Pedaling for a good cause
For the 20th year, The Central New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society sponsored a fundraising bike ride on the Vineyard on Saturday. The chapter serves over 14,000 clients in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This year, there were close to 700 cyclists riding one of the three options - the 100-kilometer ride, which included Aquinnah, Katama, and East Chop, a 50K countryside ride, or a 25K family ride. All routes began and ended at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
Riders of all ages came from as far away as California to participate. Some rode for the challenge, others to try to better their last year's time, but all were acutely aware of the Multiple Sclerosis Society's goal. With donations still coming in, this year they raised somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000 from donations solicited by the riders. Many of the cyclists know someone who has the debilitating disease, and some riders themselves have the disease.
The Boys and Girls Club of the Vineyard, which helped organize the event, shared in the proceeds. Volunteers cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for the riders at the finish, and volunteer student masseuses from The Salter School in Fall River set up massage tables in the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School dining room to ease aches and strains. There was a festive air throughout the long morning and the day's rain, as if on schedule, ceased for the duration of the ride.