Published: Aug 20, 2011 11:46 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 20, 2011 11:46 PM EDT

NORTH NAPLES, Fla. - A 1,600 mile journey is underway from Naples to New York to honor the first responders who died on September 11, 2001.

Local firefighters and officers were among those setting off on bicycle for the Brotherhood Ride on Saturday morning.  They're pedaling for the next 22 days for ground zero.  This year's fourth annual ride honors the 411 emergency workers who died there ten years ago.

"The Brotherhood ride started 4 years ago when we had a warehouse fire in Charleston, SC, that was the first ride we did, and we did it to honor those 9 firefighters," said Jeff Morse with the North Naples Fire District, who also founded the Brotherhood Ride program.

"There's a total, physical effort to this thing, there's not a firefighter or police officer out here that won't tell you that he's tired at the end of the night," Morse explained.

The riders stop at fire houses and Elks lodges on the way to catch up on rest.

"The ride has been phenomenal," said Dan Rowen, a retired New York firefighters who is riding with the group. "I had the dubious distinction of being (at the World Trade Center) not once, but twice, in 1993 I was on the 31st floor.  I got lucky.  Ten of my guys didn't get lucky, so I ride for them"

"It's the support we get from passing motorists, other firefighters and police officers that makes it all work," Morse said.

"It's all for a great cause, it's not just a good cause, it's a great cause," Rowen said.

You can learn more about the Brotherhood Ride and track their progress through their website at