What is MS?
Having multiple sclerosis means that you may suddenly have blurry vision. Or that your memory will fail you for no apparent reason. Or that you may not always be able to walk, let alone ride a bike. The symptoms of MS are different for everyone – the only certainty is that it will affect yet another person every hour of every day.
Why I Ride
When I first became interested in law enforcement one of the things that drew me to urban police work was the desire to join a bike patrol squad. I had only attempted to ride a bicycle a few times as an adult. Growing up on the flat terrain of south east Michigan, the concept of shifting gears on hills did not come naturally to me. It wasn?t until I was eligible to attend our department?s bike training that I seriously got into cycling. My Field Training Officer told me if I was ever at all interested in riding, I should take the training if it were available. ?I thought I knew how to ride a bicycle? he told me, ?but they teach you to do things I?ve never done before and it will make you a more confident rider.?
The class follows the International Police Mountain Bike Association standards. It is a weeklong; includes class room lessons, skill course riding, tactics, and long training rides. During the course of the week we had spent 20-30 hours on a bike and had ridden roughly 60 miles. My longest ride until then was a 5 mile round trip to Dairy Queen on a three speed Schwinn. The class was intended to make us competent patrol riders in an urban environment, not teach us how to ride. We were asked to be strong proficient riders before starting the course. A few months before the class I bought what I thought was a decent bike, despite being told by the guys at the bike shop I would quickly outgrow it. I learned to ride on a hybrid bicycle, commuting to work and mastered shifting on the east/west glacier carved hills of Bainbridge Island. Eventually I passed the class and took to riding in a way that I did not expect. I split my commute time between my motorcycle and bicycle. When my rear motorcycle tire got a punctured flat I put off fixing it because it forced me to get out and cycle, even when the weather was less than desirable. I eventually upgraded to a road bike and began riding harder, faster and farther. My longest ride to date is 35 miles. This past February I rode through rain and snow during the annual Chilly Hilly. I had a blast.
I have spent the past two years as a den leader for my son?s Cub Scout Pack. Recently the mother of one scout?s in our group was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. My only knowledge of MS was from an elementary school assembly I attended decades earlier and the ?Is it the soil?? billboard campaign throughout the region. Her husband and I had talked off and on about riding. He impressed me by participating in the MS ride last year. It sounded challenging and fun. As our conversations continued and my skills and passion for riding increased, I was asked to join their team during the 2011 MS Ride. I am honored to be a part of their team and look forward to the many miles we?ll cover in preparation for September. Please join me in supporting the fight against Multiple Sclerosis by sponsoring me in this ride.
Why You Should Sponsor Me
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society will use funds collected from the Bike MS Ride to not only support research for a cure tomorrow, but also to provide programs which address the needs of people living with MS today. Because we can fight this disease by simply riding a bike, because we have chosen to help thousands of people through a contribution to the Bike MS Ride, we are now getting closer to the hour when no one will have to hear the words, “You have MS.”
I am trying to raise $500 by the end of summer. Please consider sponsoring me: here