KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Five hundred miles is a long way to go by car, let alone on a bike, but University of Tennessee assistant professor Dr. Andrew Cushing is going to do just that.

He’s biking for a charity that helps wild and zoo animals. The trip will last about five days and he will be biking with colleagues from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington.

They’ve already raised close to $1,000 but they’re looking to get at least $4,000 more.

“This is going to be great,” said Dr. Cushing.

It’s a journey he’s done before in Europe.

“This is kind of my job and my passion to kind of help these animals,” he said.

Dr. Cushing has been working with lots of wild and zoo animals for quite some time now, and says research to help them is sometimes overlooked.

“There are loads of open doors for really improving the health and the welfare of these animals, and that’s really what this organization aims to provide,” said Dr. Cushing.

That’s why when he rides in the wind, through the possible blood and sweat, he’ll have some motivation.

“Kind of every little bit you do raises some more money for this cause, which is great and it gives you a little extra momentum,” he said.

Dr. Cushing admits he hasn’t trained as much as he would’ve liked because of his 10-week-old son, but he says he’ll be just fine because it isn’t a race and he’ll be with colleagues to help push him along.

The ride begins this Saturday and will end next Wednesday.More online: Click here to help Dr. Cushing’s cause