Cycling to conquer Multiple Sclerosis

Okanagan cyclists can take advantage of free and fun training rides to gear up for MS research fundraiser

  • Jul. 15, 2016 8:00 a.m.

Okanagan cyclists can take advantage of free and fun training rides before they gear up to end MS.

To the average person, a 100+ kilometer bike trip may sound impossible.

But for volunteer route coordinator Lyle Nicholson and his team, Gallaghers Grape Expectations, along with the bike shop Fresh Air, the challenge of preparing rookie riders for the annual Scotiabank MS Bike Okanagan Grape Escape bike tour on Sept. 17  is one they could not pass up.

“The hills around Kelowna may seem daunting at first, but it’s really a matter of practice,” said Nicholson. “We have trained numerous people who thought the hills would be too much. But here it is…you pick a speed, you drop into your lowest gear and before you know it you’ve crested the hill. It’s just a matter of practice.”

One of Nicholson’s team members is a young mother of two who was so nervous about the hills she believed the two-day MS Bike tour seemed impossible. This was until she actually attempted these hills; now she loves riding, bought a new road bike and shows others how to do it.

Gallaghers Grape Expectations started six years ago when someone who lives with MS in Gallagher came to them and told her story. She was a triathlete in amazing condition until the disease appeared one day.

Nicholson says “she’d gone from pounding up hills on a road bike, to being pushed in a wheel chair. She is somewhat recovered and walks with a cane.”

Their team has been riding ever since that day and now Nicholson and the local bike shop Fresh Air train potential riders to help get over their fears to realize this route, along with MS, can be conquered. Nicholson believes that “a cure is around the corner, but until then this group will stay in the saddle and keep riding.”

Join Lyle Nicholson for the second of three coaching clinics for the Okanagan Grape Escape starting Saturday July 16, at 10 a.m. There is no need to register.

Eager riders can meet at the McCulloch Station Pub for their challenging but rewarding ride where they will also learn basic bike safety and how to properly check their equipment.

For more information on these training rides, as well as the Okanagan Grape Escape, visit: http://mssoc.convio.net/site/TR?fr_id=4878&pg=entry

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