Amidst the strolling couples and casual bike riders on the Mississippi riverfront, two East Moline police officers are riding with a purpose.
Stacey Bollinger and Matt Drobney are wrapping up training for the Tour de Force, a bike ride with a dual mission– to honor the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks and to raise money for the families of police officers killed in the line of duty.
Both are causes that hit close to home for the local police officers.
“I’ve learned through my career that its more than just a job, it’s a brotherhood. No matter what city we go to, no matter what state we go to,” said Drobney.
The ride isn’t easy, either. It’s a four-day trip from Boston to New York City, where the group will arrive at the site of the World Trade Center on September 11th. Roughly 250 people, mainly police officers, were selected to ride. In preparation, the men have been riding 100 miles a week. Bollinger has lost 25 pounds since he made his first Tour de Force ride last year.
As nice as the Quad City bike paths are, though, in some ways they just don’t compare to the New England terrain.
“We rode 20 miles going up a hill. I’m not exaggerating, 20 miles uphill. There’s just no way to prepare for anything like that around here,” recalled Bollinger of a stretch in New Jersey.
Luckily they’ve got a good cause to keep them going.
“We need to continue to remember it so we can pass it on to our families, our children, so they know what happened, they know what kind of heroes were there that helped out throughout the course of the tragedy,” said Drobney.
Each rider was also required to put up $1000 dollars, and their wives, who are coming along as support staff, had to fundraise $300 each. For more information on the Tour de Force and how you can help, click here.