Editor’s Note: The number of people living with multiple sclerosis in America exceeds 400,000. This astonishing rate will only continue to increase, until we’ve found a cure. Research has made some incredible advances recently, but the world can still only offer disease management drugs and therapies to the 2.5 million people, worldwide, living with MS.
Team ERT *Bike MS City to Shore Ride 2010-2011
Written by Michael Federico
In recapping my experiences of the 2010 Bike MS City to Shore Ride, I needed to keep one thing in mind, Murphy’s law.
— Like leaving your bike shoes at home.
So, we adapt, we work as a team, and we find a solution. A fellow teammate will bring a spare set of pedals and shoes. No problem, even my size. Thanks, Bill! That morning, at 6am, we swap pedals and shoes and away we go. In the back of my weary mind they don’t look quite right and sure enough, the left pedal falls off 12 miles in. Turns out, we put the pedals on the wrong sides, which stripped out the crank! So we ride with just the right leg for miles 12 through 18, hoping the rest stop was at 15…it wasn’t. This way is about the same as driving a Porsche with summer tires mounted backwards, in a snow storm – you can still go, but it takes more “skill” and a bit of lunacy. But after all, the whole ride is about dealing with disabilities, so it was worth all of the inconveniences to help this great cause.
At mile 18, two bike shop trucks stop and after appropriate frowns and consternation, we have a solution with a new left crank. I catch the team at the next rest stop. There we see the famous woman riding in her 30th MS City to Shore, in a dress and heels on a steel, one speed bike. Oh, by the way – SHE IS 85!
As we take off for the next leg, I made the mistake of standing up to hump over a hill and, GREAT, the right pedal works loose and strips out. That’s ok; my left leg is fresh from its previous rest and I motor on for about 5 miles. Another repair guy stops, more frowns and consternation, and he declares the bike dead. Bummer. As I am waiting for the bus, the inspirational 85 year old woman pulls in and I get my picture taken with her!
As I ride the bus, we stop and pick up disabled riders and bikes along the way. Nice folks, however, this cruising and stopping is slower than a one legged rider!
At the next rest stop, I jump off the bus and right to the Bustleton Bike shop (genius of a guy by the way). Again, after the appropriate frowns and consternation, Mr. Bustleton decides that the right solution is the simplest one, Achim’s Razor. We put a correct right pedal on the right side, but just a flat pedal, no binding, which is less stress on the threads. Cool, Great, I don’t care if we duct tape, spot weld, pop rivet, or bubble gum it, I am finishing this ride! Both pedals are finally solid. Sprinting to the next rest stop, I finally catch the group!
[Wait. Do you hear that? I can hear my biggest sponsor..my mom, all the way from South Carolina: “Gooo Michaaaael!”]
Guess who pulls into this rest stop as we are leaving? The 85 year old woman! This is amazing, she is pacing us, or we her!
The rest of the ride was thankfully uneventful – finally riding with the team again, and a great team it is (check out the special video we created below). Many, many thanks to all of the repair guys I now know personally, the support team for the ride and the ERT team – captained by Dan Wick. We had 14 riders and raised over $11,000! It was a great trip and I met many great people.
If you laughed, chuckled or even smiled when reading this, please help make a difference in the fight against MS and volunteer, participate, or contribute to the team’s 2011 fundraising goal. http://bit.ly/ERT-MSRIDE. We have again formed a team for Bike MS because we know that riding 150 miles is nowhere near as difficult as confronting a lifetime with multiple sclerosis. In addition to supporting novel research projects around the globe, the National MS Society also provide much needed education, programs, and services to everyone who is affected by MS – including the diagnosed, their friends and families, and the healthcare professionals who work with them.
See you in September 2011!