Bike MS Virtual Ride: Experience from Amanda Conn
This past winter, I sat down and made a list of things I wanted to try or accomplish to celebrate my 30th birthday. Number 13 on the list was to participate in a bike ride. After researching about bike rides in Michigan, I came across Bike MS. I had never heard of this ride but learned how participating in it could be even better than I had originally planned. Bike MS rides raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society which has a vision of “A World Free of MS.” The funds raised go directly to reaching this vision.
Bike MS is set up for individuals to ride, or you can ride as a team. I registered for the Great Lakes Mid-Michigan Breakaway ride and committed to two days of riding 30 miles. Fundraising is a key component of the ride with each rider needing to raise a minimum fundraising goal to participate. Bike MS makes it easy to fundraise and I was able to connect my personal fundraiser to social media. I was surprised how many of my friends and family donated when they saw my posts.
The other key component of the ride is the training. I have been riding a bike ever since I can remember and have many memories of riding with my four siblings and parents. For me, training started in the winter months with my bike on a track stand in my living room. Once the weather got warmer I began training outside. The fundraising also doubled as motivation to continue to train.
About a month before the ride was scheduled I received a call from one of the Bike MS managers. They wanted to reach out to me personally to tell me the ride had to be changed to a virtual race. This meant I could ride wherever I wanted for the two days and share my experience on social media with the other riders, friends, and family. This was not a surprise to me with so many summer events being canceled or modified. I was still just as excited to complete my ride.
July 18 and 19 were the days of my ride. My route started from my house where I biked down roads next to fields, farms and homes, and then I made my way into Holt. From there I hopped on the Ram Trail, which took me part of the way to Valhalla Park. This is where I could get the majority of my miles on trails, following them all the way to Hawk Island Park. After making a few laps around the park, stopping to stretch and hydrate, I made it to my halfway point ready to turn around and head for home. Biking for 30 miles was a great way to observe the beauty the Lansing area has to offer. Both days I enjoyed the same route and was proud to accomplish my goal!
Even only having a virtual Bike MS experience, I am hooked. I loved the training and fundraising and am already planning to participate in their newest ride, Bike MS: Inside Out. This ride will take place on September 26 and is a “build your own adventure ride.” You pick how you ride, inside or outside, and how far you want to ride. This will be their first ever nationwide event.
You can learn more on how to register for Bike MS: Inside Out or donate to a rider or team here.
To learn more about The National Multiple Sclerosis Society visit their website, nationalmssociety.org/.