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Our mini-blogathon to cover the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington began this morning with Sandy Hook Ride on Washington: the ride begins! Rally with Team 26 in Newtown! by tytalus

Team 26 sets off on Sandy Hook Ride on Washington
Team 26 begins their 400 mile ride from Newtown, Connecticut to Washington, D.C. - The Sandy Hook Ride on Washington
From embedded support crew Becky Frank and Peter Olson
WE ARE OFF! The Newtown and Ridgefield send off rallies were a HUGE success! Thank you to everyone who came out! We are on route to Washington pushing gun control laws the entire way down. Watch for more updates throughout the ride!
Team 26 (AKA The Sandy Hook Riders) are a mix of professional, top amateur, and masters cyclists from the Northeast. Monte Frank started Team 26 as a way to deliver a message to Congress demanding common sense gun legislation.

Their team includes a former US National Team member, Canadian National Team member, Masters National Champion, and State and Regional Champions. Three members of the Team are from Newtown, including Monte Frank, Bill Muzzio and Chris Peck. Two of the riders have children who went to the Sandy Hook School. Their team includes parents, teachers, and a Vietnam Veteran. They all care deeply about our children and seek reasonable gun control legislation.

Please join us in supporting these riders and add our voices to theirs in calling on Congress to pass common sense gun safety legislation. Check out the Team's Facebook page (registration is not required).

Map of March 9 AM Ride
March 9, 2013 - Day 1 Morning Route - Stops Annotated
Stop # 2: The Flagpole
Today's route passes by the Flag Pole and Newtown's Volunteer Fire Department
Sandy Hook Ride on Washington - The start of a 400 mile ride for common sense gun safety legislation

We will be covering the ride again later today, and will be introducing all the riders throughout the blogathon. Every great team needs enthusiastic support. Please join us in getting to know the enthusiastic crew members riding with Team 26 to Washington.

The Team 26 Support Crew

Getting 26 cyclists from the Sandy Hook School to the Capitol safely and trouble free is no easy task, and it requires a lot more than just riders willing to push the pedals for almost 400 miles. So, we have assembled an awesome support crew. They include mechanics, drivers, logistics gurus, and bloggers. They are dedicated to our message of peace. Their reasons for volunteering their time and skills are as compelling as the riders themselves. We will share their stories as well, starting with…

Support Crew #1: Sean Cavanaugh, Danbury, Connecticut
Support Crew #2: Becky Frank, Sandy Hook, Connecticut
Support Crew #3: Adam Silbert, New York, NY
Support Crew #4: Peter Olson, Bethel, Connecticut
Support Crew #5: Greg Meghani, Bethlehem, Connecticut
Support Crew #6: Mike Conlan, Ridgefield, Connecticut

In the snapshots below, each crew member expresses in their own words why they are riding. Let's express our support and appreciation to each of them on their Facebook pages (a Facebook account is not required). Thank you all for joining us to support them and Team 26 on their ride to promote common sense gun safety legislation.

Support Crew: Sean Cavanaugh - Sandy Hook Ride on Washington
Sean Cavanaugh
Support Crew #1: Sean Cavanaugh, Danbury, Connecticut

Why I am Supporting the Sandy Hook Ride On Washington?

December 14th is one of those days I will never forget. I was at work picking away at some odds and ends only to hear customers speaking of a school shooting that was taking place - honestly I just kept working thinking nothing of it. Then I overheard that it was happening only miles away in idyllic Newtown at Sandy Hook Elementary and I was shocked. It seemed like time stood still as stories of the day unfolded and the horror of the situation grew. The tremendous loss was hard to handle, made me crave my family to hold them tight.

I am supporting this ride to remember those 26 beautiful lives stripped from the great community of Newtown and to support the families left behind coping with their loss. I am lending a hand to make sure that the 26 cyclists trip is trouble free so their voices are heard upon their arrival in Washington DC. I am hoping this gesture of a simple bike ride with like-minded Americans can raise awareness and promote actions so that tragedies like this will become few and far between.

I support Team 26 to help promote a conversation for stricter gun laws so my 3 boys can grow up in a country safer than we live in today. I support this cause so my wife, a 6th grade teacher, can go to work in a safe and loving environment. I am choosing to be a part of this undertaking because the people of Newton deserve a voice and this is my small way to help them be heard.

Support Crew #2: Becky Frank - Sandy Hook Ride on Washington  
Becky Frank - Riding her bike many years ago
Support Crew #2: Becky Frank, Sandy Hook, Connecticut


My dad taught me to ride a bike at the Sandy Hook School, as shown in this picture.

On December 14, 2012 at 9:25 in the morning my friend and her mom were driving me home, and we drove directly past the entrance to the Sandy Hook School. Coming off a fun sleepover, little did we know the horrors that were about to take place right there. At 9:35 I was inside my house alone, just minutes from SHS. No more than 10 minutes later I received the reverse 911 saying that there was a shooting at one of the schools and everyone was in lockdown. Immediately after, I received a call from my mother making sure I was okay. The first thought that went through my head was that my little sister was at Reed Intermediate. The beautiful halls that I had once walked in the Newtown schools were damaged and I yearned to learn more information. Soon after I found out that that it was at SHS, so my sister was safe. But many of our close friends were not. At that point it was thought that there was another shooter running around, and I was terrified being home alone. This terror that I and every other child in Newtown felt should never have to be felt by children. No one should have the power to target innocent children ever again.

