The inaugural Air Force Heritage Memorial to Memorial (M2M) bike ride will support the Air Force Association’s Wounded Airmen Program, which raises money to care for wounded airmen and women, who selflessly served the country.
Penske is proud to support the ride through a truck use donation to ride organizers, the Air Force Cycling Team (AFCT). The truck will be used to transport gear and luggage during the trip which began Thursday and ends on Sunday, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Air Force.
“We are grateful to Penske. When Penske offered the truck, I knew this thing was going to happen,” said Robert "Surf" Beletic, the Air Force Cycling Team’s M2M organizer.
The AFCT will lead the four-day ride which will begin at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Long before their historic flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, ushered in the age of air travel, Orville and Wilbur Wright were bike enthusiasts, operating a shop in Dayton, Ohio.
“The Wright brothers themselves were bicyclists, so two bicycle mechanics created the first useable, flyable airplane,” Beletic said. “It is kind of our heritage, so we thought ‘let’s ride from there to the Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C’.”
In addition to honoring the Air Force and Space Force’s shared heritage of flight, the ride’s other goals are to promote fitness, camaraderie and Air Force and Space Force recruitment while raising funds for a great cause.
Participants set off from North Carolina on Thursday and rode 93 miles to Norfolk, Virginia. Today’s leg will take riders north across the Virginia Capital Trail. Riders will break for the evening and dine at the Virginia War Museum.
On Saturday, participants will continue their journey across Virginia before ending their ride on Sunday at the U.S. Air Force Memorial.
Penske’s truck use donation is an important part of the ride's success, Beletic said.
“The truck is the single biggest expense of the ride,” he said. “We need a truck to move luggage each day for 80 to 100 riders. Penske kindly offered a truck to support us,” he said. “It would be a big expense to rent the truck for five days, so we are so very grateful to Penske.”
By Bernie Mixon