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Bike MS coming to Godfrey

Image source: SADLEBRED

One of the largest fundraisers for multiple sclerosis (MS) research is coming to the Riverbend next month.

The Bike MS ride will take place Sept. 12 and 13 with its home base being the campus of Lewis and Clark Community College (LCCC). This year will be the 31st incarnation of the event, which spent the last 12 years at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Columbia, Missouri. The move to the Riverbend was partially due to the fact Boone County shut down its fairground this year.

“We were forced to look elsewhere,” National MS Society Event Experience Senior Coordinator Randy Adler said. “We’ve been talking about moving closer to St. Louis for about 10 years. That forced our hand.”

Adler is a Godfrey native. He spoke with Monica Bristow of the Riverbend Growth Association about bringing the event to Godfrey. She referred him to LCCC President Dr. Dale Chapman. Adler said Chapman was very welcoming to the idea of allowing the event to take place on campus.

“We would love to make the college our permanent home,” Adler said. “Everybody was very impressed by the facility at Lewis and Clark. It will be nice to go from a fairground to a world-class community college.”

The event itself will feature as many as 3,000 bikers followed by an army of as many as 1,000 volunteers, Adler said. Adler estimated there are 50 Bike MS events around the nation and said the Gateway Area Chapter’s is among the top 10 largest. Bikers in the event can choose to ride 25, 50, 75 or 100 miles per day.

“It’s completely up to them,” Adler said. “They can ride 100 each day, or 100 one day and 25 the next. The choice is theirs as to what they want to do.”

The laps will circumvent some of the more scenic areas of the Riverbend. The course Sept. 12 will begin north of Bethalto and continue through Holiday Shores, Worden, Hamel, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Hartford, State Street hill in Alton and finally to the LCCC campus. At the campus, participants are welcome to free entertainment and are allowed to spend the night on campus in trailers or tents. Adler said many people will be staying in local hotels.

The second day’s lap will take cyclists to Fosterburg. From there they will travel through Bunker Hill, Benld, Staunton, Gillespie and Godfrey. Adler said he spoke with emergency management services in Madison and Macoupin Counties to chart the course.

“We needed roads that were not only scenic, but paved,” he said. “We also wanted low traffic roads. I know we’re going to be an inconvenience to some drivers, but we are doing what we can to make it easier on people. People driving behind a group of bicyclists have to deal with that for one day. People with MS have to deal with that their entire lives.”

Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the sufferer’s immune system attacks the protective myelin sheath covering nerves. Damage to that sheath disrupts communication between the brain and the rest of the body, a condition which can cause nerve deterioration. Such deterioration is currently irreversible. Adler estimated 7,500 people have the disease in the 90 counties in Missouri and Illinois covered by the Gateway Area Chapter of the National MS Society.

The money raised by the event will go to fund future research into MS cures as well as programs to assist those afflicted with the disease in the St. Louis area. Adler said the event could raise as much as $2 million for the cause, adding one rider raised $48,000 alone last year. He said several St. Louis area corporations such as Express Scripts and Boeing.

With so many cyclists in town, Adler said there is a tremendous need for volunteers at the event. He said a station for cyclists will be placed every 10 miles along the routes with refreshments, bike mechanics and medical personnel.

“If you can clap, you can volunteer,” he said.

To volunteer, visit or call (800) 344-4867 and select option two.

Reporter Cory Davenport can be reached at (618) 208-6447 or on Twitter @CoryTelegraphs.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by THETELEGRAPH
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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