Phila U. students begin Atlantic coast bike ride for MS

Yesterday, six Philadelphia University students began their bike journey from Maine to Florida. Their 2,636-mile trip aims to educate the public about multiple sclerosis and to raise $30,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Last night, NewsWorks caught up with Alex Klohr, a rider and the event co-coordinator, after the group rode 90 miles from Bar Harbor to Rockport, Maine. Despite cycling through pouring rain at the start, Klohr said the team did really well and is looking forward to today’s 76-mile ride.

The “Coast to Coast for MS: Atlantic Coast Team” gathered at the end of last week in York, Pa., at the home of Philadelphia University student Cameron Swengel. This is Swengel’s second cross-country cycling trip; in 2011, he took another MS awareness team from Virginia to California.

Over the weekend, the team rented an SUV and drove 13 hours from York, Pa. to Bar Harbor, Maine. Two of their family members followed in a truck loaded with food donations as well as camping and bike equipment. Klohr says that the focus of their final preparation phase was on teambuilding strategies.

To prepare for rides of approximately 90 miles each day, the group trained together and alone, largely through workouts along the Schuylkill River Trail and Henry Avenue. Veteran distance rider Swengel advised his team that they needed to prepare well for the first week, when their bodies would “ride [their] way into shape” for the rest of the trip south.

Two of the team’s eight members will bow out early: one in Philadelphia when the team takes a rest day on May 28, and another will depart near Washington, D.C. The rest plan to cycle into Key West on June 22.

Along the way, the athletes will sleep in homes, churches, and camp areas and eat with hosts or from food stored in the truck. Food donors made sure that one staple was fully stocked.

“We’ll need lots of pasta dinners,” said Alex Klohr.

To donate to the Coast to Coast MS: Atlantic Coast Team or to get updates on the team’s trip, visit their blog page

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