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100 veterans bike their way to July 4 ceremonies in D.C.

| Saturday, July 1, 2017, 1:45 p.m.
Dan Mahaven, of Oakdale, a veteran of the U.S Navy, leads a group into West Newton on Saturday, July 1, 2017 for the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans ride from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal until their final destination for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride in Washington D.C. Ride organizer Dan Blevins with the Veterans Leadership Program said that the ride turn-out had 'quadrupled' since last year's inaugural ride, where only 21 riders participated. Each rider helps raise funds for the non-profit Veterans Leadership Program with $1 per mile. 'I don't think there is a single person that doesn't meet that goal,' said Blevins. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Dan Mahaven, of Oakdale, a veteran of the U.S Navy, leads a group into West Newton on Saturday, July 1, 2017 for the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans ride from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal until their final destination for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride in Washington D.C. Ride organizer Dan Blevins with the Veterans Leadership Program said that the ride turn-out had 'quadrupled' since last year's inaugural ride, where only 21 riders participated. Each rider helps raise funds for the non-profit Veterans Leadership Program with $1 per mile. 'I don't think there is a single person that doesn't meet that goal,' said Blevins. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
Veterans stop in West Newton on July 1, 2017, to pump tires and clean bikes for the 335 Miles for Veterans ride. More than 120 riders will set out from Station Square on Saturday, June 30, 2018, for this year's ride.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Veterans stop in West Newton on July 1, 2017, to pump tires and clean bikes for the 335 Miles for Veterans ride. More than 120 riders will set out from Station Square on Saturday, June 30, 2018, for this year's ride.
Ride organizer Dan Blevins of Pittsburgh gathers with veterans after arriving in West Newton on Saturday, July 1, 2017 for the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans ride. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal straight to Washington D.C. for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride. Each rider helps raise funds for the non-profit Veterans Leadership Program with $1 per mile, totaling $335 by the end of the trip. 'I don't think there is a single person that doesn't meet that goal,' said Blevins. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Ride organizer Dan Blevins of Pittsburgh gathers with veterans after arriving in West Newton on Saturday, July 1, 2017 for the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans ride. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal straight to Washington D.C. for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride. Each rider helps raise funds for the non-profit Veterans Leadership Program with $1 per mile, totaling $335 by the end of the trip. 'I don't think there is a single person that doesn't meet that goal,' said Blevins. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
Veterans enjoy complimentary pizza from Fox's Pizza in West Newton after their ride from Pittsburgh along the Great Allegheny Passage on Saturday, July 1, 2017 for the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans ride. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal straight to Washington D.C. for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride. Ride organizer Dan Blevins with the Veterans Leadership Program said that the ride turnout had 'quadrupled' since last year's inaugural ride, where only 21 riders participated. Each rider helps raise funds for the non-profit Veterans Leadership Program with $1 per mile, totaling $335 by the end of the trip. 'I don't think there is a single person that doesn't meet that goal,' said Blevins. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Veterans enjoy complimentary pizza from Fox's Pizza in West Newton after their ride from Pittsburgh along the Great Allegheny Passage on Saturday, July 1, 2017 for the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans ride. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal straight to Washington D.C. for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride. Ride organizer Dan Blevins with the Veterans Leadership Program said that the ride turnout had 'quadrupled' since last year's inaugural ride, where only 21 riders participated. Each rider helps raise funds for the non-profit Veterans Leadership Program with $1 per mile, totaling $335 by the end of the trip. 'I don't think there is a single person that doesn't meet that goal,' said Blevins. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
Veterans stop in West Newton on Saturday, July 01, 2017 with mud caked bikes and legs during the 335 Miles for Veterans ride. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal straight to Washington D.C. for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Veterans stop in West Newton on Saturday, July 01, 2017 with mud caked bikes and legs during the 335 Miles for Veterans ride. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal straight to Washington D.C. for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
Doug Riegner with the Allegheny Trail Alliance helps Dianne Sarver, of Monacca, a U.S Army veteran, wash mud from her bike after the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans ride made its way into West Newton on Saturday, July 01, 2017. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal straight to Washington D.C. for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Doug Riegner with the Allegheny Trail Alliance helps Dianne Sarver, of Monacca, a U.S Army veteran, wash mud from her bike after the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans ride made its way into West Newton on Saturday, July 01, 2017. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal straight to Washington D.C. for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
U.S Army veterans Dan Blevins, left, and Ryan Ahl, right, both Pittsburgh locals, ride the Great Allegheny Passage trail into West Newton on Saturday, July 1, 2017 for the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans ride from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal until their final destination for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride in Washington D.C. Ride organizer Dan Blevins with the Veterans Leadership Program said that the ride turn-out had 'quadrupled' since last year's inaugural ride, where only 21 riders participated. Each rider helps raise funds for the non-profit Veterans Leadership Program with $1 per mile, totaling $335 by the end of the trip. 'I don't think there is a single person that doesn't meet that goal,' said Blevins.  Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
U.S Army veterans Dan Blevins, left, and Ryan Ahl, right, both Pittsburgh locals, ride the Great Allegheny Passage trail into West Newton on Saturday, July 1, 2017 for the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans ride from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. Nearly 100 veterans will be riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail into the C&O Canal until their final destination for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride in Washington D.C. Ride organizer Dan Blevins with the Veterans Leadership Program said that the ride turn-out had 'quadrupled' since last year's inaugural ride, where only 21 riders participated. Each rider helps raise funds for the non-profit Veterans Leadership Program with $1 per mile, totaling $335 by the end of the trip. 'I don't think there is a single person that doesn't meet that goal,' said Blevins. Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Vet Center.

Nearly 100 veterans are riding the Great Allegheny Passage trail to Washington, D.C., for Fourth of July celebrations and a ceremony commemorating their ride.

They stopped Saturday for lunch at the Great Allegheny Passage Trail Headquarters in West Newton before continuing on their 335-mile bicycle ride. The cyclists left from Point State Park on Friday morning for the second annual 335 Miles for Veterans event.

The Veterans Leadership Program's diverse group of cyclists includes Vietnam veterans and those who served in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each rider's goal is to raise at least $1 per mile, or $335 total, for the organization. To date, the team has raised more than $44,000 in four months.

“I don't think there is a single person that doesn't meet that goal,” ride organizer Dan Blevins of Pittsburgh said.

Riders receive support at trail stops along the route from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Center.

Shane Dunlap is a Tribune-Review staff photographer.

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