Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Robin and I used to be very involved with the MS Society in planning, organizing and riding the 1 and 2 day bike fundraiser events. After several years of being frustrated with the seeming lack of commitment on the part of the organization to dedicate resources and move the event forward we finally gave up and turned our efforts elsewhere. A few years ago my friend Desiree started riding the newly revamped MS Ride after a family member was diagnosed. I got the feeling from her stories that things had changed and was curious about it. Finally this year I asked to join her company's team (Point B) who were also presenters of the event. It was great to see just how much this event had turned around!
During the MS150 days we were thrilled when we got 400 riders. The MS Ride now gets 1500! I'm sure the dedication of both the MS administration and a strong and active board have been the keys to this turn around - all for the benefit of MS research and support. The format has changed drastically from a 2 day rolling event requiring riders to do a minimum of 75 miles each day to a centralized event with route choices from 20 to 100+ miles. Usually at funraiser events the riders tend to be pretty novice so this makes the event much more palatable for them. Having a central location where you return each night to familiar surroundings is another plus. They now get many more teams and corporate sponsors involved making it professional and just a little glitzy. A big rider village with team hospitality tents, information booths, and eating and entertainment venues really make it nice for the riders. Prior to the ride MS had a very user-friendly way of setting up a webpage and sending out emails to friends and family for your fundraising use. It made that part of it much easier than going around with my little sheet and envelope for money in the past.
Desiree's company put up a great beach/tiki themed tent complete with music, leis, and a frozen margarita machine. They fed us snacks and provided a fabulous catered dinner on Friday. I had 2 great days of riding in the sunny Skagit Valley with Desiree and her husband Steve. I saw a few folks I know from randonneuring and from other bike events and enjoyed riding some roads I've never been on before.
If you'd like more information about MS and/or you'd like to donate to my efforts (pledges can be paid until October 21) please visit my page at: