Columbia cyclists support veterans traveling across country

Saturday, September 8, 2012 | 2:13 p.m. CDT; updated 4:03 p.m. CDT, Saturday, September 8, 2012

COLUMBIA — A group of about 20 cyclists clad in spandex and bike helmets stood under the Flat Branch Park gazebo Saturday morning, preparing to ride to meet a group of military veterans making their way across the country. 

On Saturday, the group rode 17 miles to Rocheport to greet five veterans doing the Long Road Home Project — a bicycle ride from Washington state to Washington, D.C., that will take a total of 90 days. The veterans started their 4,200-mile-long journey July 15, according to the project's website. The trip is designed to raise awareness about the issues veterans face when they return to the United States.

Rider Tim Overshiner said the struggles veterans experience aren't talked about.

“It’s not sensational news, and that’s usually all you see on TV,” he said. “I just think for the most part it’s not heavily covered in the media.”

Overshiner, who served in the Navy during the Gulf War, comes from a long line of veterans.

“I would support these guys … as much as if I hadn’t served,” he said.

Columbia resident Todd Cowan, an accountant at the Department of Veterans Affairs, said the veterans would be a little more than halfway through their trip when they reached Rocheport.

“I'm an avid bike rider, too, and I do a lot of things for the veterans,” Cowan said. "It really made me want to jump right in and get really involved in it."

The group planned to round off its day of support with a barbecue and live music at Mojo’s from 4 to 8 p.m.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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