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whom you feel you have nothing in com- mon and who has no context to relate to what you’ve seen and done in life? How do you successfully work with a team of coworkers who you think are self-centered, petty and inept compared to the loyal, brave and capable people you served along- side while deployed? After a few hours of discussion it became


obvious that many of their struggles were universal. It was amazing how transparent they were with one another, especially after talking about how most people don’t understand them. There was something about the shared experience of combat and the shared experience of riding motorcy- cles together for several days that created a sense of safety and trust in the group. One veteran after another shared how


the ride with MRP was the first time they’d felt comfortable talking about their strug- gles related to life after deployment. They talked about how they can’t share their thoughts of rage, depression and suicide


with most people because they worry about being deemed crazy or broken or scaring the ones they love. They keep those thoughts bottled up inside with no way of releasing them – and it eats away at them. While I don’t pretend to understand


what it’s like to be in combat, I can certainly relate to people thinking I’m crazy. Espe- cially when I tell them I’m raising money for a nonprofit that takes veterans with PTSD on therapeutic motorcycle adven- tures. Most people don’t get it. Compared to finding a cure for cancer or providing clean water to people in Africa, taking guys on motorcycle rides doesn’t sound like a very legitimate or worthwhile cause for a nonprofit. People who ride get it, though. Riders


understand that there’s something about riding that is incredibly therapeutic, espe- cially when you can get off the highway and point the bike down a dirt road in the mid- dle of nowhere. Although my own history of trauma is


different from what these guys have been through, it was no coincidence that when- ever I got on my motorcycle all my fears and anxieties subsided for a few hours. For me, riding through the backwoods of Col- orado on forest roads is a remarkably effec- tive form of relief. It was that realization that got me thinking about taking groups of veterans with PTSD on therapeutic adventure bike tours, and thus the Motor- cycle Relief Project was born. After our final workshop the following


night, Marty pulled me aside. “I want to thank you for doing this and allowing me to be a part of it,” he said. “Sure,” I replied, shrugging my shoul-


ders. “I’m glad you came. It’s been great to get to know you.” “No, you don’t understand what an


impact this week has had on me,” Marty said. “I have more mental clarity right now than I’ve had in three years. There’s some- thing about the focus required for riding, especially riding on dirt, that is incredibly


People who ride get it, though. Riders understand that there’s something about riding that is incredibly therapeutic, especially when you can get off the highway and point the bike down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.


84


BMW OWNERS NEWS March 2016


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