Bicyclists ride the Vineyard to beat MS

Bicyclists depart Martha's Vineyard Regional High School in the 2011 MS Bike Ride. — File photo by Susan Safford

Saturday, May 5, there will be an unusual number of bicycles on Vineyard roads. If this year is anything like last there will be close to 700 people from at least 16 states riding their bicycles in the 2012 MS Ride the Vineyard fundraiser, according to Liz Strawn, ride manager from the National MS Society. “Many of the riders come from the Boston area,” she said, “but the Island is such a great destination that it really attracts people from all over the country.

This will be the 23rd year for the Vineyard ride, which raises money for the Greater New England Chapter of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s fight against MS. Ride the Vineyard is presented in collaboration with the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, which also benefits from the event. Last year, close to $450,000 was raised.

Cyclists can participate either individually or as part of a team. All rides begin and end at the regional high school, where participants are treated to a cookout following the ride. Registration is open to anyone with a bike and will remain open until the day of the ride. There is an entry fee of $35 and a minimum fundraising goal of $250. The ride is one of more than 100 Bike MS events across the country this year and the first of the year in New England.

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.

All participants must be 14 years or older on the day of the event. Cyclists under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The National MS Society will host the annual “Kick-Off” for Ride the Vineyard 2012 on Friday, May 4, 2012 at Sharky’s, Edgartown, from 6 to 9 pm.

For more information, contact The Greater New England Chapter National MS Society 781-890-4990,, or go to their website at

For video of the event, see-