Biking is commonly done for leisure or exercise, but from Sept. 21-22 it will be done for something much bigger.
The Bike MS: Waves to Wine Ride is a charity bike ride that supports finding a cure for multiple sclerosis.
It starts at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and concludes at Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park, which is a quick six-minute drive from Sonoma State University.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system and has no cure.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2.1 million people suffer from it around the world.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has put on this weekend-long bike ride for the past 30 years, and like the bikers who participate, it shows no signs of slowing down.
The fundraising goal for this year’s ride is $2.3 million. As of Sept. 14, they had already raised $1.6 million.
Every individual or team that participates in the ride pays a registration fee, which covers the amenities provided, and they also fundraise.
The minimum amount that each team must raise is $350.
People who aren’t participating in the ride can still donate to the cause. Simply go to their website, search an individual or team, and donate any amount.
The weekend itself is full of scenic views, with bike rides of varying degrees of difficulty and Sonoma County’s best food and wine.
On day one, cyclists can choose from a 40, 75, or 100-mile route.
The 40-mile route is a loop that begins and ends at Sonoma Mountain Village, while the other two routes take off from Cow Palace and end at Sonoma Mountain Village.
The 40-mile route goes through picturesque farmland, and the longer routes allow cyclists to cross Golden Gate Bridge and take in the views on Highway 1.
Day two provides a 50-mile and a 75-mile ride through more of Sonoma County’s vineyards and orchards.
When the biking ends, the fun certainly doesn’t. There is some form of entertainment going on for most of the weekend. Food and wine are also provided.
The Waves to Wine Ride is only one of the Bike MS rides. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society also hosts over 100 other bike rides across the country throughout the year.
This year alone, the cyclists who have participated have covered over 6 million miles.
This event was incepted 30 years ago. The Executive Director of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Will Munger, and his son decided to bike over 150-miles from Duluth, Minnesota to Minneapolis.
It took the novice riders two days to make the journey. By the end of the ride, Will had decided that biking could be a new and fun way to raise money to fight MS.
In 1980, the first Bike MS occurred, and over 200 people took part. They raised $33,000. Bike MS became an official event for every chapter in 1985.
The event has grown exponentially. The funds raised each year are now closer to $100 million as opposed to $100,000. Bike MS has raised over $1 billion since 1980.
That money gets dispersed in many ways. The main goal is to fund research for finding a cure for MS, but it also goes towards research on how to better treat existing patients.
Some of the money also goes towards educating the public about this serious health issue. Helping to fund emotional support groups is also one of their top priorities.
For more information or to donate, visit the bike ride’s official website www.wavestowine.org.