Los Angeles firefighters cycling across US for Sept. 11


Firefighters are used to rolling out in trucks on calls. They're also used to rolling out a hose. But firefighter paramedics George Ostrovsky and Jim Prabhu are about to go on a different roll.

This weekend they'll be shedding their Los Angeles City Fire Department uniforms to go on a new adventure with eight other Southern California firefighters. The group is bicycling across the country, covering 3,308 miles.

"We're taking 45 days to do the entire thing," said Prabhu.

"We're going to arrive in New York City, I hope, Sept. 9," said Ostrovsky.

The firefighters have dubbed their trip "The Ride for 9/11."

"We're doing it for the 10-year anniversary of 9/11," said Ostrovsky.

Nine firefighters will be riding their bikes the whole way, and another will be following in an RV with food and supplies. The plan is to sleep in fire stations along the route and raise money for firefighter charities.

"We're doing fundraisers in specific cities," said Ostrovsky. "Such as Scottsdale, Oklahoma City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, and eventually we're going to end up in New York City."

A ride that long takes some serious planning. The firefighters came up with the idea four years ago and have spent the last year training.

"Each rider has probably been riding every day off that they are not at the fire station," said Prabhu. "They ride 80 to 100 miles when they can."

Once in New York, the firefighters will take part in various Sept. 11 memorial services. They will then rest up for the long ride home, which will probably be on bicycles -- right?

"No way, we're flying," said Ostrovsky. "I'm going to sit in the seat and I am going to make sure I have a nice, soft cushion to sit on the whole way home."

But even though the 3,308 miles may be tough on their backsides and hard on their legs, it will be great for their hearts in more ways than one.

"It's definitely an honor to be able to pay our respects in any way that we can," said Prabhu.

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