2023 is my fourth year with TRB, having moved from my initial one day ride to this year’s “Full Pull”.

It wasn’t until 2022, when I did the ride from Halifax to North Bay, that I finally “got it”. This isn’t a ride solely for the purpose of raising money: this ride is also for the support and betterment of the participants.  With the built-in support structure of this ride, I finally gained the courage to, for the first time in my life, speak openly about my struggles. For the first time in my life, I didn’t get a blank look when I spoke of them.  For the first time in my life, I got responses of, “I’ve been there, brother.”, “Any time you want to talk….” and “C’mere, you need a hug” (which at first, between burly, leather-clad men, seemed a bit imposing).

This is an annual meeting of the closest bonds I’ve ever made, which CANNOT help but bring a smile to my face and a tear to my eyes. This is the camaraderie that I miss in civilian life.

I summarize the conduct of the ride itself to the uninitiated this way.  Think of the best organized day ride in which you’ve ever participated.  Now, multiply that by 20 days and you have TRB.  I am so impressed (and grateful) of the organization, coordination and conduct of every day of this ride.  Everything is meticulously planned in advance so all I have to do is, show up.  Who can ask for more than that?

The only downside I have found is that the day after the ride I’m counting down for the next one: 335 days is a long time.  But, as Veterans we’re used to being away from things we cherish and need, and counting down until we return.

I guess my best way to summarize is what I recently told a colleague: “No, I don’t take my Emotional Support Animal (Labradoodle) with me: I have a parking lot full of “Emotional Support Bikers”.

Paul Perry

Full Pull Alumni , The Rolling Barrage