Five airline pilots took off on a 33-day cross-country bicycle ride over the weekend to raise awareness and funds for memorials to the flight crews and others killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Thirty-three days to cover 3,600 miles by bicycle from Los Angeles to the Pentagon in Washington DC. Along the way, the Airline Ride Across America cyclists will stop at crash sites and future memorial sites in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, New York City and the Pentagon.
Thirty-three also is the number of flight crew members who died that day aboard jets that terrorists piloted into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the airliner that crashed in a field near Shanksville.
Memorials to the 9/11 victims are being built at all three locations; the Airline Ride Across America bike ride seeks to raise $100,000 toward each of those memorials.
The ride was the idea of one of the cyclists, Thomas Heidenberger, whose wife was a flight attendant on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon.
“I don't want them to be forgotten,” he tells the AP. “This is an effort to tell their individual stories, because that's never been done before.”
The bike ride's website keeps a running update on the ride status and tells visitors where to donate. Also, local bicyclists are welcomed to join the five as they plow cross country; check the route for details on their day-to-day rides and stops.
Also the group has scheduled local loop rides at three locations: Phoenix on April 6; Dallas-Fort Worth on April 14; and Somerset/Shanksville on April 29. Check the website for bike ride details.