A southeastern Minnesota dentist has joined others in a cross-country charity bike ride that will take them nearly 4,300 miles (7,000 kilometers) over nine weeks.

A southeastern Minnesota dentist has joined others in a cross-country charity bike ride that will take them nearly 4,300 miles (7,000 kilometers) over nine weeks.

Steven Sperling of Rochester started the journey June 15 and is one of more than 20 participants from around the world embarking on the ride, The Post Bulletin reported .

"I'm not really a biker," Sperling said. "I wanted to do something that was semi-unattainable, and this fit the bill."

The route will take them from Washington to Massachusetts. Sperling said he estimates he'll spend six hours a day pedaling about 85 miles (137 kilometers). The group plans to rest on Sundays.

Sperling said he prepared for the journey by training for longer period of time at a lower intensity and focusing on endurance nutrition.

"I don't know how my body is going to recover each day or how the sleep will be on the ground," he said. "I think it'll be fine, but I just don't know."

Sperling will be raising money for The Reading Center and Smiles for Life, a dental mission organization. He said he chose The Reading Center because his son went there as a child as he struggled with reading difficulties and dyslexia.

"That has had a huge impact for our family," Sperling said. "I think they are directly responsible for his success to date."

Smiles for Life works to combine financial small-business loans and dental care in other countries.

"With the fundraising, I want to do the best I can for something I feel passionate about," Sperling said.