Five cyclists are using a six-week trip to help raise awareness for kids with special needs. 

Mendy Avtzon says this bike ride has been full of welcome challenges.

“For me, personally, dropping weight for two years now. I’m down around 70 pounds, it was time to jump the gun and do it,” explained Avtzon with the Bike 4 Friendship.

But this isn’t just a quick ride around the corner.

He’s one of five riders who left San Diego, California about three weeks ago, headed towards New Jersey.

“As part of Bike 4 Friendship, in support of and benefiting Friendship Circle, which is an organization that focuses on raising awareness and inclusion for children with special needs all over the country,” Avtzon added.

Along with raising awareness for Friendship Circle, the cyclists are also helping to send a message to the kids they serve: If you can dream it, you can do it.

“It’s very important to do what needs to be done, and just finish regardless of the amount of frustration, and whatever it takes,” said fellow bike rider David Hedaya.

They’ve covered about half the country now, and Wednesday afternoon, took a brief rest in Monett.

For some of the riders, this is a personal trip.

They’ve seen first hand the impact having the support of the community can have for a child with special needs.

“It’s amazing to see kids in the community grow up and with the aid of the programing that the organization provides and it really helps them thrive, and it really gives them a sense of community,” explained rider Mordechai Brafman.

Mendy says the cyclists have been joined from time to time by other riders, and will probably be joined for at least a few miles again before the ride ends.

But no matter how many miles they cover, the message to the other cyclists, and more importantly to the kids they’re helping will remain the same.

“I’m you friend, you’re part of us, we’re with you here, we’re in support of you,” said Avtzon.

The cyclists should arrive in new jersey around the end of the month.