A soldier supports autism awareness with a 100 mile bicycle ride from Washington D.C. to Dewey Beach Del., in the #? Annual Bike to the Beach fundraising event.

Sgt. 1st Class Humberto Murati will join a number of other area cyclists July 29 to help awareness and research of this developmental condition.

“Bike To The Beach non-profit organization exclusively for educational, charitable, and social purposes,” said Murati. “Through numerous events, B2B promotes biking as a viable way of running errands, commuting, traveling, exercising, reducing carbon emissions, networking, and public service.”

Murati, 42, who has served for 14 years and is currently with the U.S. Army Personnel Services Battalion, has a passion for both cycling and helping others.

“My wife Rosa was already helping by being an instructional aide at the Belvoir Elementary School so I wanted to do something to help others in need,” he said. “Yes, people donate here and there but the fact that I was actually taking part in the event - that was an awesome feeling. I was inspired by my wife’s work at school and my desire and motivation to help others. In 2009, during a spring event in downtown DC, I met some of the Bike to the Beach, Inc. organizers. After talking with them about the purpose of the event, it was a no brainier. I wanted to get involved.”

Bicycling began as a hobby for Murati, he said he’d rather run. However, in October 2009, Murati underwent surgery to correct an ankle injury and found cycling to be a good way to stay active in a safer way.

“I love to run but to prevent any possible future injuries I decided to get on the bicycle more and run less,” he added. “To the point that today I just run to complete the (Army Physical Fitness Test).”

This will be Murati’s third B2B. He completed the B2B 110 miles bike ride in support of Autism Speaks in August 2009 and in August 2010, repeated a similar trip.

“Bethesda Navy doctors fixed my ankle and Dewitt Army Physical Therapist doctors and technicians did an awesome job helping me to recover and get back up to speed,” Murati said. “In April 2010, about 6 months after the surgery I was able to run 2 miles in 13:43. Later, on Aug 2010, I completed my second B2B bicycle ride, this time an hour faster than the year prior.”

Safety is important to him when cycling - for pleasure or during long-distance events.

“I strongly recommend everyone wear a bicycle helmet; it’s not about hair styles, it’s about you brain’s safety,” he says. “A good friend of mine collided with another cyclist, he hit the concrete with his head - luckily he was wearing a helmet. My friend’s helmet was cracked - that could have been his skull.

“Also use appropriate clothing,” Murati added. “If you ride early morning or late afternoon, wear reflective bicycle clothing. And drink fluids. Last, let someone know your route and carry some type of I.D. at all times, especially if you are allergic to something.”

The bicycle trip is divided into two legs, the first portion beginning at 4:30 a.m. and covering a 33-mile distance starting at Gonzaga CHS at 19 Eye Street, NW DC and ending near the Naval Academy in Annapolis in eastern Maryland. Following a “Caravan Over the Bay Bridge” between 6:15 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., the 71-mile second leg will commence near Wye Mills and take the riders to the finish line at the North Beach Bar and Restaurant at 123 McKinley Street in Dewey Beach, Delaware.

The Bike to the Beach fundraising event is part of a national effort to increase awareness of the developmental condition autism. More information can be found at www.biketothebeach.org as well as at www.autismspeaks.org. Donations can be made at https://www.transactionserver1.com/individual-fundraising/murati/.