On Saturday, August 25th, 63 teams made up of 384 cyclists and many generous volunteers met at the Gimli Recreation Centre for the 29th annual MS Bike Event. This MS Biking to the Viking event was started in 1989, and is the largest cycling series in North America.
The event began on Saturday where participants were treated to a healthy breakfast in the morning, and then the ride was kicked off. Participants then cycled for 68 kilometers along the highway and were facilitated by various rest stops and lunch throughout the ride. Once returned and cheered back to the recreation center, they were treated to free massages, an evening dinner, or a chance to relax with a drink in the beer gardens. After the events of the day were concluded, the cyclists camp in tents, either outside or inside and the same process happens again on the Sunday.
Even though partipants enjoy this event, it is not easy. Each participant must raise a minimum of $300 prior to event starting. Then there is a 135-kilometre bike ride through the Interlake in Manitoba, regardless of weather conditions. This year’s online fundraising target was set at $378,000, and as of August 27th, the participants had raised nearly $269,000.
The Manitoba community members are particularly passionate about fundraising for MS as Canada has the highest rate of MS cases in the world. Approximately 100,000 Canadians live with the disease according to the MS Society’s website. This is a high rate for one country to have, so ‘gearing up to end MS’ is well received in Manitoba. The MS society holds a number of other fund-raisers throughout the year to raise further funds in the research for a cure of the disease.
RRT was pleased to assist at the event again this year for the fourth time. The team assisted with a large variety of tasks, including setup, serving meals, running rest stops and more! It was another great year for the MS Society with the fundraising efforts for 2019.