Donald Fraser, Blacksburg, Va., loves biking and his mother has multiple sclerosis.
Donald Fraser, Blacksburg, Va., loves biking and his mother has multiple sclerosis. He decided in 2007 to put the two together, and the result is Bike the US for MS.
“Crossing the U.S. is the big challenge in biking, and I thought I might combine that with something I care about a lot,” Fraser said Friday during an overnight stop in Pittsburg.
The biking tour is dedicated to funding multiple sclerosis research and supporting the MS community. Contributions benefit Partners MS Center in Boston, a world leader in clinical MS research. So far, $12,558 has been raised in 2009.
“It makes the trip so much more fulfilling to have a cause,” said Mason Cavell, who was also along on that first 2007 tour from Seattle, Wash., to Maine.
There 12 riders in the 2009 tour, many of them students.
“We have several who are between college and the next phase of their life,” Fraser said. “They’ve paid for their own trip, and they deserve a pat on the back.”
The group left June 1 from Yorktown, Va.
“This is our 26th day, and Kansas is our fifth state,” Fraser said. “We’ve scheduled a 70-day tour and will end up in Oregon.”
The heat has been a problem.
“We’ve been trying to start out around 5 a.m. and finish up at noon,” Cavell said.
“We’ve been trying to camp, but this heat has forced us to take shelter,” added Fraser. “People have been very nice to us, especially here. This has been the pinnacle of hospitality. Wheat State Pizza gave us a free pizza buffet for lunch, and a group of local people are having a dinner for us at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Frontenac.”
The bikers also coordinate service projects and volunteer as they ride.
“We’ve been in contact with the local MS group, and on Saturday we’re going to Chanute to hang out a 10-year-old boy who has MS,” Fraser said. “We’re going to play chess with him and talk about wrestling.”
After that, the group will pedal off toward Colorado, which should be cooler, but also offers a different challenge — the Rocky Mountains.
“We’re heading to Pueblo, and we’ll be in the west part of Colorado,” said Leanna Pugliese, Tucson, Ariz. “The grades in the west aren’t as steep as the grades in the east.”
Anyone wishing additional information about the bike tour and how to donate may visit the web site BiketheUSforMS.org or call 888-5MS-CURE.