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The Greater Illinois Chapter works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS in Illinois and to raise funds for critical MS research. Join the movement toward a world free of MS.


Thousands Prepare for Bike MS: Tour de Farms, June 25 and 26 in DeKalb

May 5, 2016

Ride Celebrates 35th Anniversary in 2016 and Raises Funds for Research
and Services for People Affected by Multiple Sclerosis      
Thousands of cyclists will gather for Bike MS: Tour de Farms on Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26, at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb, Ill. Bike MS is the largest charity bike ride in Illinois and brings together cyclists of all skill levels for an unforgettable weekend of achievement, fellowship and fun. This year, the event will celebrate its 35th anniversary and will feature new and enhanced event experiences. All funds raised go towards a world free of multiple sclerosis.
“I would say the best part of Bike MS is the community and camaraderie that I share with my teammates and also with basically everyone involved with Bike MS,” said Victor Pirsoul, who lives with MS and has been involved with the ride as a volunteer and rider since 1998. “Everybody’s pulling together for a common cause, and everybody’s having fun with it. It’s like a party the entire time.”
Bike MS is a stand out weekend for those looking to elevate their cycling while enjoying friendships old and new, while also giving back. Cyclists will ride along the scenic farmlands of Northern Illinois as they bike anywhere from 15 to 200 miles through the two-day event on 10 fully supported routes. Twenty support-and-gear vehicles stocked with first aid and repair supplies will continuously patrol the route.
The ride will have rest stops every 10 to 15 miles, with some of them offering unique experiences, such as a family farm to meet and pet animals, and eating a famous Tour de Farms fried egg burger. As a fundraising event, riders are required to raise a minimum of $300 to participate, with proceeds going to support critical research and services for those living with MS. Children 11 years and younger also can participate in a special course exclusively for junior riders at NIU on Saturday, June 25.
In addition to the actual ride, the weekend will feature live music and a beer garden outside the Convocation Center. Saturday’s festivities include musical entertainment from local bands playing throughout the day and evening, and an awards ceremony at 5 p.m.
“Bike MS gives a special opportunity for cyclists to participate in one of our biggest fundraisers by going on a great ride while raising crucial funds for people living with MS,” said Greater Illinois Chapter President Holly Messick. “We have thousands of volunteers and participants who come out to join the movement to end MS. The solidarity between the teams and the encouraging atmosphere makes it a ride unlike any other.”
Once again this year, Genzyme, a Sanofi Company, is sponsoring I Ride with MS, a mission-based program that celebrates participating cyclists who are living with MS through MS One to One. Through the program, cyclists who are living with MS are provided a special “I Ride with MS” jersey. By providing visibility to riders living with MS, the program personalizes the disease and more strongly connects all cyclists, serving as a reminder of why they participate in Bike MS.
Participants can pick up their rider packets and set up for the event during the Bike MS kickoff from 6–8 p.m. on Friday, June 24. Rider registration opens at 5 a.m. each day of the actual event, and the mass start takes place at 7 a.m. The registration fee is $60 through May 31 and will increase to $80 on June 1.
Last year, more than 1,800 riders participated in Bike MS: Tour de Farms, raising over $1.5 million. The Illinois Bike MS event is one of over 80 rides that happen across the U.S. to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Collectively, the rides raise close to $90 million annually with over 100,000 cyclists.
To find out more or to register or make a donation, contact Melissa Foley at 312-423-1140 or at, or visit


About the Greater Illinois Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society

The Greater Illinois Chapter works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS across a 73-county territory, starting at the Wisconsin-Illinois border and extending south through the northern and central areas of Illinois, and to raise funds for critical MS research. Join the movement toward a world free of MS.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.


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