Thoughts on Bike MS

As a group ride, I wanted to note down some thoughts about Bike MS yesterday.

The good:

  • Charity!
  • Lots of people to ride with (this will appear in other sections); I spent some time falling in with riders of different paces and had a fun time chasing them
  • Road closures and control made the ride a breeze; rarely had to stop at intersections and very little traffic on the roads we were on
  • Rest stops were STOCKED with lots of goodies
  • Bike storage at the stops was well done – those metal bars you hang your seat across
  • Food at the end of the ride was a really nice bonus – pierogis and baked beans is an awesome combo

The bad:

  • Lots of people – a little dangerous once those 25 mile riders joined the group. Lots of families and heavy traffic on the road.
  • Dangerous start – next time I won’t start from the Woodcrest train station and those corrals. Too many riders, too close together. The 3rd guy in line on the first corral hit the curb on his way out and promptly fell to the ground. The folks who parked in nearby neighborhoods and joined the ride that way were smarter, and I met an 18-year veteran who did exactly this.

Relative Value of the Ride

If you’ve been impacted by MS, this ride is great. It raises money, it brings together a bunch of supportive people, and you can find love and support in the community. Throughout the process of preparing and riding this event, I met some interesting people who were huge supporters and loved the feelings it brought. That is excellent.

However, with a cost per rider of $25-80 (depends on how early you register) and a fundraising minimum of $300/rider…your one day supported ride puts the floor cost at $325. If you can fundraise $300+, you’re golden and this is a fully supported ride for (at best) $25 – which includes:

  • Fully-stock rest stops
  • SAG support on the road
  • A meal / party at the end
  • Bus transport for you and your bike back to the starting point

I haven’t done any other rides which are not fundraisers, but I’ve heard from friends who have done them. $65 – $200 is the cost per rider. I believe you get more support with Bike MS, at a lower cost, but only if you have a strong fundraising network. There’s that trade-off.

Would I Do It Again?

I think so. I have some people in my extended orbit who have been impacted by Multiple Sclerosis, and it feels good to promote donations into the treatment of that disease.

My goal will probably be one charity ride like Bike MS each year, even if it’s not Bike MS next year. Something to ponder while these long, cold winter months descend. (Maybe there’s a charity ride somewhere warmer in January!)

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