Patriot Ride for Our HeroesBy Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso

While Brian and Joy McCulloch are experts at coaching cyclists on how to coax speed and power out of their bikes, they also race with a loftier goal in mind. “The cycling community is very cause-driven,” Brian McCulloch explained. “We want to use our status as racers and ambassadors to highlight the cause of a group of people who are doing tremendous good—” in this case the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

The military has long been an integral part of McCulloch’s family. His brother is an active duty Marine, and both of his grandfathers and a great uncle served in the Navy. So it seemed a perfect fit for the McCullochs’ Southern California company—Big Wheel Coaching—to participate in the Patriot Ride for Our Heroes in Palm Springs, CA.

When the Patriot Ride for Our Heroes launched three years ago, its beneficiaries were a variety of local organizations benefiting veterans. That year, Big Wheel Coaching brought a team of 15 to the event and worked with their sponsor KHS Bicycles to donate a bicycle to be raffled in support of veterans’ organizations. The following year, the McCullochs supported the Wounded Warrior Project through their team’s participation in the Patriot Ride.

Last year, McCulloch decided to focus their fundraising efforts on the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. “Supporting our veterans is something I’m really passionate about,” McCulloch said. NMCRS Combat Casualty Assistance Visiting Nurse, Bobbi Crann, and Director of NMCRS Twentynine Palms, Ray Caldwell, represented the Society at the 2015 Patriot Ride to explain the Society’s work to cyclists and supporters. Big Wheel Coaching has continued to work with KHS Bicycles to donate a bicycle each year for raffling.

“We’ve connected our communities, which is very powerful,” McCulloch explained. Big Wheel Coaching’s team already raised $1,500 for the Society, but McCulloch anticipates at least doubling that amount in this year’s ride, and is exploring a variety of other ways to support the Society throughout the year. The 2016 Patriot Ride will be held October 21 and 22.

Through this partnership, McCulloch said, “We get to share what’s meaningful to us—not just our passion for riding bikes but also for helping veterans. To feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourselves is great.”

To learn more about Big Wheel Coaching, visit http://www.bigwheelcoaching.com.

To learn more about the Patriot Ride for our Heroes, visit http://patriotrideforourheroes.com.

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