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Cycling for MS

By Colleen Chandler
October 2005

Jerry Phelps, annual fund-raising bikeathon
Who, do you suppose, Jerry Phelps might root for at local college athletic events? Phelps displays the answer as part of his gear while participating in the Great Mississippi River Ride Aug. 14-31. (Photo by Colleen Chandler)

In what has become an annual event for him, Jerry Phelps has logged another 175 miles for multiple sclerosis as part of an annual fund-raising bikeathon. That brings the total to about $3,000 that Phelps raised in the last three years for the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The 2005 MS 150 Magical Mystery Bike Tour was Sept. 10-11 in New Bern. The tour consisted of 75-mile loops on each day, with an additional 25 miles for the heartiest riders. The final day, however, was affected by hurricane remnants, and was limited to 75 miles, for a total maximum mileage of 175.

Phelps became a regular participant in the annual fund-raiser because of his strong personal convictions about helping people afflicted with MS. He was one of more than 1,400 people who participated in the ride this year. That's 500 more people than last year.

Not all the funds are in yet, but already the group has collected $818,000 of the $1 million goal, according to the organization's web site.

Many of the riders either suffer from MS or know someone affected by it. While it is difficult to watch MS patients' health deteriorate over time, the people afflicted with MS who participate in the ride serve as a source of inspiration, Phelps said. He said there are about 3,800 people in eastern North Carolina who suffer from MS. The money raised goes to provide services as well as fund research, he said.

Phelps is one of 35 people on the team known as the MStery Riders. There are about 20 teams that participate in the ride, and there are three such rides - one for each of the three divisions - in North Caroline each year. Phelps first started riding a bike seriously in about 1985, but again became serious about it four years ago when back problems forced him to quit running.

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