More than a 150 bike riders set off from Edina Monday for the first Ride to Recovery in the Great Lakes region.
Ride to Recovery organizes rides throughout the country to raise funding for cycling programs for injured soldiers.
Louisiana national guard member Larry Jester was injured in Afghanistan and has been participating in Ride to Recovery trips since the program began in 2008. He said many of the people he rides with have been behind hospital walls for a long time. Over the course of the ride he sees them come out of their shell.
"During that time they're meeting new friends [and] overcoming these amazing challenges together, and by day two or three you've got a great friendship," Jester said. "By day seven you feel like you're leaving summer camp and leaving some of the best friends they've ever had."
Jester said bikers range from young men to Vietnam veterans, along with many civilians who ride along in support.
The seven-day ride starts Monday and will stretch over 430 miles, ending in Milwaukee.