Wounded Veterans to Cycle 500-plus Miles from Minneapolis to Chicago During UnitedHealthcare Great Lakes Challenge

August 07, 2017

More than 150 military veterans, first responders and their supporters will cycle from Minneapolis to Chicago during the UnitedHealthcare Great Lakes Challenge Aug. 7 to 14.

The ride is a collaboration between Project Hero and UnitedHealthcare that benefits veterans and first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other injuries.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz joined UnitedHealthcare CEO Steve Nelson at a ceremony this morning at the UnitedHealthcare headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., to start the noncompetitive, therapeutic bike tour. Over the next week, riders will cover more than 500 miles as they travel east into Wisconsin before moving to Illinois and rolling through Chicago to conclude the bike tour. The full UnitedHealthcare Great Lakes Challenge schedule includes:

  • Monday, Aug. 7 – Minnetonka to Rochester, Minn. – 63 miles
  • Tuesday, Aug. 8 – Rochester to La Crosse, Wis. – 72 miles
  • Wednesday, Aug. 9 – La Crosse to Reedsburg, Wis. – 81 miles
  • Thursday, Aug. 10 – Reedsburg to Madison, Wis. – 54 miles
  • Friday, Aug. 11 – Madison to Lake Geneva, Wis. – 78 miles
  • Saturday, Aug. 12 – Lake Geneva to Palatine, Ill. – 50 miles
  • Sunday, Aug. 13 – Palatine to Chicago, includes honor ride in Barrington, Ill. – 48 miles
  • Monday, Aug. 14 – Chicago to Evanston, Ill. – 63 miles

Participating veterans ride for free in the multiday event, which takes them through historic sites, civic centers and local attractions as they ride hand cycles, recumbent cycles, adaptive bikes, traditional road bikes and custom tandems.

"UnitedHealthcare is honored to support the men and women who serve our communities and our country, and who are part of Project Hero," said Nelson. "Project Hero provides important exercise and rehabilitation services to injured veterans and first responders through these great Challenge Series events across the country."

Project Hero is a national nonprofit organization that helps military veterans and first responders affected by injury, PTSD and traumatic brain injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives.

"The Challenge Series combines cycling, comradery and peer-to-peer interaction to help veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries meet challenges, achieve goals and build lasting relationships," said John Wordin, president and founder of Project Hero. "The multiple-day format gives healing heroes a unique opportunity for a life-changing experience that supports mental and physical rehabilitation and recovery."  Wordin, a former professional cyclist, rides in every Project Hero Challenge Series event.

Project Hero hosts annual one-day Honor Rides, in addition to five 2017 United Healthcare Challenge Series rides held over multiple days throughout the country, inviting the public to ride with healing heroes in cities throughout the nation. The Great Lakes Challenge will coincide with the Project Hero Barrington Honor Ride Sunday, Aug. 13, in Barrington, Ill. 

Founded in 2008, Project Hero has built more than 200 adaptive bikes for injured veteran riders and donated more than 2,500 bikes to military veteran riders, who have logged more than 30,000 miles in 30 states and six countries to raise money in support of America's healing heroes. 

Project Hero also oversees community centers and programs in more than 50 cities throughout the United States and works in partnership on PTSD research programs with the Veterans Administration and leading research institutions, including Georgetown University Hospital.

About Project Hero

Founded in 2008, Project Hero is a groundbreaking national non-profit organization dedicated to helping Veterans and First Responders affected by PTSD, TBI and injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives and increasing awareness of the national mental health crisis posed by PTSD and TBI.  Project Hero programs work by producing positive outcomes at lower costs and reducing drug-based therapies.  Project Hero builds and provides adaptive bikes to physically-challenged and injured Veterans and First Responders and has helped tens of thousands of Healing Heroes at no cost to participants through cycling events, community-based programs in more than 50 cities throughout the US and by supporting research.  For information, visit

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at or follow @myUHC on Twitter.