Ride for Veterans

Cycling and anything that keeps the wheels turning. Marine veteran remembering the time I served as well as looking to help others.

How veterans are viewed by employers post military. (Stigma about PTSD)

There is a stigma about our men and women returning from the military that is creating some road blocks for employment.

 

When many of our veterans first talked with a recruiter they are built up to believe in the benefits of the military. Sign up and improve your life! Discipline, courage, self reliance, sense of belonging, self direction, pride, and a life time full of stories is what every one of them experience. The fact is while all that is true it’s not going to help you with employers if that’s not how they view you. For many a welcome home to the United States after war is more of a wake up call.

home coming

 

It’s not a secret that some veterans return with severe PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Those who do are dealing with it in the best way services and treatment will allow. Those who exited the military without PTSD are blanketed with the stigma that we all went through the same military history.

PTSD

Large companies and “Veteran Friendly” employers claim to want veterans to work for them. If they do end up hiring it’s usually in an entry level position well below their qualifications. Typically what you would expect an 18 year old to be able to get with a blank resume. How is that even possible when the experience and training the military receives is state of the art? A lot of veterans being only 19 to 21 years old hold more responsibility in their short time in than most middle aged people that choose a different path.

Instead of being seen as highly valuable or hard working Americans with great work ethic, we are seen as dangerous and violent. I feel as though this is partly due to the media reporting only when veterans screw up and the movie industry for portraying PTSD in an imperfect light. Stigma associated with PTSD: perceptions of treatment seeking combat veterans. If you’d like to view an example of how veterans are usually shown in movies check out the trailer below.

 

Currently as I’m writing this I’ve asked my fellow veterans in an OIF/OEF facebook group if they’d had difficulties getting jobs because of how we are viewed. Just to show you an small example of how veterans feel they are viewed I’ll post the comments below. If you would like to add to these comments add them at the bottom of this post please.

PTSD VETERANS

Snapshot of a discussion in a veterans group.

There are businesses out there are doing what they can to combat these issues. A new friend of mine Alex, as seen helping other veterans out, is a combat war veteran is more than willing to help out hiring veterans. All that he asks is that they work hard and put in the effort. If you’re an out of work veteran I suggest checking out the website.

PTSD is not a reason interviewers need to turn someone away. Being a veteran is not a reason to believe that we automatically have some deranged form of PTSD that will cause us to lash out at work or have a psychotic episode. I’m not able to speak on behalf of all of them struggling to find jobs, but I would consider the ones shaking our hands and saying, “we’ll be in touch”, when they know it’s a lie to be foolish. These men and women give up their lives to protect and serve in whatever country our government asks of us. The next time one walks into your office you should have one of those “adult conversations” with them about their service. We are not simply high school graduates that have no idea what’s going on in the world.

 

In other news.

If you’ve been following along with or efforts to help homeless veterans this Thanksgiving we’re pleased to tell you it’s going extremely well. Co-workers are spreading our message out to friends and family more and more. We’ve raised $250.00 so far, which means I need to get out on my bike tomorrow to pay it back with some miles. We’ll be sharing the story on two radio stations this week which is exciting! Appreciative of all who are participating and sharing on social media, keep it up! :)

 

Running red lights without wearing a helmet.

Settling into a new home.

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Sorry that my posts have been few and far between lately. I recently moved to a new location within Orlando and have been working on getting everything situated. Can’t wait to get out on the bike once everything settles and explore past my previous boundaries.

Not divulging my location, but I get the pleasure now of seeing all kinds of skilled drivers around Conroy and Kirkman road. The erratic driving of tourists and pissed off Floridians is outstanding. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the the thought process of those who speed up to 50mph just to pass a car and then slam on their brakes to sit in backed up traffic. Was that one extra spot worth putting yourselves and others at risk? frabz-STUPID-DRIVERS--STUPID-DRIVERS-EVERY-WHERE-154d1f

My riding skills will definitely be put to the test while maneuvering through this part of Orlando. Even walking a couple of miles crossing the roads in this area is like playing Frogger. My first stroll out and I witnessed three separate car accidents within a half hour. Even with all the visible hazards I still watch people putting their lives at risk, especially those on bicycles.

Stupid cyclist.

Not sure the reason, but many of the people that ride bikes throughout downtown Orlando decide not to wear helmets. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I witnessed one such person on the way home from work one morning. This guy on a bike pulled out into traffic without checking his surroundings. Weaving all over the road and running a red light at a busy intersection. It’s pretty sad when someone like myself who loves cycling has to silently curse about a fellow rider.

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My new location is much closer to work so my primary rides won’t be just commuting back and forth to work anymore. I’ll have the chance to ride as a hobby and take pleasure in exploring my area. I’m very paranoid about getting hit by a vehicle in this area, but I believe with time I’ll get used to it and figure out ways to get to safer roads. Cannot wait for those 40-50+ mile rides in my future. Which I need to be doing more of, because unless I get back on the hamster wheel or curb my high intake of calories I’m going to balloon up and become a couch commander.

