TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) - Tallahassee police officers will soon hop on their bikes to ride for those who gave their lives while working to protect their communities.
The Police Unity Tour is a three day bike ride that happens once a year, but the training never stops.
"It's a lifestyle more than anything else," said Officer David Northway with the Tallahassee Police Department.
Northway says more than 100 law enforcement officers die a year trying to protect the rights of others, and the tour is a way to honor them.
"We have about 20 people going this year," said Northway. "We have been doing some group rides, trying to keep our paces up, keeping our mileage up."
In addition to riding several times a week, they incorporate spin classes into their training routines.
"We do tend to ride during the week in just short segments, maybe 45 minutes to an hour," said Northway. "And on the weekends we do two to three hours in length because on the first day, we are on the bike upwards [of] 10 to 12 hours, and things start to hurt if you are not used to it."
Dawn Gamache is a spin instructor at the Thomasville Road Baptist Church. She says in spin class, you can make it as intense as you want to. You create the hills, the speed, and the resistance.
"When you take your bike out on the road, you can't always train where you always need to with your strengths and weaknesses," said Gamache. "You are at the mercy at what the road gives you."
Rachelle Denmark of the Tallahassee Police Department is one of the officers participating this year. This will be her second time biking in the tour.
"The first year was exciting to do it because it was a challenge personally, and professionally it was something I [have] never done," said Denmark. "I was very proud to do the hills last year without any help at all. They just kept telling me one more hill."
The ride begins in Portsmouth, Virginia on May 10 and ends at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. May 12.