Biking for a Good Cause

This is the second time that I joined the photo shoot for an MS fund raise event. MS Bike is organized by the National MS Society, Oregon Chapter. The registration fee is $95 (I believe, is for a team or an individual) and the fund raise minimum is $250 per participant. It is a meaningful, fun, and enjoyable event that I have experienced.

Multiple sclerosis is considered to be an immune-mediated disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system and causes the patients to lose control of their muscles. 

From what I understand, it is a genetic disease attacking people aged 20-50, the prime period of our lifetime. Cure mostly relies on persistent physical therapy and miracles. Progress and improvement can be made, but there is no permanent solution. 

I feel blessed to be able to take a walk or ride a bike whenever I feel like it. And, I am feeling for the person who is ridden by the disease and the family who loves, tenders and is available to the needy.

Bike is one of the major export items from Taiwan since the 70s.  I however could not comprehend why Americans need so many bikes till I live here. Motor vehicles are essential transportation and yet only bikes can serve exercise needs. People’s awareness of fitness and the rapidly growing traffic have made bike popular than ever.  Easy strides and harmonious rhythm are appealing. Besides only bikes can access narrow roads and secluded areas where wonders and surprises are often hidden and waiting to be discovered.

This event is not a race. Participants can pace themselves to start at any time between 6:30am to 9:00am.  There are choices of 33 to 100-mile routes which go through scenic Willamette Valley farmland, state parks, and rivers.  We took a drive on the route hoping to catch some bikers on the road. The scenery is so beautiful that on several occasions, I could not help myself but snap a few landscape shots. 

I was told that the first group of riders can arrive at the finish line at 11’ish.  I made sure that I was at the finish line to shoot the first arrivals.  Surely enough, I took this picture at 11:03am. They are absolutely the first team who reaches the finish line! They looked excited and victorious. I felt as excited as they
were and proud of them.
This guy in the recumbent bike was also among the early arrivals.  Regular upright bikes and recumbent bikes are different in aspects of technology and performance. I have never ridden in a recumbent bike, but I think seating in a recumbent bike is more comfortable than the saddle on a regular bike. When we sit lower to the ground, the legs are a bit in the air.  I doubt that it runs as fast as a regular upright bike. However, he is among the first arrivals. I guess a bike is eventually just a tool, the difference is made by the person who controls it.

I also learned that this is the kind of bike that MS patients use since they cannot erect their back and sit in an upright position. In the past when I saw this kind of bike running on the street.

I thought it was meant to show off. I did not know that it is an alternative exercise bike for people who live with MS.

I like what I see here.  Biker is the Mom. While she was on route biking, the Dad and two preschool boys were hanging out and patiently waiting by the finish line. The moment when she passed through the finish line, Dad took over the bike and Mom grabbed the younger boy’s hand walking out of the scene. Isn’t it a beautiful picture of a supportive young family?  (Too bad that the husband was falling behind and I could not have him included in the picture.) 

Mom has a goal and she goes for it.  Dad supports. Kids learn from their parents.  A giving act.  A  supportive family.  A  nice memory for them (and an impression for me) to take away.

This is in fact a very organized event. There are rest stops with abundant water supply and the necessities.  They also provided free bottle water and beer for the event workers and photographers like me. At finish line, there was a misty blind for the riders to cool down. 
My eyes were drawn to this girl who was performing a ribbon dance in the mist. The bright colors of her dress and ribbons stand out in front of the translucent mist and under the bright sun, her cascaded hair is charming…

When the bikers launched their ride at Start Line, I saw smiles. After they paddled for several hours in the heat, the smiles remained on their faces.

The cheerleaders were stationed at Start and Finish line from early in the morning till the last biker reached the Finish line. A few school kids were waiting in the Finish line to hand out the medals to the bikers. And, many other volunteers were holding their fort to the last… 

The American spirit is again at work!!! This is when I really feel proud to be an American.

For MS bike event details, visit the following link:

A few more pictures to share below:


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