March is MS Awareness month — and even though it is something that is on my mind throughout the year, this is a good time to devote my social media to sharing my experiences. I’m convinced that most people I know have someone in their life that is currently living with multiple sclerosis. It’s such a common thing now and a lot of people that I’ve met are not very vocal about the disease. I’m shocked that we still do not understand very much about this disease and that the breakthroughs have been few and far between. However, thanks to the good work from the National MS Society, there are a lot of events and fundraisers taking place throughout the country to fight this disease and get us closer to a cure.
It was 2014 when my friend Christy approached me about joining her in San Francisco’s Waves to Wine Ride, a local Bike MS Ride. I answered yes before I even had a road bike to ride. I knew my hybrid wasn’t going to cut it. So… off to craigslist I went and found a great deal on my new best friend. As a new rider, I found the route to be a little frightening… 175 miles in two days with some of the steepest and longest climbs in the Bay Area.. So we started training.
After raising over $3K and riding what has become the best route I’ve ever ridden, I was hooked. After the ride, my friend Liz put me in touch with the good people from Bike the US for MS. These crazy folk ride bikes on various routes around the country every summer. I immediately signed up as a “segment rider” – someone that is unable to ride the entire route, but can join the group for any part of the entire route. In 2015, I rode for 5 days: from Carson City, NV to San Francisco, CA. In 2016, I upped my miles in two legs: Yorktown, VA to Berea, KY and Telluride, CO to San Francisco, CA.
I’m addicted. I love riding my bike and it means so much more with a purpose. That purpose is to ride for a cause – to raise money, to raise awareness and to help others.
So, I’m committing to riding my bike every day in March. No set number of miles — no crazy goals, just making the decision that no matter how busy life gets, no matter how bad the weather or how bad I feel on any given day, that somewhere, someone feels a little bit worse. And that someone might be struggling to do the tasks that used to come so easy to them. That’s why I’m riding every day in March. Because I can.