NEWTOWN, CT (WFSB) -
There were 26 innocent lives lost in the Sandy Hook tragedy and now, 26 cyclists will be riding in their honor.
On March 9, the group will ride from Sandy Hook to Washington D.C. to lobby for stronger gun control legislation, with 26 people being involved, one for each victim.
The bikers, who will be led by a police escort, plan on biking over three days and getting to their destination by March 12.
The goal of the ride, which is not a fundraiser, is to met with Connecticut senators and representatives to push for stricter gun laws in the wake of shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 when 20 children and six adults were shot and killed.
"We've gotten tremendous support from people all over the country who really have identified with our ride and our cause and are inspiring us to train and get ready for it and do the 400 miles to DC," said Monte Frank, who organized the ride.
Three years ago, Frank's daughter had Vicki Soto as a substitute teacher for three months and since the tragedy, he has struggled to explain it to her.
"She handed me a letter that she wrote about why my dad is writing to Washington," said Frank. "It was really the first time since Dec. 14 that she's really opened up and spoken about it."
Among the riders is Bill Muzzio. He lives down the street from the Pintos, whose 6-year-old son Jack was one of the 20 children who were killed.
"I could remember seeing him and his dad playing in the front yard. He was the big Giants fan. He would always wave to me, and I would wave to them. And then I climb up our hill which is nothing easy to get up," Muzzio said. "So now every time I ride up the hill, I ride up and tap the mailbox and just ask them to give me the strength to finish strong."
Gary Lyke, who served in the Vietnam War, connected with several Sandy Hook Elementary School students at an annual veterans breakfast.
"I couldn't comprehend. In my image, I see all these kids standing around singing with you. And the next thing, you hear about this," Lyke said. "I still can't put the two pictures together. It doesn't make any sense at all."
Two rallies will be held on March 9 in Newtown and then Ridgefield, which are the riders' two stops in Connecticut. Another one will be held in Washington D.C. on March 12.
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