04/17/2014 12:08 EDT | Updated 06/17/2014 05:59 EDT

Obama tells wounded veterans biking around the White House their resolve is an inspiration

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama says the site of wounded veterans biking at the White House is a mark of how far they've come.

With a blast from an air horn, Obama set off cyclists Thursday in the Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride. It's one of many such events around the country to raise money and attention.

Many at the White House were in specially built bikes that could accommodate amputations or other injuries.

They pedaled laps on the road around the South Lawn while a military band played patriotic songs. Some high-fived Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden as they passed.

Obama says the riders inspire him with their resolve and tenacity and make him proud to be commander in chief.