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Disabled Veterans Prepare for Bike Ride in Negev

Hundreds of disabled veterans are set to embark on an extraordinary bike trip to salute the Israeli Paralympians.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/9/2012, 2:15 AM

2011 Moving on Wheels bike ride
2011 Moving on Wheels bike ride
Spokesperson for the disabled veterans association

Hundreds of disabled veterans are set to embark on an extraordinary bike trip in the Besor region in the northern Negev. The trip, which will take place in two weeks’ time, will salute the Israeli paralympians.

The special bike trip, called “Moving On Wheels”, is being held for the sixth consecutive year and marks the strong relationship between the Israeli public and the IDF’s disabled veterans. The trip takes place on local roads in two tracks: a long popular route about 35 km in length, and a short family route of about 20 km. The roads will be closed for traffic by the Israeli police.

More than 1,000 riders are expected to take part in this year’s trip, including disabled veterans, young and old, with varying degrees of disability, who will ride on bicycles that are adapted for the disabled, paralyzed and amputees, and Tandem bikes tailored to blind riders. Also expected to take part are families and friends of the disabled, residents of the Jewish communities near Gaza and other riders from around the country.

Bike riding is the most developed rehabilitative sport and the most popular one among the disabled population in Israel. For the hundreds of Israeli disabled veterans, bike riding is considered not only rehabilitative but also challenging. For them, the bike trip is an expression of the triumph of spirit over body, against all odds and despite the limitations. Many people who are severely handicapped and are undergoing a long and complex rehabilitation process find that the bike trip provides them with pain relief and contributes to their return to ordinary lives after their injury.

Among the riders who will take part in “Moving On Wheels” will be the paralympians who will represent Israel in the 2012 London Paralympics, as well as Ministers Matan Vilnai and Moshe Ya'alon, British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gold and many others.