Blog by: Tricia Chandler
I’m going on a little bike ride in a couple weeks.
OK, it’s not a “little” bike ride — it’s a very, very long bike ride. In fact, the longest bike ride of my entire life!
I’m talking about a 100-mile ride along the Southern California Coast, from Orange County to my hometown of San Diego.
It’s the National MS Society’s Bike MS Bay to Bay Tour 2012, Oct. 20-21, and it’s one of the society’s biggest fundraisers of the year. More than just collect cash for the cause, the event also raises public awareness, which is so important to me.
Usually I participate in the event simply by being an “inspiration” for my longtime friend Matt’s team, Land Rover San Diego. Of course, I’m flattered by this year after year and I’m so proud of what the team accomplishes — Matt puts in so much work as team captain! I also serve as one of the MS Champions for the event, sharing my MS story and providing a face to the cause for riders who don’t personally know someone with MS.
But this year is not like the rest. I am actually going to ride.
You may be wondering why — and more importantly, how — I’m going to accomplish this major physical feat. One word: Optibike.
If you’re not familiar with Optibike, it’s been referred to as ”the Ferrari of electric bikes.” I can attest that it’s pretty fun to ride! Built and distributed out of Boulder, Colorado, this high-end bike uses a lithium battery as a backup to pedaling, making it possible for someone like me who has MS to ride 100 miles over the course of two days. Special thanks to Jim Turner, president and founder of Optibike, for lending me one of his company’s amazing machines to use for the event and the extensive training that leads up to it (which is currently in full force).
Without this specialized bike, I obviously couldn’t even attempt a ride of this magnitude. Because I have MS, normal activities that people take for granted, like riding a bike or simply walking through the mall, prove difficult as my legs and feet experience pain and numbness after a short time.
Even with the Optibike, this ride isn’t going to be easy. Ahem, it’s 100 miles! For me, that’s a huge deal — like scary huge!
My hands, which suffer from spasticity, will be using a half twist throttle to make sure my bike keeps up with the team. My left knee and right shoulder will also be an issue for sure. I’ve had numerous cortisone injections over the course of the past year to try to relieve some of the discomfort I’ve been experiencing in those areas, and I’m not overly optimistic that they won’t act up during the ride. In fact, I fully expect it.
Still, I am determined to pedal through the pain and to ride for those who can’t. As I always say: “I want to do as much as I can, as long as I can, as best as I can.” That is certainly my goal with this bike ride.
As a rider, I am responsible for raising a portion of the funds needed to cover the costs associated with this premiere Southern California cycling event. Please consider helping to fund my participation and support research that will benefit other people living with MS. Please visit my 100 Miles for Hope fundraising page and click the “Donate to Tricia” tab to give your tax-deductible gift.
Thank you in advance for your support, financial or otherwise. It means more to me than you’ll ever know.
Stay tuned for a post detailing my experience participating in Bike MS! I’ll be doing my best to update my blog and I may even share a video so you can see the awesome Optbike in action! Wish me luck!