PITTSBURG — With a ton of sunscreen in tow, the Bike across the US for MS bicyclists made their way to Pittsburg on Tuesday.
On Wednesday — on their rest day — they helped clean up Katherine’s Playground at Schlanger Park, an all inclusive playground for all ages and abilities.
“On behalf of Everybody Plays, we would like to thank the Bike for US for MS for taking this project on today to give Katherine’s Playground a nice shine,” Everybody Plays member Lou Ann Colyer said.
She said with as much use the park receives the “children will enjoy it even more,” now that it is cleansed and sanitized.
Colyer praised them for going across the country and providing services for people with MS.
The bicyclists are traveling from Yorktown, Virginia, on a route they call the 2018 TransAm route, which takes them from Virginia to San Francisco.
The route is 3,785 miles long and should take 62 days to complete. As of Wednesday, they were on day 27 and are just about at the halfway point. July second will be their official “halfway point.”
However, this isn’t just a leisurely ride across the states.
The group is doing all of this to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic disease which attacks the central nervous system, which includes numbness of the limbs to paralysis.
They also raise money for research and treatment for people with MS. During their rest days, the group also provides free services for people battling with MS.
To raise money each member pays $1 per mile, they ride around 60 miles per day. There are
17 cyclists and four route leaders traveled through Pittsburg, aged 18 to 71.
Most — if not all — of the riders have at least one person in their lives which are affected by MS.
One of the route leaders, Kelly Wolf of Appleton, Wisconsin, has an aunt with MS and has been in Bike MS National for 15 years, and recently joined Bike the US for MS last year to continue to raise awareness.
During her travels, she said the stories of people with MS that she meets have been inspiring.
Just as inspiring, she said is one of their team members from the Netherlands is affected by MS and rides a bike in tandem with her husband.
“Its eye awakening to see her ride every day … it’s quite inspiring to have her with us,” Wolf said.
Everyday activities — including the summer heat — can be taxing on people with MS, to watch one of the group members travel this far is inspiring, she said. This is why Wolf said she’s glad to help people with MS on her rest days.
Prescott, Arizona resident Greenbriar Bragg also has someone in his life with MS.
He met his aunt’s sister and was astounded by her positivity despite her limbs being mostly paralyzed, he said.
“When I met her she was smiling and happy, even though she could only use her right hand on good days,” Bragg said.
Bragg said he is happy to do the job of cleaning up the playground which allows a whole family can take part of a day at the park regardless of their ability.
For 10 years, the group has traveled through Pittsburg, which Wolf thanked Volunteer Coordinator Gina Peak and other volunteers for accommodating the group year after year.
On Tuesday night, the group stayed at Memorial Auditorium, where they rested and were served food by the volunteers.
“It’s amazing for us to see how generous people are,” Wolf said.
People who would like to learn more about MS or dotate for their cause can visit http://biketheusforms.org/ and to keep up with the group’s journey across the states people can visit the Bike the US for MS Facebook page TransAm 2018- Bike the US for MS.
People can call the MS Navigator at 1-800-344-4867 which provides professional support and can learn about clinics, aid and charities.
Next stop, Chanute.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.