Eight cyclists riding across the U.S. to spread words of peace and acceptance
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The headlines are fewer than before, but after four years, there's still a war going on in Ukraine.
That point was made in Springfield on Wednesday after a church hosted a special group of cyclists, riding for peace.
It survived two world wars and decades of Soviet occupation, but after a few short years of independence, war came again to Ukraine in 2014.
"For the first time in 500 years, they are free," said Father Kenneth Olsen, at the Nativity Ukrainian Catholic Church. "Everyone around them is trying to take that freedom away."
Now, eight bicycle travelers from that war torn region are sending North Americans a message.
"We want to connect Ukrainians everywhere and show, here we are," said Dmytro Trokin, a Chumak Way Team Member. "We are not corruption, we are not crime. We are a wide people."
Chumak Way, Cycle U.S. and Canada for Peace, hit the road from Los Angeles two weeks ago. They're not stopping until they reach Washington D.C. They stopped on Wednesday for rest and nourishment at the Nativity Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Among the eight cyclists, there are two veterans of war action against the Russian-backed separatists.
Nobody knows when peace will come in Ukraine, but Olsen hopes that Americans will pay attention to what the cyclists are saying.
"They look to this country to support them and to be strong in our support for their revolution," said Olsen.
Trokin says that the team rides hard, five days a week, averaging 80-199 miles per day, then rests the other two days. People are invited to join in on the ride by sending them an email to make a connection.