SANTA CLARA (KCBS) – Firefighters Darrell Sales and Dave Lombardo got a rousing send-off Tuesday as they set out from Santa Clara Fire Station No. 2 on a cross-country bike ride to honor the 343 firefighters who died in the Sept. 11 attacks.

For three years, Sales and a small group of firefighters have been planning the 3,809-mile trip. If all goes according to plan, he and Lombardo will pedal into New York on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

“We’ll ride north along the Hudson River across the George Washington Bridge, ride south on the other side down towards the World Trade Center and the memorial that they have down there, if they’ll allow us,” Sales said.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

In the days after 9-11, the number 343 carried tremendous emotional resonance for firefighters everywhere, although Sales said that as time passed the true significance of the number sometimes became lost.

“Many didn’t know what 343 meant, and so if we do nothing else but bring an awareness that 343 firefighters gave up their lives that day, we’ve done our jobs to help memorialize that day,” he said.

Fire stations across the country stepped forward to host the two bicyclists and a driving support person on a 39-day journey Bay2Brooklyn Ride that ends at a station on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge. The group will cover around 100 miles a day, except for the final leg when they rest up for what should be an emotional ride through Manhattan.

“Our last day is 28 miles. We stay in Jersey City the night before,” Sales said.

Donations, still being accepted, will benefit the Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation. The men are also still looking for hosts on some legs of their itinerary.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (2)
  1. Victor says:

    With all their money, the Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation should be giving me money.

  2. Nick says:

    Why so Victor? Instead of expecting a hand out or making some ignorant comment why don’t you go earn your own earnings?! Have some pride!N