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Dad to Bike Across Country in Support of Son, Troops

By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2004 – One of Dan Forant's favorite photos is of his young son wearing an Army helmet. And, one of the duo's favorite pastimes is cycling.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Spc. Dan Forant III, (fourth from left) is an infantryman stationed in Iraq's Sunni Triangle. He's been in the war-torn country since August. His father will bike from New York to California to show his support for all troops serving in the war on terror. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image)

Today, Spc. Dan Forant III sports his own Army gear as an infantryman in Iraq. And his bike is safely stored in the garage at home awaiting his return.

"He always wanted to be in the Army," said the elder Forant, who will soon bicycle from New York to California in support of his son and others serving in the war on terror.

Forant plans to leave his home in Cohoes, N.Y., near Albany, March 1 and head toward New York City and the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers. That same day, in Iraq, his son is slated to pin on sergeant's stripes.

Although he's been to the WTC site several times, the 39-year-old said there are several reasons the hallowed ground is one of his first stops.

"It's a nerve center, a focal point," said Forant, who was evacuated from a Pennsylvania airport after the tragic events of Sept. 11 unfolded. "How can I go through New York and not go there?"

In preparation for the 3,000-mile journey, Forant said he has been cycling three hours a day on a stationary bike at a 15 mph pace six days a week. He plans to ride between 60 and 70 miles each day, resting every three hours. From Illinois to California, he will travel along historic Route 66.

Anyone may join Forant on the ride. "Hopefully, we'll pick up people along the way," he said, adding he plans to stop at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and will be close to Fort Sill, Okla.

Forant, who served in the Army, said he's just an "average guy" trying to show support for the troops, especially his son. He said he's confident he'll be able to complete the journey in about 45 days.

Forant admitted cycling in New York in March may be chilly, but he said he'd rather hit the Midwest in April, when the temperature will be "bearable."

"I don't like the heat," he added. "I'd rather ride in 10 degrees than 95." He said he'll just make up any time he loses to bad weather.

"Failure is not an option," he said.

For more information on Forant's bicycle journey, call 1-800-207-5054. All money raised from the cross-country trek, said Forant, will go to families of the fallen "those who gave their lives in defense of this great nation," he said.

Dan Forant will bike from New York to California to show his support for troops serving in the war on terror, especially his son, who is an infantryman in Iraq. He will begin the 3,000-mile journey March 1. Courtesy photo


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