We have been very fortunate to have been able to enjoy many great outdoor activities. In addition to hiking and backpacking, we have participated in the Bike Ride Across Georgia and numerous other group rides. They have been great fun and a pleasure to for us. However, there is one cycling experience that we have done several times that is more than just personal fun. The Multiple Sclerosis Society organizes bike rides at diverse geographic locations that actually help people who suffer from MS by raising money to help find a cure. To date, I am not aware of a cure but these rides help provide the fund s that keep hope alive. The rides are called the MS 150 because they entail up to 150 or more miles of riding over a two day period. Here’s the start.
This year Goneguru has formed a team and I am asking you to come ride with us, to enjoy the fellowship and camaradarie, to raise funds for the cure, and to feel better about yourself while doing something for someone you likely will never meet, or perhaps, for someone you already know. The next few paragraphs will share a little about our experiences and then I’ll give you the link to our team page so you can sign up. Everyone is welcome, even if you just want to come and camp out with us.
Our first MS 150 was held at Callaway Gardens in rural Georgia about 65 miles south of Atlanta. Callaway Gardens is a beautiful sanctuary and worth the visit in and of itself. The start and finish as well as the food pavilion, bandstand, and camping facilities are all inside the Callaway Gardens property. Additionally, there are hotels and the nearby Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park campground. The ride itself consists of two days of riding through the rolling countryside around Callaway Gardens and if you choose the longer route on the first day perhaps over into Alabama. That route would cover roughly 100 miles. You can choose shorter routes ranging from about 25 miles to about 65 miles. The second day is all shouter routes, with none greater than 65 miles. If you are already a cyclist, these distances don’t phase you. If you are not yet a cyclist, you have time to get in some “seat time” before the ride this September. This first ride for us was inspired by people we know with MS. We joined a small team formed by a person with a family member with MS and wore bandana’s signed by the person. It was great. Super weather and beautiful scenery.
Our next MS 150 was a Spring ride in Savannah, Georgia that took us from downtown Savannah, out to the islands along the coast and back to town. Unfortunately, a mile into the ride the skys opened up and a torrential downpour soaked the course and everyone on it. I had failed to clean the pads in my helmet before the ride and the rain water washed salt out of the pads into my eyes just as we were passing one of the squares in Savannah. The pavement was old and cracked and in a moment when I tried to wipe my eyes, the front wheel of my bike went into a crack running lengthwise in the road, and cause the real wheels to overtake the front wheels. This condition leads to an immediate rolling effect for the rider and the bicycle with significant impact onto the roadway. I damaged some ribs and a shoulder in the fall. As is my custom, I was riding behind the group, so no one in my party saw me go down although a number of other cyclist had to dodge me and the bike. I checked the bike, wiped my eyes and got back on. A couple of miles down the road my party was waiting for me. We soon found a drugstore where I bought the strongest over the counter pain reliever they had and a souvenier ball cap. The ball cap went under my helmet to absorb the salt and to this day I wear a cloth ball cap under my helmet every time I ride. It prevents salt blindness and on a sunny day it gives me an extra bill for the eyes.
Our last MS 150 was back at Callaway Gardens and this time we joined an organized team. We wound up wearing the sponsors jersey and cycling with a mix of the employees, their parents, and their kids.
We also cajoled one of our hiking buddies, Mark, into riding with us. He’s a great rider and hopefully will be along this time.
This year, on September 16 and 17, at Callaway Gardens we are going to do it again. In the words of the MS Society “By joining [a] team, you will be signing up not just for a great ride, but also for a celebration of the great things we can achieve when working hard for a common cause. Each mile we pedal together brings us that much closer to a world without MS. So please, register online to join me or make a donation.”
What we hope to do with MS is to see the day when the last Finish banner can come down and no one has to live with MS.
Come ride with us and pedal the future a little closer. To join the Goneguru team follow the link http://bikegaa.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?fr_id=18479&pg=teamlist to the list of teams sign up, pledge to raise $250 dollars for the MS society, ride until September, then come camp and ride with us.