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Lt. Daniel Hurd is the inspiration behind the One Pedal at a Time Movement (OPAAT) which uses cycling to promote a conversation about Suicide Prevention. The goal of OPAAT is to help connect others with cycling as a creative and helpful way of overcoming some of life’s obstacles.

Lt. Dan’s story is an incredible journey of grace and courage. He has an infectious smile and true contentment that rests gently with him wherever he goes. But as some also know, this hasn’t always been the case. There have been many days where the voices of fear, shame, depression, and anxiety have made it hard to smile and trust others.

The years of sexual abuse, PTSD from time served in the military, battling years of painful addictions, and struggling to ever have any real peace eventually lead to believing this life just wasn’t worth living anymore. After multiple failed suicide attempts, Lt. Dan was invited to go on a weekend ride with friends that would inevitably change the course of his life forever. It was on this ride that Dan was invited to take things “one pedal at a time” and slowly began to learn the hidden wisdom of simplicity.

In his own words, Lt. Dan says, “In 2017, I was in a dark place in life. I had tried to commit suicide for the third time and felt like my life was this dark void. After I was released from the hospital I was in the stage of telling everyone I was better but deep down I still had no idea how to change my life or what direction to go in.“My best friend had tried for years to get me to go bicycling with him with no success. He was an avid rider and I never really had the motivation to join him. This time though something made me take him up on his offer. With nothing to lose I decided to ride with him and two mutual friends. We rode 20 miles. It felt good in the moment but I still felt the same after. A few days later we rode again. 30 miles. Again in the moment riding felt good, but this feeling of being in a void lingered. What changed everything was the third ride I took with him the following weekend. We took a 166 mile trip. I remember in the first half of the ride falling asleep while riding and barely made it to our destination. What helped me get through it though was the encouragement of my friend who told me “don’t worry about the next 30 miles, its left right left right…it is one pedal at a time”.“After that trip everything changed. I realized what got me through it wasn’t worrying about the past or the future but only by living in the moment. Taking it “one pedal at a time” became my mantra and my turning point. Hearing that being said to me was like someone throwing a glow stick in the void. My void wasn’t as deep as I thought.

“I fell in love with bicycling quick and started planning longer trips. I became addicted to cycling. This was a better addiction then my past choices of alcohol and drugs. Only a few months of riding I knew that I needed to do something EPIC. Realizing living in the moment was the key for me in my life which has led me to this journey.

“I want to use the following I have to benefit programs that help with all aspects of suicide prevention. I think my story can resonate with people going through similar struggles and has the potential for making charitable contributions towards its awareness and education.”

Lt. Dan returned was determined and a dream was born. Cycling had proven to be so transformational that he decided to sell everything he had and get a bike and gear to begin a journey around the country visiting fellow veterans who he had served with in the Navy. As the trip began, it became obvious that this was meant to be even more than just a trip to visit friends. There was a deep passion to share this gift of cycling with others and the OPAAT Movement had begun! Now after 20+ states and thousands of miles later, you’re invited to be a part of this journey and learn to take life One Pedal at a time.

There are many ways you can help:

  • Share the story and get others involved;
  • Get out and ride, challenge and push yourself;
  • Pay attention to others struggling with suicidal thoughts and learn how to help;
  • Support OPAAT through financial contributions and sponsorships.

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