I SUPPORT because I love my community, and want us to be able to make a difference.

I SUPPORT because my neighbors not only include slain children, but the shooter himself. I regularly ran by his house. No child should ever be able to state these facts about their running route ever again.

I SUPPORT because no town should have to go through what our town has gone through.

I SUPPORT because children should be able to feel safe when getting on the school bus and every parent comfortable letting them go.

I SUPPORT because your child, parent, neighbor, or community member should not be able to gain an assault weapon to commit a crime like this one.

I SUPPORT because I have watched this ride blossom from a mere idea to something being broadcasted on the news.


Support Crew #3: Adam Silbert - Sandy Hook Ride on Washington  
Adam Silbert
Support Crew #3: Adam Silbert, New York, NY


Group founder Monte Frank and I went to college together. If you want to know why I'm doing this, read the amazing personal stories of the 26 riders.

We're not policy experts but we know the issue demands action. A majority of Americans agree with the common sense measures we're discussing. Let's continue the dialogue with our neighbors and in our communities.

Please "like" and share our page and urge your elected officials to get involved.

PS: Adam was a Field Organizer for the Obama campaign. He was among the first people I called to discuss the ride. He loved it, the ideas began to flow, and here we are. And, like everyone else I asked to help, the answer was yes and he jumped in with both feet. That's how it's been with everyone we have asked, and for that, I am grateful.

Support Crew #4: Peter Olson, Bethel, Connecticut

WHY I RIDE? I ride in memory of the precious lives we lost on 12.14, including Caroline Previdi, daughter of my colleague in the Danbury Bar, attorney Joy Previdi. To never forget, nor let the memory of what happened on 12.14 fade from our collective memories.

I ride to support the long road to recovery of the survivors of 12.14, and to express gratitude to the first responders on that terrible day, dedicated public servants who will probably never fully recover. And I ride to give thanks for the tireless work and financial support of all who are helping, even in the smallest ways.

I ride because no matter what the gun fetishists in this country tell you, there ARE things we can do, should do, and should have done to prevent the horrific events on 12.14. We should never throw up our hands in futility, merely because we can never completely prevent all gun violence. We must do everything that might have even the smallest chance of reducing the tragic toll of gun violence.

I ride because over 2,500 people have been killed by guns since 12.14 in the United States alone. I ride because children in our cities have been living with an ever present fear of gun violence for decades. We are experiencing a public health crisis, one which we have the power to rectify.

I ride because we must stop actively preventing our law enforcement agencies from doing their job to monitor and enforce our current gun laws, and we must stop actively preventing our health experts from researching the causes of gun violence and finding ways to prevent it.

We owe it to ourselves, as citizens of a modern democratic society, to determine that the cost of living in this free society does not and cannot include the staggering costs of our current gun society, costs which were brought too close to home on 12.14.

During our ride to Washington, I will be safely ensconced in a warm and hopefully comfortable passenger van, ahead of the main peloton, ensuring logistical issues are resolved before our cyclists arrive.

Nevertheless, I ride.

Support Crew #5: Greg Meghani - Sandy Hook Ride on Washington
Greg Meghani (left) - Sandy Hook Ride on Washington
Support Crew #5: Greg Meghani, Bethlehem, Connecticut


I support the Sandy Hook Ride On Washington to honor the lives of the educators lost. I come from a family of educators. My Grandmother was a teacher. My mother is a teacher. My sister is a teacher. My aunt is a teacher. My cousin is a teacher. My best friends are teachers. I myself hold a teaching degree. In a world where teachers are the recipients of misplaced blame a simple fact is forgotten, teachers are individuals who enter their field to improve the lives of children and mold them into productive citizens.

The violence on 12/14 put Newtown's educators in a position they never thought they would be in. Their role of providing children with a safe constructive environment took a tragic turn and left educators across the country wondering how they would continue to effectively carry out their charge in a new environment. I support Sandy Hook Ride On Washington so current and future educators can continue to enrich the lives of our country's youth without fear.

I support the Sandy Hook Ride On Washington to prevent 12/14 from becoming another event in an unacceptably long list of shootings in our country. To bring attention to and help reduce all gun violence in our country, not just in our public schools in Newtown, but in the lives of the youth in our nation's violent cities. To allow local children, like those cub scouts pictured with me, to learn bike maintenance, not lockdown drills.

I support the Sandy Hook Ride On Washington to turn 12/14 into the pivotal event in our nation's history we tell our children and our children's children about.

Support Crew #6: Mike Conlan - Sandy Hook Ride on Washington  
Mike Conlan
Support Crew #6: Mike Conlan, Ridgefield, Connecticut


When I was asked to lend support to the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I’ve known many of these riders for up to 20 years, some I’ve even coached.

I’m volunteering to help these 26 riders, because what they are doing is a very difficult and selfless act.

