There are very few people willing to go as far for community service as those who participate in the MS150. And they go far – 180 miles, or approximately 290 kilometers, to be exact.
The BP MS 150, organized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, began in Minnesota in 1980 and has grown into the largest organized charity cycling event in the nation. Participants must agree to meet a minimum fund-raising goal in order to ride, but most exceed this quota.
This year, four students participated in the ride: freshmen Sophie Lanier and Jacob Pesikoff, and sophomores Alex Cherches and Charles Rogers.
“It was my first year riding, and I was kind of nervous at first because I didn’t have time to train very much,” Lanier said.
“As far as training goes, participants usually ride as much as possible for a few months leading up to the race,” Head of Community Service Marci Bahr said. “When I did it, I rode about 45 miles a day for the two months leading up to it, and farther if I had time. Participants get hours for the time they spend fund-raising, riding and writing thank you notes; generally they earn about 20 to 25 hours. They don’t get hours for training rides, unless it’s an official ride that supports another nonprofit.”
“The number of people who came to the finish line, even just the random people cheering on the side of country roads, was really amazing,” Lanier said. “The experience was so rewarding.”