Excited about the road ahead.

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My life always takes twists and turns as I’ve said in my ‘about me’ section. I have a path I’m on and like many trips it’s a little foggy. I know of destinations I’ll come across and goals that come to fruition. Each day bringing me closer to what I desire in life. Just like any new ride the road will be lined with speed bumps, road blocks and unexpected pot holes. As long as I stay focused and determined I believe I can accomplish whatever I actually set my mind to. Tomorrow will be my first real ride in my new neighborhood. Hopefully I’ll make a few new cyclist friends or have some new stories to share. Stay safe out there and keep pedaling!

 

Rubber, lube and frustration.

Rubber, lube and frustration.

You wouldn’t scream at a runner on a treadmill, so why yell at a cyclist?

Seriously, if you were at the gym and watched as someone was going off on those on a treadmill or an elliptical you’d think they lost their mind. The main difference between a gym and the road is convenience isn’t it? I”m not able to tell you everyone’s though process on the road, but that is my main guess. The fact that they need to wait in traffic for an additional 5-10 seconds for a cyclist just infuriates people. I could be wrong of course. Flipping me the bird could just mean they’re admiring how fast I’m traveling on the bike and expressing, “You’re number 1!” 2014-02-25 03.19.01

 

“It’s illegal to ride your bike in the road!”

Well yes and no. A cyclist may ride his or her bike legally on any road that isn’t restricted. a highway, or an interstate. So pretty much any road that doesn’t have a greater than 55MPH sign. A fun rule that almost always gaurentees a horn to be blasted behind me is this:

Left Turns (see Section 316.151 (1)(b)(c), F.S.)

A bicyclist intending to make a vehicle left turn is entitled to full use of the lane from which the turn is made. After scanning, signaling, and moving to the center of that lane, the bicyclist must check the signal, then proceed when it is green and safe to do so. (http://floridabicycle.org/bicycle-traffic-law/) Check the link for valuable cycling knowledge!

I could be a jerk on the roads, as funny for me as it would be but I’m not. Usually you’ll see my tires inches away from the white line, even though I’m allocated 3 FEET! The fastest way to get me to take advantage of that full 3 feet is to honk at me. I’m not too good with audible ques, but I believe that’s what I’m supposed to do.

The worst offenders.

You would think that immature punk teenagers would be the ones ignorant to the rules to the road when it comes to cycling. Sadly it’s the opposite. I’ve rarely had problems with the young crowd. There may have been one or two instances when I was living up in New York. The horn honkers, finger wavers, words of encouragement shouted from windows are usually from the older crowd.

The next time your grandma offers you a fresh warm cookie from the oven, remember that she only had time to make them because she hammered down on her gas pedal, passed a cyclist, flipping them off, just because cookies are so damn important.

Other than the cookie baking crowd I would have to say bus drivers are near the top of the list. Just in the month of March alone I was almost run off the road by 4 buses! Orange County District buses to be more specific. Not sure who does the training for the drivers, but I’d appreciate it if they didn’t have it out for people on bikes. I could be wrong of course, the kids on the bus could be the culprits by pressuring the driver to hit cyclists for points. See kids, that’s why I didn’t give out Halloween candy this year! Also I was at work.

Final note before heading out to the roads today. We can all work together just as the lube works on a bike chain. Everyone just needs to apply it first!

I would appreciate it if you took the time to read or at least glance over the state laws pertaining to cyclists. I poke fun at it sometimes because it happens a lot, but I still wouldn’t want to see any of my friends or myself be hit by anyone.

Great news for some of you!

How would you like to join me on this adventure and ride for veterans???

I know some of you can’t for these reasons:

  • You don’t have the time to ride around the country.
  • You have family obligations that prevent you from doing so.
  • Leaving your job isn’t an ideal option for you.
  • For some reason you can’t stand the site of me. :(

 

Well I have a solution to all of these issues and more! A VIRTUAL RIDE FOR VETERANS!

Thats right all my fellow cyclist comrades! Starting immediately you can all join in the effort, now I’ll explain how this is going to work.

Each day after we ride, using your choice of mileage tracking software, you can upload and share your ride either on the Facebook page or twitter! When you upload your ride use the hashtag #Ride4vets. Each week I will total up all the mileage and participants and share it with everyone! Whether you use Strava, Mapmyride or and other mileage tracking you’ll be able to participate with the rest of us.

For now these will all be training miles. Once this ride kicks off on 2/3/15 I’ll have an official count beginning when I start and ending when I get back to Orlando! My hopes are that once completed we will have collaborated enough miles, and virtual miles, to equal ONE MILLION MILES for Americas veterans!

Better start stretching, we are now in training people!!! I look forward to seeing the mileage add up. Leave a comment below if you’ll be a part of this. Otherwise I’ll see you out on the road.

REMEMBER! HASHTAG YOUR RIDES WITH #Ride4Vets