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“My medical prescription is 800-plus pounds of American-made metal and chrome”

By 20.07.2020No Comments

Many of us know a person struggling from the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is estimated that 8% of Americans (24.4 million people) has PTSD. This is equal to the entire population of Texas. The long-term effects can be devastating to both the individual and family as can be seen in movies like the Hurt Locker (2008) and The Deer Hunter (1978), to name a few. I briefly mentioned PTSD here.

A while ago I read about the Motorcycle Relief Project (MRP) which was founded by Tom Larson. Like many Moto Intel Report readers know, Tom became aware of how therapeutic it is to ride a motorcycle when he needed to relax and blow off some steam. He couldn’t help but think that taking veterans with PTSD and other injuries on motorcycle adventure trips could be a great way to help them to let go, learn some tools for managing stress, and connect with other veterans with whom they may have something in common. The result is Motorcycle Relief Project.

Military veterans Motorcycle Relief Project

Brian Steuber a former U.S. Army staff sergeant says “My medical prescription is 800-plus pounds of American-made metal and chrome. No drug can compare; no feeling is better. That’s why I ride.” This is a common theme among vets who ride and many would like to see more vets on motorcycles. PTSD and stress in general are not unique to veterans and can affect anyone. That means riding can be a prescription for everyone. A ride is a form of relaxation – a way to remove yourself from everyday mundane life, crowded roads, and hectic and/or stressful situations.

Cycleworld makes another comparison:

A strong argument can be made that a member of the United States military and a roadracing champion are similar. Both accept high risk, both must be fit, benefit from practice and training, work with teams, are supported by technical machinery. Both must be exact in high-pressure situations, and both suffer from mistakes.”

Mark Thompson (right) during his first racetrack experience 

It just happens to be a perfect fit and many people benefit, not only veterans. Married people use riding to get rid of frustrations. Cycleworld’s Mark Thompson states the following:

“I had long understood the mood enhancing benefits of motorcycle touring, the mindful contemplation produced by days of cruising on roads like the Blueridge Parkway, but was unaware of the therapeutic benefits of track riding. I quickly discovered the effects of being hyper focused.”

Wind Therapy, a non-traditional treatment for PTSD, allows participants to find support from other vets while learning motorcycle riding and maintenance skills

With so many people suffering from PTSD and not everybody having the opportunity to let it all go at the racetrack by themselves on a local track, we knew a commercial party would come up with something and Motorcycle products retailer J&P Cycles did exactly that. It is enabling customers to invest in Wind Therapy, a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) offered through 22Kill, a non-profit dedicated to traditional and non-traditional support for U.S. Military veterans.

Quinton Liebenberg (L), gives Stephanie Cutts, a Navy veteran from Greenville, S.C., motorcycle instruction in the Namib Desert during Uuzilo’s first motorcycle expedition in July 2018, Swakopmund, Namibia. (Photo courtesy of Uuzilo)

Riding has always been a part of Stephanie Cutts’ life, for better or worse. Her husband, Frank, died in a motorcycle accident. But the 35-year-old Navy veteran has continued riding, both to honor his memory and because of the relationships she has developed in the motorcycle world. Cutts describes the motorcycle community is a vibrant, supportive group that brings together anyone who loves bikes as much as she does. It has been especially hospitable to veterans seeking healthy outlets to combat PTSD or other mental-health symptoms related to their time in the military.

“When you’re riding, there’s so much going on that your body seizes on that adrenaline,” he said. “It puts you in a place where you’re around like-minded individuals … For the most part, everybody that I’ve met is extremely friendly and wants to be involved and wants to get to know you. It’s a great community full of nice, genuine people.” Stephanie Cutts, a Navy veteran from Greenville, S.C

Of course there is no real cure to PTSD and we are not claiming that riding motorcycles is a cure. But it does help to get your mind of things and it is a helluva lot of fun and when you are having fun, everything is put in perspective. Go get some training with a licensed motorcycle instructor and enjoy the ride.

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