Driving past cyclists

A life-saving bike ride through the Texas landscape

For some, a vision of retirement includes a front porch and a rocking chair, but not for members of the Sun City Cycling Club. Their vision includes a lifestyle that promotes health. Though members are in their “golden” years, they train hard, cycling as much as a hundred miles a week.

Several Sun City couples train not just for personal health but also to support a good cause. They represented Sun City in the BP MS 150 bike ride last year. The team, which raised more than $2,400, included Sally and Alan Graham, Kathy and Larry Lorimor, and Bonnie and Rolf Trautmann.

Sally explains that the event is a stellar fundraiser. “Every rider is responsible for raising about $400,” she says. “So the event raises millions. It is phenomenal, and we raised about $800 a couple.”

Sun City riders holding bikes

The event is the third major cycling event for Sally and Alan, who just celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary. The race, says Sally, “offers great camaraderie between couples” and allows them to “do something more than you ever thought possible.”

Visitors from around the world attend the two-day BP MS 150 bike ride to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stretching from Houston to Austin, the route spans the ruggedly diverse hills and plains of the Texas countryside. Breakpoints for riders are stationed at eight- to ten-mile intervals, and a supply and gear (SAG) wagon, staffed by volunteers, sticks close to riders for extra support, from water to the tools needed to fix a broken bike.

Sun City residents Mary Jane and Dave Berry traveled with the Sun City riders, giving them additional SAG support, including transporting bikes to a bed and breakfast at the halfway point. They were a huge help for the team. Sally comments, “Though there were accommodations for all 16,000 riders at the fairgrounds in La Grange, I don’t camp! But I do love bike riding!”

Sun City cyclists

Sally offers good advice for future riders. “Just bite the bullet and train hard,” she encourages. “The finish line is amazing. You come into the [state] capital, and people who have multiple sclerosis are along the way, blowing bubbles and saying ‘Thank you.’”

For Kathy, the ride is a personal challenge that lends itself to helping others fight for life. “You really get motivated by the cause,” she explains. “You feel like you are part of a bigger organization. It just grabs you.”

The next BP MS 150 takes place April 12th–13th, 2014. For more information, visit www.nationalmssociety.org.

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