Richard “Richie Two Chairs” Neider, II, Sergeant, US Army Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis 2018 Mentor Veteran and Sidecar Pilot
Richard Neider, II, is a soldier. Even though he was medically, and honorably discharged in 2007, he still thinks of himself as a soldier. He probably always will. He, like many others, has come from a long line of family members whom have served in all the branches of the military. His father was a championship boxer for the Army, his uncle served in the Marine Corp., his grandfather was in the Air Force, and his great-grandfather in the Navy. For Richard, serving was both an honor and a legacy of which his own son intends to carry on upon graduation.
Richard attended basic training at Fort Jackson, followed by Jump School at Fort Benning – 101st Airborne, and Advanced Individual Training (AIT), again at Fort Jackson. In January 2005, he was deployed to OIF, based at Camp Patriot and the Port of Ash Shuayba serving with the 3RDArmy, 1185th TTB. In May of 2005, Richard had been placed on the list for promotion to E-6 when his career came to a screeching halt. After an IED incident, he woke up to find he had suffered a severe spinal injury and hearing loss. Richard did not want to accept it at the time, but life as he knew it had changed forever. After evacuation to Landstuhl, Germany, it was back to the U.S. for treatment and recovery. Richard’s fight to recover and stay in the Army lasted two years, and in April 2007, he was Medically Honorably Discharged.
Richard used to ride, he loved to ride, but by 2011, he could no longer do so. Riding was now clearly in his past. Richard’s ability to walk rapidly progressed from using a cane, to a walker, and ultimately to a wheelchair.
The anger and depression set in. His wife tried to get him to do new things, i.e.: hand-cycling, wheelchair basketball, 3D printing, even building RC cars. She persisted, so Richard did it, and he found that he could still get out there and enjoy life. The same was true for getting back out on a bike, or as it turns out, into a sidecar. From the very moment he started riding in the sidecar he was hooked. He wanted more. The funny thing is, it wasn’t just about the riding. It was about the team, the camaraderie, and the VCR family. He was one of the family, not the guy in a chair. Richard’s eyes have been opened to what is possible, to the understanding that there is so much more he can do. It’s all a matter of perspective.
“The experience and opportunities given to me by VCR have been utterly life changing. For the first time in a very long time, my PTSD was not in charge. I felt safe, and relaxed. I was able to get out of my own head and just have a great time being one of the guys. I firmly believe I am more than just my disabilities, but this really put it in perspective for me. I have made memories enough to last a lifetime. My life is forever changed.”
Richard is returning this year as a Mentor and Sidecar Pilot, taking another wounded veteran on an adventure and experience of a lifetime. Richard will be piloting his own modified Indian Scout sidecar rig that he has specially adapted for him as a paraplegic rider.