Bike MS: Historic New Bern Ride 2014
The “Selma” in “Selma Cyclepaths” is a little misleading, as few of the team members live or cycle in Selma. Selma is the home of one of the founding members who named the team in 1993. There has been little interest in changing the tradition or the alliteration of the name. While many of the Cyclepaths are from Johnston County, just as many are from Wake, Orange and Durham counties. Some Cyclepaths come from as far away as Alamance, Forsyth and Mecklenburg counties, not to mention other states, for the MS Bike: Historic New Bern.
The Cyclepaths have the twofold mission of (1) raising funds for MS research and services and (2) enjoying the sport of road cycling. Since becoming an official MS bike team, the Selma Cyclepaths have raised over $1.2M for MS research and services. Without corporate sponsorship, this “friends and family” MS team has been the top fund-raising team for New Bern's MS Bike Tour for nine consecutive years beginning in 2005.
The Cyclepaths are a diverse group of people, organized around the sport of road cycling. There is wide diversity among the Cyclepaths in age, gender, profession and cycling experience and ability. A stranger coming out for a training ride for the first time will not be a stranger for very long. The Cyclepaths share a wonderful camaraderie and concern for the safety and well-being of each rider.
Regardless of a cyclist’s riding experience or ability, there is a place in the Selma Cyclepaths for that person. While there are a handful of “hammerheads” who routinely ride off the front at remarkable speeds and distances, there are also a number of Cyclepaths who are far more interested in riding at a more leisurely pace, soaking up the sights and smells of bucolic Johnston County. Most of the Cyclepaths ride at a pace somewhere in between.
The Cyclepaths sponsor Saturday morning training rides in Clayton every week from mid-April until the MS Bike Tour in early September each year. Route sheets are e-mailed in advance each week with hard copies distributed on the morning of the ride. Distances increase over the course of the season and there are often optional routes for longer or shorter distances. There is at least one support vehicle driven by a volunteer for each training ride so that no one is left stranded or without quick roadside assistance. Routes are carefully selected and pre-ridden to minimize motor vehicle traffic. It is not at all unusual for 40 or 50 cyclists to show up for a weekly training ride. Two of the advantages of having that many riders are the increased visibility to motor vehicles and the increased chances that every cyclist will find an interesting riding companion.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling, disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Millions of people are affected by MS and the challenges of living with its unpredictable symptoms, which 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 moving us closer to a world free of MS.
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