700 cyclists gearing up for 25th annual MS Bike Tour from Stonewall to Gimli
MS Society of Canada
Stonewall, Man. – Approximately 700 cyclists are gearing up for a 170 km trek across Manitoba’s prairie. The 25th Anniversary Biking to the Viking MS Bike Tour is part of the MS Society of Canada’s national MS Bike program, North America’s largest and longest running cycling series.
Participants begin in Stonewall at 8 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Sports Complex on Aug. 23, cycling 85 kilometres one way taking in beautiful prairie and lake vistas as they roll through Balmoral, Teulon, Donnottar, and Sandy Hook, ending their first day at the Gimli Recreation Centre. Cyclists have 5 rest stops and a hydration station available along the route and will enjoy a special 25th Anniversary Dinner Saturday night before they head back along the same route back to StonewallSunday morning, crossing the finish line between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Bernie Lofchick is this year’s official MS Bike Ambassador, and he cycles for his daughter Myra who has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. In 2003, Bernie joined the Midland in Motion Team and has been the bike tour’s top fundraiser since 2006, raising more than $465,000. For many who embark on this two-day journey the experience is life altering and for Bernie, he says, “I ride every year in hopes that a cure is found, that my daughter can regain her health, and so that no other family has to experience the same uncertainties and challenges that we have had to face.”
Cyclists of all ages and abilities participate and raise a minimum of $300 in pledges. It is an opportunity for friends and family to come together in a recreational bike tour to challenge themselves and enjoy the gorgeous prairie and lake views. Throughout its 24-year history over 15,000 participants have cycled thousands of kilometers through wind, rain, and occasionally blistering heat, to raise more than $6.8 million.
“As it is our 25th anniversary year, it’s our greatest pleasure to highlight four riders that have participated in all 25 rides,” says Donna Boyd, president of the MS Society of Canada, Manitoba Division. “We are so proud to welcome back for the 25th Anniversary MS Bike Tour Darlene Hnatyshyn, and brothers John, Harold, and Albert Enns who have shown a remarkable commitment in not missing a single ride in 25 years!”
“In this very special year, as part of a national initiative, we invited those cyclists who live with MS, to self-identify and participate in our Inspirational Champion program, “ said chair of the MS Bike Tour, Joe Healey. “We were so touched that four riders came forward who will wear the Inspirational Champion jerseys ‘I have MS – That’s why I ride.’ For sharing their personal stories, for being so courageous, and for being our inspiration, thank you to Stephanie Rozzi, Melanie Chidick, Karen Tweed, and Marco Morelli.”
Every day in Canada, three more people are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. The money raised through MS Bike funds innovative programs and services for over 3,500 Manitobans living with MS and supports ground-breaking research dedicated to finding the cause and cure of MS.
Visit msbiketours.ca to show your support and make a donation.
The MS Bike Tour national sponsors include: Brinks, Garneau, Pedal; provincial sponsors: SodaStream Canada, Energy 106, CTV, Quarry Physiotherapy, Olympia Cycle & Ski, Woodcock Cycle Works, and Bikes & Beyond.