I grew up in Detroit with a father who was a member of the NRA. I was shown how to properly use and store a firearm. We were responsible gun owners, but with time and with my own family my views have changed. I don’t see the need to ban firearms, but I do see the need for stronger gun laws, more stringent screening, and better safety procedures.

I have friends who are Newtown residents, and now their town is remembered for all of the wrong reasons. Not the quiet country town that it was. 26 lives were lost. 20 little innocent angels taken away too early. 6 brave souls gunned down for doing the right thing and there are countless others who survived whose actions from that day may never be heard.

What happened in Sandy Hook on that Friday in December could have happened anywhere. My desire is to see that a tragedy like Sandy Hook doesn’t happen again. Newtown is now a town that is a rallying point for greater awareness for stronger laws to reduce gun violence.

This is why I’m lending my support; to try and affect change.

Sandy Hook Ride on Washington ~ March 9 - 12

Team 26 is a group of 26 elite cyclists who will ride from Newtown, CT to Washington, DC beginning on March 9 and arriving on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol on March 12.  Along the way, we will stop in Ridgefield, CT, Frenchtown, NJ and Baltimore, MD.  Our goal: to bring Newtown's message to Washington in support of common sense gun legislation.

Please join us as we follow Monte Frank, Peter Olson and the other members of Team 26 as they travel from Newtown, CT to Washington DC.  Embedded blogger Becky Frank (Monte’s daughter) will be providing info and photos from the daily events.

Click here to visit Team 26's Facebook page
Facebook account not required
To add this series to your stream
follow the "Team 26" tag
or follow on Tweeter: SHRoW@SHRoW2013
Saturday 3/9
tytalus ~ Morning kick-off 5:30am EST
LilithGardener ~ "Meet the Crew"
Glen The Plumber ~ Evening Wrap-up

Sunday 3/10
Dave in Northridge ~ Morning
LilithGardener ~ "Meet the Riders" noon EDT
DefendOurConstitution ~ Evening

Monday 3/11
LilithGardener ~ "Meet the Riders" noon EDT
TBD ~ Evening

Tuesday 3/12
LilithGardener ~ "Meet the Riders" noon EDT
remembrance ~ Evening


times to be determined

You can read more about the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington and Team 26 in petersolson's diaries here on Daily Kos:

Sandy Hook Ride on Washington - March 9-12

Sandy Hook Ride on Washington - March 9-12 - Day 2 Schedule Update

Sandy Hook Ride on Washington - March 9-12 - Day 3 Schedule update

Update: Monte Frank tweeted this picture of the team as they approached the Flag Pole in Newtown this morning.
March 9, 2013 - Day 1 - Team 26 Riders Approach Stop #2 - The Flag Pole and Newtown's Volunteer Fire Department
Team 26 Riders Approach Stop #2 - The Flag Pole and the Volunteer Fire Department in Newtown, CT
1:51 PM PT: Update from Greg Dworkin this morning:
2:22 PM PT: Tweet pic from Sandy Hook Promise - Team 26 at 10 AM
It's perfect riding weather in Connecticut. There is still snow on the ground but they  have dry roads and it's a bright and sunny 50 degrees.
4:12 PM PT: Update from Peter Olson - Team 26 Support Mobile - This morning at the Kick Off Rally

1:55 PM PT: A sweet tweet for Team 26 from Gabby Giffords (h/t Glen the Plumber):

2:07 PM PT: Peter Olson reported that Team 26 crossed over the Hudson River on the Bear Mountain Bridge at 11:02:23 AM PST
Sandy Hook Ride on Washington
Team 26 Crossing the Hudson River - Stony Point, New York
Checking in from the road

I just crossed over the Bear Mountain Bridge as the cyclists head out of Ridgefield to the first big climb of the trip. Thanks Greg for the great photos of the send off. We had great attendance, inspirational comments, and just a bit of chill in the March morning. What snow?

Thanks to Congressman Himes and Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker for joining the ride to Ridgefield. Great welcome from Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Rep Frey at Veterans Park ES.

I will try to get a Flickr feed up tonight if Yahoo stops asking me for my parents permission....

by petersolson on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 11:02:23 AM PST
5:04 PM PT: Great press Coverage by Gary Stoller at USA Today
Well-wishers send Newtown cyclists on their way to D.C.
Gary Stoller, USA TODAY, 3:13p.m. EST March 9, 2013

Accompanied by other cyclists — including Chris McDonnell, whose 7-year-old daughter Grace was one of the victims at the elementary school, and Rep. Chris Himes, D-Conn. — the 26 riders left Newtown's Reed Intermediate School and made a first stop at the Sandy Hook firehouse.

They shared a moment of silence there for the shooting victims and gave a show of support for first responders. The firehouse is at the end of a street leading to Sandy Hook Elementary School and the place where students and faculty took refuge after the shootings.

McDonnell, Himes and other cyclists joined Team 26 on the first leg of the ride to a rally in Ridgefield, about 20 miles from Newtown.

7:55 PM PT: Blogathon continues with Glen the Plumber's wrap up of Day 1

Originally posted to Shut Down the NRA on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 01:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Dream Menders, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), J Town, and VAGV - Veterans Against Gun Violence.

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