Local police gear up for annual Bike to D.C. event

Pineville Police Department’s Officer Matthew Woodrow will strap on his helmet for the first time this year as officers hit the road for the annual Bike to D.C. ride.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and law enforcement members throughout the area come together once a year to make a 500-mile bicycle ride to the capitol in celebration of National Police Week and to honor fellow officers who have lost their lives while on the job. The group will ride more than 100 miles per day over the four-day trip, with police escorts and stops along the way.

“It helps with physical fitness. It’s definitely going to take a lot of endurance to ride 500 miles in four days,” Woodrow said. “… And it’s a good way to help other officers’ families who are no longer with us.”

Officers throughout the county are raising money to help pay for the ride before hitting the road in May, as well as raising some additional funds for the Charlotte Mecklenburg FOP Foundation, an organization that helps families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty. The goal for this year’s ride is to raise $70,000.  Donations will pay for food, lodging and support for the more than 100 riders participating in the event.

Woodrow will host a fundraising event in Harrisburg in late February to help fund his trip to Washington, D.C., and support the FOP foundation. The date for the event has not been set in stone, but Get in Gear Bicycles, at 12056 University City Blvd., will host a chili cook-off and will be giving away a free bicycle. The store also will have sales on other merchandise in the store during the event.

Although Woodrow and Pineville dispatcher Amanda Cootes, who is volunteering for the event and will assist officers along the ride, are the only two in Pineville currently signed up to participate, Woodrow is still trying to recruit fellow officers to take part in the four-day event.

“It benefits fallen officers and their families, and it’s just a really good program they’ve come up with to help raise money for those families,” Woodrow said.

Woodrow, whose father, Terry Woodrow, also is participating, has been riding an indoor training bike as well as riding outside, when the weather permits, to prepare for the challenge.

CMPD began the Bike to D.C. ride in 2007 after Officers Jeff Shelton and Sean Clark lost their lives in the line of duty. Some officers wanted to do more after the funeral and memorial service to honor the lives of their friends and took a 370-mile bike ride to Washington, D.C. The ride has now grown to nearly 100 officers and 500
miles.

After arriving in Washington, D.C., on May 12, officers will stay for the candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on May 13 before heading back home. National Police Week will take place in the capitol from May 11 to May 17 and include many events and programs for law enforcement officers to attend.

Donations can be made to any officer participating by credit, check or cash. Find more information about donations at www.biketodc.com. Click on “How You Can Help.”

 

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