700 cyclists to join the MS Ride the Vineyard fundraiser

The 25th annual event offers rides of 15, 30 and 60 miles.

File Photo by Susan Safford

Last May 624 bicycle riders raised $416,000 riding their bicycles around the Vineyard to help fund research into a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), and to care for people affected by the crippling disease. This year’s ride, the 25th annual Bike MS: Ride the Vineyard, is on Saturday May 3. It begins and ends at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

The ride is sponsored by the New England chapter of the National MS Society and is a rite of spring for many riders, most of whom come from off-Island for the one day ride. Riders came from 16 states last year.

Participants are encouraged to raise a minimum of $250 — $150 for youth cyclists, minimum age 14 years old — in addition to the $35 registration fee. Many riders join teams that allow riders to work together to raise the minimums.

Ride the Vineyard is split into three separate sections, allowing riders of all levels to take part. There is a 15-mile bike path route that takes the bike path south on Barnes Road, to Edgartown on the West Tisbury Road, around Katama and back to the high school on the Vineyard Haven Road. The 30-mile countryside and ocean view route adds a tour around Oak Bluffs to the 15-mile route, and a 60-mile countryside and ocean view challenge which goes to Aquinnah, then to Katama through Edgartown, and around Oak Bluffs.

It is not a race but a pleasant way to see the Island and meet other riders, according to the event manager Liz Strawn. “We are aiming for $450,000 this year with closer to 700 riders,” she said. “We are partnering again with the Boys and Girls Club of Martha’s Vineyard to support them.”

For more information, contact The Greater New England Chapter National MS Society 800-344-4867, BikeMSGNE@nmss.org, or go to their website atwww.bikemscne.org.