Monday, October 5, 2009

The MS 2009 City to Shore Ride

My husband and I participated in the MS150 City to Short bike tour this weekend. It’s a 150 mile bike ride from Cherry Hill, NJ to Ocean City. Generally you do 75 miles one day and then 75 miles back the next. They have many options for you to ride; 25, 50, 75, 100, or the two day 150. As this was our first experience like this, and since we had been seriously riding for less than a year, we opted for the 75 miles (which took us about 5 1/2 hours or riding time) and came back on the bus the next day. We didn’t know how we would feel and whether we could make it back on our bikes. As it turned out, we probably could have done the ride back, except it would have taken a lot of time and I had an event I had to get to on Sunday afternoon. So we took the bus back the following day.

The ride is a fully supported event with volunteers, traffic police, bicycle support (SAG), food and water, photographers, and even massage therapists. The support was amazing. I had a flat tire about 20 miles from the shore finish and within 15 minutes there was a support vehicle that just gave us a new tire and inner tube, fixed it, and sent us on our way. There had to have been about 20 SAG vehicles and the same number of fully dressed motorcycles going up and down the route helping the riders with whatever they needed. Of course there were paramedics and ambulances to help those riders who got injured, and at the end a host of massage therapists to give you a rubdown after the ride. Since my husband and I rode with the second largest team and we had our own massage therapists at the team tent otherwise a massage $15 for 15 minutes.

There were 5 rest stops and each one was organized by the area where it was held and staffed with bike personnel, medical support, DJs spinning records, people cheering you on and handing out fruit, water, Gatorade, energy bars, and of course multiple portal toilets. With that many people working I am sure something had to have gone wrong, but we never saw a thing. The following day, my husband got a flat and even though we weren’t riding back, they changed his tire for him. I was blown away with the organization, the amount of people helping the event, and how friendly everyone was.

The other thing that thoroughly impressed me was the kindness, helpfulness, respectfulness, and courteousness that everyone possessed. Here there were thousands of bikes, some of them very expensive models with computers and GPS units and everyone’s things, and we just knew that nothing would get messed with. People would just put their bikes in the racks and walk away to get their food and left all the stuff there. No one touched anything that didn’t belong to them. I guess coming from a place where you have to watch everything every second of the day, I noticed this. It was very refreshing.

All in all, it was a great experience and one we will do next year.

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