Biking for bucks: Bike to the Bay raises funds for MS in Port Clinton

Jun 11, 2024 | Featured, Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Aaron Weber of Toledo, left, and Jillian Perlaky of Oregon pose at Bike to the Bay’s finish line at Port Clinton High School on June 8. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

The over 250 bicyclists who rode through Port Clinton on June 8 and 9 weren’t just having fun. They were making a difference in the world of multiple sclerosis as they participated in Bike MS: Bike to the Bay.

Bike to the Bay is an annual fundraiser with a visionary goal: a world free of MS. Austin Fleischer, Development Manager of Bike MS, expected the event to raise about $200,000. Combined with Ohio’s two other Bike MS events and various Walk MS events, that number jumps to an anticipated $1 million in donations.

The money will be used for MS research and support of people diagnosed with MS.

“There have been a lot of advancements since we started,” Fleischer said. “Some of the money is used to pay for navigators, which are people who help people who just got diagnosed with MS. They have a lot of questions.”

Eric Duling has been participating in Bike to the Bay for 35 years. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Eric Duling has been participating in Bike to the Bay for 35 years.

“I’ve been doing this since it started. I had some friends ask if I felt like joining them. It was a fun challenge and a good cause, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” Duling said. “The volunteers have been so great. We’ve had wonderful support.”

Bike to the Bay riders started at Owens Community College and could choose from 100, 75 or 50-mile routes, all of which ended at Port Clinton High School, where they were greeted by cheers, music, activities and food trucks.

“They could also choose a 35-mile route that started and ended at the high school,” Fleischer said.

Tim Gannon, who was diagnosed with MS in 2008, has been riding with Bike to the Bay for 14 years. For him, the event is as much about people as it is about raising money.

Tim Gannon says Bike to the Bay is all about the people you meet on the ride. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“You’re out here for the moral support. It’s uplifting. I meet new people every year,” he said. “I’m raising awareness and having fun.”

But Gannon understands well the importance of raising funds for research.

“When I was diagnosed, there were five treatments. Not there are over 25 different types of treatments,” he said. “Research is coming along in a big way.”

Ohio has two upcoming bicycle fundraising events. Bike MS: Oxford will be held on July 20-21, and Bike MS: Pedal to the Point will be hosted in Berea on Aug. 10-11. For more information, visit www.nationalmssociety.org.

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