Cyclist Rides Cross Country for a Good Cause

July 27, 2012 Updated Jul 27, 2012 at 2:23 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

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July 27, 2012 Updated Jul 27, 2012 at 2:23 PM EDT

Niagara Falls, N.Y. (WKBW) - Mark Mansell suited up and hopped on his bike, all for a good cause.

"I'm cycling from Portland Oregon to Portland Maine for Leader Dogs For the Blind," Mansell said.

Mansell is part of Lions Club the group that started this program. The 3500-mile trek across the U.S. will raise money & awareness about these dogs and help get them to visually impaired people in need.

"When someone loses their sight, their world gets smaller and they lose their freedom to travel. What the guide dog does is give them back their mobility and freedom," Mansell said.

Mansell is a Superintendent of a school district during the school year but decided to take on this project while school is out. He said although it's been a dream of his to cycle across the U.S., it now benefits something near and dear to his heart. He said there are some challenges.

"The biggest challenge this summer is the heat and the wind. We've had some tremendous temperatures across the country. I've had up to 110 degrees to ride in," Mansell said.

He rides about 90 miles a day, on average, before stopping to rest and enjoy the sites as he did in Niagara Falls. He said it all worth every 'pedal' because of the importance of these dogs.

"It has completely flipped around from a personal trip to all for Leader Dogs for the Blind and they have provided over 14,000 leader dogs for clients over the last 73 years. All free of charge," Mansell said.