To fight MS, 615 cyclists take to Martha’s Vineyard roads

On Saturday, 615 folks of various ages and sizes and in various states of dress, although mostly in brightly colored tight-fitting riding attire, took off on their bicycles from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School parking lot to ride around the Vineyard in support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Accept the Challenge. A 62-mile course was tackled by 318 of the cyclists, 237 rode a 30-mile course, and 60 rode the 15-miler.

Ride organizer Liz Shrawn, who works out of the NMSS Cape office, said the numbers have been consistent for the last few years. “We are on track to reach our goal of $450,000 for 2011, which we exceeded last year.”

Riders pay an entry fee of $35 dollars and commit to raising a minimum of $250. The top fundraiser contributed $25,850 to the total. There were cyclists from 14 years of age to 77. Riders came from as far as California and Miami, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. Many stayed on the Island Friday night and some made a weekend of it. There were 15 cyclists from the Vineyard.

“The Island Boys and Girls Club helped out with logistics on the Island as well as on Island recruitment and awareness,” Ms. Shrawn said. “There were over 50 Islander volunteers.” The Boys and Girls Club receives some of the proceeds.