Veteran services

Land O’ Lakes veteran embarks on a cross-country bike ride

WASHINGTON — Five veterans embark on a 3,700-mile bike ride from Washington, DC to Washington State.

They will follow the Great American Rail-Trail through 12 states, and David Davila, a former Army doctor from Land O’ Lakes, Florida, is among those on the trip.

What do you want to know

  • A group of five veterans embarked on a 3,700 mile bike ride from Washington DC to Washington State
  • They will follow the Great American Rail-Trail, which will take them through 12 states
  • David Davila, a former army doctor from Land O’ Lakes, Florida, is among them

This is part of an outdoor therapy program by Warrior Expeditions, a non-profit organization. From water to electronics, riders are well equipped with all the essentials.

Davila said cycling coast to coast is a unique opportunity. He served the United States for 24 years in the military, including two tours in Iraq as a flight doctor.

“We treated virtually everyone, from Iraqi civilians to American soldiers and all of our allies,” he said.

He retired in 2018, and says that after being deployed, the bike became an outlet for him to decompress.

“We use it as a way to relax, to open our minds, to forget what happened in the past and to enter into something new, something refreshing for us”, a- he declared. “And at the same time when we are with other veterans, we can share this experience among ourselves.”

Veterans travel on the Great American Rail-Trail, the nation’s “first” multi-use trail created from former railroad corridors.

“We partner with warrior expeditions here because their veterans take long journeys to heal from their experiences in service,” said Great American Rail-Trail project manager Kevin Belanger. “And they’re very excited about crossing the country on a trail, avoid traffic as much as possible.”

Davila is currently cycling through Indiana and says the destination he is most excited about is the Pacific Ocean.