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Bike the US for MS rolls through Pitt - KOAM TV 7

Bike the US for MS rolls through Pitt

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

Twenty cyclists from all over the U.S. departed from Yorktown, Virginia on June 1 to raise funds and awareness for multiple sclerosis. The annual trek brings them through Pittsburg where they stay, sleep and serve the community.

Bike the US for MS is a cross-country bicycle ride that exposes riders to all the elements, all in hopes of raising money for the evil disease. Bikers have a goal to raise one dollar per mile ridden per rider. To do the math, that's $3,785 per rider. The group staying in Pittsburg is currently short of their goal, but has raised $71,736 as of Sunday.

"Multiple sclerosis is part of a whole family of diseases that rob people of their ability to move. I'm a fitness instructor, I teach yoga and I love movement, it's how I express myself. The thought of being confined to a wheelchair by a disease just makes me want to do something," cyclist Adam Hunter of Portland, Oregon said.

Hunter said cyclists in the race belong to one of two clubs: they are either into cycling and choose MS as the charity they ride for, or they are passionate about MS and express that through cycling. Volunteer Gina Peak from Scammon is thankful for both kinds of riders, as she has grappled with MS for 13 years.

"We try to give back to the riders and show them how much it's appreciated. It can be very emotional meeting them all and hearing why they're doing it and about their journey across the US," Peak said.

Peak and a team of volunteers provide home-cooked food for the riders and a place to stay in Pittsburg's Memorial Auditorium. In return, the riders do a service project for someone struggling with MS.

"You know one of the first things that happens to people is they can't do the things they used to be able to do and it can be really sad for them to not be able to keep up with their house or do the things they're used to be able to doing in that area of their life. It can just be like a self-esteem kind of thing so we help them out with that," Hunter said.

The cyclists average 60 miles a day before stopping, but their longest stretch is a 104 miler from Newton, Kansas to Larned, Kansas.

"It's a total mental game of reminding yourself that you can in fact do it," cyclist Olivia Kerbs said.

Several of the cyclists agreed their favorite part of the trek is meeting people along the way and experiencing kindness. Hunter recalls a group of motorcycle riders who gave him a $20 bill upon seeing his "Bike the US for MS" jersey.

"It restores your faith in humanity, for sure," Kerbs said.

The cyclists will take off from Pittsburg on Tuesday and head to Chanute.

To read about the individual riders, check on their biographies on http://biketheusforms.org/cyclists/display.asp?y=2016&r=TRANSAM.

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