More than a ride. More than miles.
BikeMS is a fundraising series of bike rides for National MS Society that raises more money than any other cycling event. With every ride, thousands of cyclers, donors, and volunteers have come together to stop MS, restore quality of life to those affected, and search for an end to multiple sclerosis forever. Multiple Sclerosis is an auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system. The damage caused by MS leads to an extensive number of symptoms. These symptoms range from numbness or slowed cognitive processing, to the more severe like blindness or paralysis, with many others in between. There’s currently no cure for MS and no known cause for it either, which is why the BikeMS fundraising rides are so important. The BPMS150 is one of those rides in which Wildway has and will continue to participate for years to come.
The BPMS150 is an experience like no other. Beginning in Houston, TX at 6:45 am on a Saturday morning and ending 36 hours later in Austin, TX, this ride spans 140-170 miles depending on the route you take. Sound crazy? No, just wild. And that’s how we like it. Here's a look at the ride:
The MS150 provides very convenient and seamless transportation for all riders that need it. All you have to do is get to Houston or Austin and they'll take care of the rest.
If you're coming from Austin, there are buses that leave throughout the day on the Friday before the race or even early on the Saturday morning of the race. These buses will transport you, your bike, and all your luggage to Houston, as well as take your luggage back to La Grange and back to Austin to be waiting on you when you finish.
If you're coming from Houston, there will be buses waiting for you at the finish line in Austin ready to take you back to where you started!
Getting there is the easy part. Riding that long stretch of map from start to finish is the fun part. Here's a breakdown of the race:
Around 6 am on Saturday morning 14,000 riders begin making their way to the 3 different starting lines in Houston:
Waller Stadium- Starting outside of Houston, in Waller, this route is the quickest path to lunch at 75.6 miles.
Rhodes Stadium- Beginning in Katy, this route takes you 83.3 miles to Bellville for lunch.
Energy Corridor- Coming in at 95.7 miles, this starting point is the longest route option and is where Team Wildway made our launch. Go big or go home, right?
The lines are packed and the energy is electric- there's no way to not be excited. As music plays and the MC speaks, teams inch closer and closer toward the beginning of a 75-96 mile day until they are finally released in a group to start the long excursion to the halfway point- La Grange, TX.
Along the route, there are breakpoints. These are the oasis in the desert. The shelter from the storm. A sight for sore eyes… and legs. Every 8-15 miles is relieved with one of these rest stops that offers snacks, sports drinks, water, first aid, bike repair, and restroom facilities.There are also SAG vans- Special Assistance Group vehicles provide transportation to riders who need a lift to the next breakpoint. These guys are always rolling by, ready to pick you and your bike up, give you some water, and take you to the next stop. The drivers are always kind, understanding, and never criticize you for getting “sagged.” Everyone needs a little help sometimes.
It's about 50 miles to the lunch break in Bellville- a much needed rest, complete with free sandwiches, shade, medical tents, and even some music to keep you pumped for the next stretch.
From Bellville, you still have 50 more miles on some of the prettiest Texas roads until you reach the halfway mark at the Fayette County Fairgrounds in the small town of La Grange. It's here that you'll enjoy a shower, live music, free beer, much needed dinner, and a beautiful sunset before you hit the hay and get rested up for Day 2.
6 am seems to come a little earlier on the second day of this adventure, but the buzz is still palpable among the thousands of sore riders ready for another day of riding. After a pancake breakfast homemade and served with a smile by the local volunteers, the line forms again and launches off around 6:45 am.
From La Grange, riders have two route options- the Lunch Express or the Betchel Challenge. The Lunch Express route bypasses the state parks and makes a straight shot to the lunch break in Bastrop. The Betchel Challenge route is a few extra miles and a lot of extra hills, but it's full of breathtaking views and stunning scenes in the Bastrop and Buescher State Parks. Both routes meet back up in downtown Bastrop for another much-needed lunch break.
From there, it's only 30 more miles to the finish line- Circuit of Americas stadium in Austin. Those last couple of hours are tough but they're worth it as you roll into the COA center and are cheered on by the lines of other riders and spectators. It's a wonderful feeling as you cross the finish line and you get to celebrate with a big party of vendors with free food and drinks, live music, and more. Then, it's high-fives and hugs and "see ya next years," as you pack up and make your way back home after a weekend like no other.
This ride might seem intimidating, but it is do-able and the organizers of this event make every effort possible to ensure that. Each of those roughly 150 miles are marked with local supporters and advocates on the side of the road, thousands of volunteers offering help, hydration, and snacks, and hundreds of law enforcement and medical professionals to provide assistance and safety every step (pedal?) of the way.
From the friendly people cheering us on from their driveways and porches to the volunteers at the start, breakpoints, La Grange, and the finish line, every rider is met with the most genuine care, compassion, and camaraderie. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are truly prepared and served with love and always with a “Thank you for riding!” Smiles, high-fives, hugs, hot meals, cold beer, and the warmth of people uniting for a good cause is all the comfort you need after the extreme discomfort of riding a bike for 150 miles. Additionally, there are countless safety measures taken by the BikeMS crew. Safety is their number one priority and this ride is fully-supported by Bike Police, Bike Medics, Ride Marshals, and Motorcycle Marshals. The goal is a safe and fun ride that anyone and everyone can complete.
Team Wildway has enjoyed every minute of this ride, every time we've completed it. We felt the love and support at every point, and we made it to the finish line feeling proud to have been a part of such a positive impact:
Number of Riders- 14,000+
Amount of Money Raised for MS in 2019- $13.5+ million
Amount of Money Raised for MS to date- $1.3 billion
Here’s to a wild ride for a good cause. Who’s joining us next year?