A team of 20 riders with Bike the US for MS spent Sunday in Pittsburg. Among the riders was Frank Briscoe, Nevada, Mo., who decided he wanted to make the 3,785-mile trip to celebrate his 65th birthday.



“I’m surviving,” he said, but admitted that he cheated a bit Saturday night.

A team of 20 riders with Bike the US for MS spent Sunday in Pittsburg. Among the riders was Frank Briscoe, Nevada, Mo., who decided he wanted to make the 3,785-mile trip to celebrate his 65th birthday.

“I’m surviving,” he said, but admitted that he cheated a bit Saturday night.

“I snuck home last night, did my laundry and slept in my own bed,” Briscoe said.

His wife, Vickie, told a slightly different story.

“I did the laundry, and he helped by folding a few items,” she said Sunday night as she, the riders and support staff had a rigatoni dinner  served by volunteers under the direction of Gina Peak, Scammon.

This team is following the Transam route, starting June 1 from Yorktown, Va., and concluding Aug. 1 in San Francisco. Other teams are following the Northern Tier or Southern Tier routes.

“I’ve talked with people who have done the Northern Tier and the Southern Tier, and they’ve told me the Transam is really the hardest,” Briscoe said.

He has dreamed of biking across the country since he was a Boy Scout and read a series of articles in “Boys Life Magazine” about a scout who rode his bike across America.

He first found the MS 150 Ride, which is 150 miles long, and decided to go on that. On the first night of that trip, he was inspired by a speaker, Robin Creemer, Joplin, Mo., who told of her struggle with the neurological disease. He became even more determined to raise funds to battle MS after a Nevada woman named Linda Harms died from it.

Briscoe’s personal fundraising goal was to raise $10,000 and he has done that.

He has also been meeting wonderful people on the ride, including his fellow riders and the people in all the towns they pass through.

“I talked with a great gentleman, 95 years old, in Marshalltown, Mo., who had  been part of Gen. Patton’s Cavalry and rode more than 5,000 miles on a motorcycle as a courier,” Briscoe said. “Sebree, Ky., was very exciting. A Baptist minister, Pastor Bob Harrison and his wife, Violet, started a ministry in 1976 for bikers crossing the United States. They now have a 40 by 80-foot building for the cyclists with very comfortable recliner chairs and a large-screen TV, and Violet insists on making meals.”

This is a dream come true for him.

“That’s what I was looking forward to, meeting people.” Briscoe said. “My idea is the journey, not the destination. The America I want to see is the people.”

He’s also enjoying the food, including the rigatoni, potatoes, salad, ice cream and cookies served for Sunday supper.

“I figure that every hour I’m on the bike, I’m burning 1,000 more calories than my body needs to survive,” Briscoe said. “I’ve already lost 10 pounds.”

“The problem you have when  you go home is, you can’t continue eating like you did on the ride,” said Michael “Pepper” Schuette, Damascus, Va., the route leader.

He said that his job includes organizing the trip, determining the destination each day and serving as the bike mechanic.

“And I try to get 20 very individual people on the same schedule,” Schuette said.

He said that he has no personal connection with multiple sclerosis.

“Until last year, I was just a dude riding his bicycle,” Schuette said.

He manages a backpack and bicycle shop in Damascus and the shop became a sponsor of Bike the US for MS. Now Schuette is enjoying being with the group.

“These guys are awesome,” Schuette said. “They’re living cool vibes across the country as they ride along.”

Briscoe said that this is the first year anybody over 40 has been on the ride.

“Now they have five guys who are 57-plus,” he said. “They’ve also got their first rider with MS this year, and he’s keeping up very well.”

David Bauser, 25, Birmingham, Ala., a ballet dancer, has relapsing-remitting MS, but so far the disease is well controlled by the medication copaxone.

After the meal Sunday, the group presented the first Peak Service Award to Gina Peak, who has been feeding the bike teams during their Pittsburg stops for three years.
Pittsburg Mayor Marty Beezley welcomed the group.

“I got a bike just last week and I’m looking forward to getting out, but not to the extent that you are,” she said. “I hope you enjoy every bit of your ride and be safe. I pray God goes with you.”

The group was scheduled to head out again Monday.

“We’ve been averaging about 65 miles a day, but we’re heading into some days when we’ll be doing 90 miles,” Briscoe said.

He plans to make a more extended trip from the Anacortes in Washington State and ending up in Key West, Fla. Interested people can follow his adventures on www.oldguyonabicycle.com.