Many people ask, what sparked my interest in road cycling. Truthfully, due to my work travel, eating out and staying in hotels, I needed an exercise routine in which I could enjoy. Something that would improve my health, exercise I could love and stick with. One of my work team members suggested road cycling. Of which I laughed and joked about seeing me in a cycling outfit. However, that seed he planted started weaving its way through my brain. What about road cycling? Sounded easy enough. I reflected back to childhood days of riding a bicycle and the fun, the excitement, the thrill of going fast. But those were earlier days in my life. Cycling, Sounds like fun. Open roads, fresh air, I could do that. I was now 52 years old (2012) and I didn’t have a bike. I started looking. He helped my understand the type of bike, how to get sized and first and foremost, buy high quality riding pants.
I found a bike!!! Used but good. I started riding. First ride, full of adrenaline, excitement to be on a bicycle. Shoes, helmet, gloves, kit, water bottles and off I road in our neighborhood. 3 miles later I pulled back into my house, walked in, looked a my wife and laughed as I collapsed in the floor, “Where did that kid energy go?”. I couldn’t make it 5 miles. But I had started. I felt the wind. I felt the excitement and I knew I wanted to ride more. I knew if I stuck with 5 mile goals that should work. Speed would come later.
Then it happened. My wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. We knew nothing about it. We cried, we learned, she joined an MS Support group and then we joined walks for MS. We wanted to share our story and the story of so many others that we never knew until the diagnosis. During a MS Walk in Charlotte, NC, I picked up a brochure on BikeMS. I carried it around and then jokingly showed it to Lynn. I said, we could do this. It’s at the beach. The roads are flat and we can ride for MS. And that’s when it truly became my passion. I could ride, not for myself, but for Lynn and for others with MS. This became my mission as well as my passion and in 2014 we road in our first BikeMS ride: Breakaway to the Beach. Since then, we have participated in BikeMS rides for 8 years. Breakaway to the Beach, BikeMS New Bern and Tour to Tanglewood. It means so much more to ride for others as I develop my skills.
Since that humble beginning of 3 miles and collapsing, I now average 35 miles a ride, power and speed are both above the average for my age. Yes, a 62 year old on a bike can be fast. But the most joy i receive is crossing the finish line at a BikeMS event, seeing the smiles and hearing the cowbells ring for all those I ride for. I don’t just ride, I BikeMS. Perry B.