Some of the more than 100 riders in the Fraser Valley Experience MS Bike fundraser head up 232 Street in Langley Township. The event was expected to raise over $100,000. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

MS Bike ride underway in Langley and Abbotsford

Annual event raises funds for research

More than 100 riders and 20 teams are taking part in the annual MS Bike Fraser Valley Experience in Langley and Abbotsford.

The riders departed the Cascades Casino Resort at 20393 Fraser Hwy. in Langley City Saturday morning for the first of two days of riding.

Riders had their choice of three routes, ranging in length from 42 kilometres to 102 kilometres, with the longest route running into Abbotsford with stops at wineries, breweries, and even an organic farm.

They will ride again Sunday morning, traveling different routes.

Organizers expect the Langley and Abbotsford ride will raise more than $100,000 in support of MS research with a goal of ending MS.

“We’re really excited to be hosting in Langley,” Ashley McCartie said.

“We’ve had some great support.”

McCartie said the MS Society was grateful for the backing of local sponsors, including local businesses, the Township and City of Langley as well as the city of Abbotsford.

The Langley and Abbotsford ride is part of the largest fundraising cycling series in North America, with four tours in B.C.

Every year since 1989, cyclists of all ages and fitness levels across the country get together to end what’s been dubbed ‘Canada’s disease’: multiple sclerosis (Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world).

Teams this weekend included the 11-member A&W corporate team, Easy Riders, which includes Langley resident Tim Baillee, whose mother Rosalie was diagnosed about 33 years ago.

A friend was also diagnosed years later.

“I know too many people that have been directly involved, and I have learned that doing this is the right thing,” Baillee said.

“I know it sounds simple but that is really it. I believe in supporting good causes that are also responsible.”

Since their first ride 14 years ago, Easy Riders has raised $117,000 for the MS Society’s search for a cure.

As of June 26, the 11-member team had raised more than $9,000.

MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, which can cause extreme fatigue, lack of co-ordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes.

It is one of the most common neurological diseases among young adults in Canada.

Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives. The MS Society provides services to people with MS and their families and funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease. Visit mssociety.ca or call 1-800-268-7582 to make a donation.

Earlier this year, in May, the annual Scotiabank MS Walk in Langley City raised more than $26,000 for research.