP board members, advisory board & volunteers who helped make all of this possible
- Participants depart for home
Do I have to have a motorcycle license to participate?
Yes. You need to have a current motorcycle endorsement that you’ve had for at least a year. Although we ride safely and plan our off-road rides to be ones that people with little to no off-road experience can handle, we do need riders who at least have significant experience riding street bikes. A crash impacts the ride for everyone, so we can’t accommodate total newbies who are just learning to ride. Sorry.
Do I have to pay anything to participate?
If you’re approved as a participant on a Relief Ride, you’ll be asked to pay a $100 deposit to guarantee your spot in the group. The rest of the cost of your ride (approximately $3,000 total) is covered by donors who want to bless you with this adventure as a token of their gratitude for your military service. We need the deposit because we must arrange motorcycle rentals, gear, meals, and accommodations. No-shows really mess things up for us. The $100 fee is your commitment to show up and not blow it off. The deposit is fully refundable if you complete the ride successfully, but if you bail and don’t show up you will forfeit your deposit.
Do you cover the cost of airfare too?
Participants are required to get themselves to wherever the ride is taking place however they can, whether it be by plane, train, bus, skateboard, etc. If you choose to fly, we will pick you up at the airport and transport you to the ride location.
Are you going to try and get inside my head?
No, you can relax. Literally. Learning to bring your body into a relaxed physical state is key to being able to manage internal stress, so during the first couple days of the ride, you’ll learn some simple relaxation techniques that are helpful to everyone, whether you have PTSD or not. Just being able to talk to other veterans is another extremely helpful tool for getting unstuck, so we hope that you’ll take advantage of that opportunity while you’re with us. That said, you won’t be forced to share if you’re not comfortable doing so. We want to reduce your stress, not create even more.
Are women invited to participate?
We do segregated rides to enable participants to feel comfortable sharing things that they might not be inclined to share in a co-ed setting. We have a hard time finding women veterans who ride and want to try adventure biking, but we try to do at least one Women’s Ride each year.
Do I need to bring my own gear?
Every participant is required to wear a full-face helmet, over-the-ankle boots, an armored jacket and pants, and motorcycle gloves. You’ll need to bring your own boots (make sure they’re broken in before you arrive), but we can supply the other gear if you don’t have your own.
Do you welcome veterans with physical disabilities?
If you’re able to ride a motorcycle both on and off-road without adaptive equipment and have already ridden one a fair amount since becoming disabled, you are welcome to apply for one of our Relief Rides. If you require adaptive equipment and already have a motorcycle with the necessary equipment and can get to the starting point of the ride with it, you’re welcome to apply to participate. We are unable to provide motorcycles with adaptive equipment currently but hope to do so in the future.
Are you going to exploit my trauma for promotional purposes?
Don’t worry. We’re not going to force you to talk on camera so we can create some cheesy video with violins playing in the background. That’s not us. We do take pictures and shoot videos on each ride to document the trip, so there will be someone capturing footage and snapping photos at various times. But we won’t use any images or footage of you without your permission. If you’re willing to say a few words on camera at the end of the ride about your experience we would be honored to have you do so, but we don’t pressure anyone into doing it.
Do we get a chance to try legal pot while we’re in Colorado?
If that’s something you want to do, you’ll need to do it on your own time after the Relief Ride. While it might be legal to smoke pot in Colorado, it’s not legal to ride a motorcycle stoned. For insurance purposes and the safety of the entire group, we don’t allow drinking during our rides either. It’s nothing personal, we just can’t afford the liability.
If you’ve been notified that you’ve been accepted to be a participant in a Relief Ride, you must make a $100 deposit to guarantee your spot in the group. The $100 is your commitment to show up and not blow this off. No-shows cause lots of headaches for us.
You will be refunded the deposit once you successfully complete the ride. Successful completion means you finish the ride without crashing your bike, picking any fights, getting a ticket, sneaking off and getting drunk, leading cops on a high-speed chase, making disrespectful comments about the executive director’s mother, etc. You get the idea. Successful completion means you’ve been engaged, cooperative and safe.