For hundreds of cyclists, the road to north Florida's oldest, largest and most popular charitable bicycle event -- Bike MS -- begins next month with the annual Kickoff Ride.
This year's launch of the training ride season is Saturday, June 8, starting at the PGA TOUR Headquarters in Sawgrass and for the first time winding through Nocatee. The event's honorary chairman is Chapter Board Member, Tom Wade, Global Commercial Officer for the PGA TOUR. The ride begins at 7:45 a.m. and offers participants two route options, 25 miles and 45 miles. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. and the cost is $5. Parking is free.
The event, open to anyone 12-years and older, is a prelude to the Sept. 28-29 27th annual Bike MS: PGA TOUR Cycle to the Shore, a two-day cycling fundraiser from St. Augustine to Daytona Beach and back. Proceeds from the ride, which each year attracts more than 2,000 riders, benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In 2012, Bike MS raised more than $1.3 million for the organization.
The Kickoff Ride is a fully-supported event, offering cyclists start and finish line snacks and beverages, a volunteer-staffed rest stop, bicycle shop participation, and sag wagon assistance -- safety and gear (SAG) on-route help. In addition, Tropical Smoothie Café of Ponte Vedra Beach will have $3 smoothies available, with half of the proceeds being donated to the MS Society.
"The Bike MS Kickoff Ride not only signals the start of the cycling season, it brings together many of the riders who annually participate in the 150-mile September classic," said MS chapter president Corrina Steiger. "It's an opportunity to showcase teams, begin a formal training schedule, and most importantly create MS awareness throughout the community. It's designed to be a low-key, low-pressure ride that for many novice riders is a first-time opportunity to pedal in an organized event, with hundreds of other cyclists, and that simulates our major event in the fall."
is a series of 100 rides -- at least one in every state -- every year. In 2013 alone, 1,707,400 miles have been logged by MS cyclists.
More information regarding the Kickoff Ride is available by contacting the North Florida MS Chapter at 904-332-6810.