People of Roswell: Be on the lookout for a cyclist proudly displaying an American flag on the back of his hand-crank bicycle in the coming days.
The endurance cyclist who will come through Roswell by Thursday is Bob Wieland. After he lost both his legs in Vietnam, he has been dedicated to raising awareness and funds for causes he cares about, such as wounded veterans.
Wieland began what he calls the Dream Ride 3 at The Dream Center in Los Angeles. He plans to use the strength of his arms to cycle all the way to New York and then back to Los Angeles. If he succeeds, the 65-year-old will be the first person 65 or older to make a round trip across America on a hand-crank bike.
In a phone interview, Wieland said he was traveling on U.S. Highway 70 about 50 miles west of Roswell as of Tuesday afternoon.
Aside from being a cyclist, Wieland is also an inspirational speaker. He said he looks forward to speaking to a crowd in Roswell, though a time and place have not been scheduled yet.
“We’re hoping to speak at a church or two,” he said. “People have been really encouraging and inspiring, so we want to inspire the people of Roswell.”
Wieland plans to stay in Roswell for one day to rest. He said the greatest challenge of Dream Ride 3 has been the almost unbearable heat. He said that with the exception of two days, all other days on his journey have registered temperatures between 100 and 116 degrees.
“Normally, you shouldn’t exercise in weather like that,” he said.
Still, just outside of Deming, Wieland was able to break a personal record — he cycled at 16 miles an hour for 30 consecutive miles.
The second challenge has been cycling over hills and mountains, something Wieland will leave behind at least for a while after he passes Roswell and continues to cycle east toward Portales.
Aside from wounded veterans, Wieland’s Dream Ride 3 is also raising funds to help the families of fallen firefighters and police officers and to support The Dream Center in Los Angeles where he began his journey.
“We need everyone in Roswell to sponsor a rotation,” Wieland said. “(Those who donate) will be part of history.”
For more information on how to donate, visit www.dreamride3.com.