Saturday Valley City residents are encouraged to cheer on bicyclists riding to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society hosts a bike ride every year in the Fargo area. This year’s ride called “Bike MS: Sanford Health Ride the Wind,” participating cyclists will start their route in Casselton, loop north through several small towns and Lake Ashtabula, and then turn south to head to Valley City, covering up to 140 miles.
Kelly Ask, development manager for the upper midwest chapter of the society, said she encourages locals to meet at City Park between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to cheer for bikers as they cross the first day’s finish line after the walking bridge.
The ride will begin at 7 a.m. in Cassleton at Central Cass Public School and will loop north through the small towns of Erie and Page, through Lake Ashtabula and resort town Sibley and then south to Valley City.
Riders will have five rest stops along the way, one about every 12 miles. They will be provided with snacks and refreshments at those stops, and they will make a longer lunch stop in Page where riders can sit down and get out of the sun.
The finish line will have a variety of activities for the riders including music from a DJ, yard games, a keg provided by the Eagle’s Club and massage therapy services provided by a couple places in Fargo that will travel to Valley City.
A banquet to finish off day one’s ride will be held at Epworth United Methodist Church at 6 p.m.
Most riders will stay at Valley City State University’s dorm rooms and some will stay at the local hotels.
The second day’s ride will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday and riders will bike to the finish line in Casselton at Tinta Tawa Park in the afternoon.
Some riders will opt to complete the century loop on Saturday. The century loop is a 100-mile ride, bringing these riders to a total of 175 miles over 2 days.
Riders can participate as a member of a team or as individuals. Participants include those living with MS as well as fathers, sons, husbands, sisters, daughters and grandchildren.
“We have a number of riders that have been riding for 15 to 20 years, “Ask said. “We have hardcore cyclist and families. We even have one rider that completes the trek in jeans and cowboy boots no matter the temperature.”
The ride is held annually, but the route varies each year. Since most riders are from the Fargo area, the route has repeatedly been around Fargo so that riders can go home afterwards. A route similar to this year’s was done seven years ago, and bikers have also ridden south to Wahpeton, Ask said.
Ask explained that everyone raises a minimum of $200 in order to participate, and they all bike for that same cause.
Money raised from the event will go to programs and services that the society offers. Last year, the ride raised more than $100,000.
“We appreciate all our riders and volunteers as do those who benefit from the programs and services that are supported by money raised through these events,” said Ask.
People can sign up for the ride up until it starts Saturday. For more information, visit www.mymsbike.org  or call Ask at (701) 235-6473.
“We are grateful to the local community for their support, especially the people at VCSU, they have been key in helping us plan a successful event,” Ask said.