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Just over thirty years ago, Will Munger, then the Executive Director of the Minnesota Chapter, and his 10-year-old son decided to ride their bikes home to Minneapolis from Will’s father’s house in Duluth, Minnesota. The two novice riders did not make the ride in one day and woefully had to spend the night in Hinckley. But when they arrived in Minneapolis the next day, Will decided that if the two of them could ride 150 miles in two days, it might be a good challenge for others and a unique way to raise funds for the National MS Society. In 1980, 200 cyclists rode the first Bike MS (formerly known as the MS Bike Tour or MS 150) ride from Minneapolis to Duluth with an overnight stop in Hinckley and raised $33,000 for the Minnesota Chapter.
In 1981, other National MS Society chapters around the country began holding their own Bike MS rides when they heard of the success in Minnesota. And in 1985, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society adopted the ride as an “official” event to be held in every chapter.
Today, there is at least one ride offered in every state. In 2012, over 100,000 participated in a Bike MS event, and these dedicated individuals will raise more than $85 million to help create a world free on MS! There are approximately 100 Bike MS rides around the country each year. Since its inception in 1980, Bike MS cyclists have raised more than $1 billion.
The purpose of the rides is to raise money for multiple sclerosis research and other services supported by the National MS Society. The rides typically take place over the course of two days and are generally around 150 miles long, though they can be as short as 3 miles (for a family fun ride) or as long as 250 over five days. Bike MS events aim to pull the whole community together by gathering support from local businesses, elected officials, residents and people living with MS. The events are all organized by individual Society chapters and thus each has a distinct local flavor.
The South Florida Chapter launched its cycling event in 1987. There was even a boat involved!
The event venue has been a shopping mall, a middle school, a zoo, a racetrack, and three institutions of higher learning. We're now in our second year at Florida International University. We’ve overnighted at a campground, a state park, and now a resort.
In 2014, we’ll take our 28th spin to Key Largo. We hope you’ll join us.