As reported by NBC 2 on August 19, 2011:
NORTH NAPLES, FL – Forty bike riders will spend 22 days riding 1,600-miles in honor of those lost on 9/11. A local firefighter is also prepping for the bike ride to Ground Zero.
Bike riders all the way from Texas, Massachusetts and everywhere in between are getting ready to take off on the journey of their lives.
The three weeks of peddling and 22 overnight stops are all in honor of first responders lost on 9/11.
“We’ll never forget that tragic day on 9/11,” said Jeff Morse, founder of the Brotherhood Ride.
The North Naples firefighter organized the group in 2007 after nine Charleston firefighters lost their lives.
“We decided we wanted to do something to show the family emotional support. So one year after the tragedy, we rode from North Naples up to Charleston, South Carolina,” Morse explained.
In four years, the Brotherhood Ride has managed to raise $68,000 for the family members.
But this year, those with the Brotherhood Ride sets their sights farther north at Ground Zero.
Morse says he has more support that he ever could have imagined.
“I’m having firefighters call me from Salisbury, North Carolina. I’m not even sure where that is,” he said.
Friday night, riders prepped one of two trailers for the big ride that begins Saturday morning. The first overnight stop is in Arcadia.
“Overwhelmed with joy – they can’t believe that we’ve ridden on bicycles from south Florida to wherever they live,” said rider Zak Jones. “Overall, just excited to get on the road.”
Riders say they do it because they’ll always remember the tragic events of 9/11.
“We have not forgotten about them and we never will,” Jones said.
“This shows the families that we don’t just utter those words,” said Morse.
JetBlue, a major sponsor of the ride, is offering to fly all 40 bikers back home once they’ve made it to New York – free of charge.
You can learn more about the Brotherhood Ride and track their progress through their website at http://www.brotherhoodride.com/.