By Kelly Howard
So, you want to ride the MS 150 from Houston to Austin to benefit multiple sclerosis but you have no idea when, where, what, why and most importantly— how to start preparing. Have no fear! MS 150 Team Bayou City Outdoors is here to tell you everything single little thing you need to know.
The BP MS 150 is a two-day fund raising bike ride organized by the National MS Society to raise funds and awareness. Although the MS 150 is a ride that takes place all over North America, we have the largest event of its kind right here in Houston with over 13,000 cyclists, 3,500 volunteers and hundreds of spectators all along the route and at the finish line in Austin. In 2014, the MS 150 went above and beyond by raising $20 million dollars for those living with multiple sclerosis.
Not only does the 160 mile trip from Houston to Austin get you in shape, but it’s for a tremendous cause. General Rider Registration is $100 and then each rider is required to raise at least $400 in pledges.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
-Joining a team takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process. Training rides, a jersey, tips and friends are the foundation of making the MS 150 a successful and fun ride. BCO Training Rides with a jersey.
- It’s very important to get practice riding with others, not just for safety but also to feel comfortable. Feeling comfortable and riding with a group can make all the difference in having a terrible or a terrific MS 150. Practicing and learning the etiquette is important (space between riders, hand gestures, using your voice, etc.) Moving through the pace line, keeping a steady pace while at the front, and learning how to safely draft in the middle of pack may sound pretty intense, but once you do it a couple times, it’ll be a piece of cake.
-There is no expected speed a rider is supposed to maintain. Remember, this is for fun! Some groups might average 25 MPH while others bop along with friends and family at 10 MPH. Slow and steady wins the race. You will be set up to take off at your desired pace.
-Riders line up according to the speeds they expect to ride with the fastest group at the font. Some folks ride to see how fast they can finish while others just try to finish or improve from last year. Remember to start at a pace that is comfortable for you, starting the ride too fast will result in regret.
-A safety helmet is required, no headphones or cellphones are allowed when riding. Riders must obey all traffic signs and rules.
- Eat carefully at rest stops. Power bars and fruit are popular MS 150 snacks that keep riders going. 2 water bottles are essential to have on the road, too.
-Make sure you have good biking shorts and a comfortable saddle. Wear and try them out while training, it helps get your hind parts ready for being on a bike for an extended period of time.
-Bring spares of everything if you can. Shoes, socks, helmets, tires, gloves, etc.
-SAG- Support And Gear- is a vehicle that provides support for riders. Not only will they carry supplies, gear, food and water for you, but they’ll even rescue you if you really want it. If you bonk and lie in the grass in a fetal position yelling for “mommy,” SAG will scoop you and your bike up off of the ground and take you somewhere safe. And by somewhere safe I mean hopefully a Dairy Queen.
ON TRAINING DAYS:
-Sign in 15 minutes before start (don’t forget to sign out at the end of the ride)
-Safety/Riding Tips: 5 minutes of biking/safety tips
-Route Review: 5 minutes review of map, distance options, water stop locations, ride marshals introduction, SAG support contact numbers
-Pace Groups: Pick the appropriate pace group for your ride: Beginner: 10–13 mph Intermediate: 14- 16 mph Sport: 17–19 mph Advanced: 20+ mph
Again, a helmet is required and no cellphones or headphones while riding!
Top reasons to ride with Team BCO:
1. You’ll always have friends to ride with— no matter what your speed or ability.
2. Our training series gets you seriously ready for the MS 150
3. It’s the nicest group of people you’ll ever ride with
4. And most importantly— we have non-stop FUN!
You must be a member to ride with Team BCO or a guest of a member.
Not sure if you can pull it off yet? Join us just for our training series. No pressure.
-Training Rides Only
Or, there’s also one of our favorite rides of all time happening around the same time as MS 150! GASP: the Great Austin to Shiner Pedal, a 100 mile bicycle ride starting in Austin and traveling to the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. Satisfying desires of two favorite things: riding bikes and drinking beer. There is also a ½ GASP option of 50 miles. You’ll also find a list at the bottom of MS 150 Recommended Rides.
For future reference, we have a MS 150 Kick Off Dinner every year in October, a week or two after MS 150 registration opens, to go through everything A-Z that has to do with the MS 150. Keep that in mind.
Want to help Bayou City Outdoors with MS 150, but don’t plan to ride? Email us for more details!
Questions, comments, concerns please don’t hesitate to email Kelly@BayouCityOutdoors.com
MS 150 Recommended Rides:
Saturday, January 17- Texas Independence Bicycle Tour — http://www.deerparkrotary.org
Saturday, January 24- Bike Through The Forest — http://kingwoodfillies.net/
Saturday, January 31- Clay Walker’s Band Against MS Ride — http://www.bandagainstms.org
Saturday, February 7- Pedaling the Prairie — http://www.faithwest.org/development/pedaling-the-prairie/
Sunday, February 8- Bike for Little Heroes — http://www.redwhiteandbike.org/
Saturday, February 14- Humble Lions Bike Ride— http://www.humblelionsclub.com/
Sunday, February 15- Tri-County Hill Hopper— http://www.hillhopper.org/
Saturday, February 21- The Bulldog Bike Ride— http://www.bulldogbikeride.com/
Saturday, February 28- Gator Ride— http://www.gatorride.org/
Saturday, March 7- The Raven Ride- Huntsville— http://huntsvilleravenride.org/
Sunday, March 8- The Great Escape Bike Ride—http://www.pearlandcyclingclub.org/
Saturday, March 14- Pedal Thru the Pines- Bastrop— http://www.pedalthrupines.org/
Sunday, March 15- Tour de Houston— http://www.houstontx.gov/tourdehouston/
Saturday, March 21- Riverside Ride- Victoria—http://www.riversideride.com/
Sunday, March 22- Bluebonnet Express— http://www.northwestcyclingclub.com/
Saturday, March 28- SpringFest Metric Century— http://thecenterhouston.org/springfest/
Sunday, March 29- TWFG Gran Fondo: Texs TMCO— http://www.granfondotexastmco.com/
Saturday, April 11- Katy Ram Challenge— http://www.katyramchallenge.org/