Taking it “one kilometre at a time,” a Warfield couple will be riding their bikes nearly 200 km in the hopes of making a difference for people living with multiple sclerosis.
Diane Langman and her husband Jason will be just two of 1,900 bike riders on Alberta’s highways this weekend for the annual Johnson MS Bike Tour, making the trip from Leduc, just south of Edmonton, to Camrose.
Connie Stang, a friend and former coworker of the Langman’s, has MS, and was the main motivator for their first time on the trip. Now, they are going again.
Langman says, after hearing and seeing the response after her first time in the charity bike ride, it was only natural to hop back on her bike for the good cause.
“We had done the ride two years ago in Connie’s name (last year, I was out due to a full ankle rebuild) and it was a very humbling experience,” she said, mentioning that personal accomplishment also factored into the ride.
“Initially, we had signed up as a goal to accomplish just for ourselves, but once we saw the day-to-day struggles of those living with MS, we knew we had to do it again for those people we know.”
Before the time comes to shift gears and hit the road, the Langmans were busy flipping burgers at Ferraro Foods last Friday, raising money for their team.
They raised exactly $1,292.60 – adding to their nearly $2,000 fundraising total.
Standing over a hot grill, selling burgers was just a warm-up and Langman says there is still more to do. This isn’t the first time the couple has participated in the ride, preparing the pair for the amount of training that needs to be done before the main event.
“We have been riding our bikes three to four times a week and just trying to increase our mileage each time,” explained Langman, adding that the ride isn’t about who gets to the finish line first. “It is not a race. It is a ride to raise fund to MS research. Mentally, you just tackle things one kilometre at a time.”
Although the ride is out in Alberta, Langman says she sees the impact the geared-up adventure has within her home community of Warfield.
“Since that time, we have had so many people in the community come out and say, ‘my husband has MS, thank you for doing the ride,’ or, ‘My sister has MS,’” she said.
“It’s far more common than we ever knew. We know that those who suffer cannot ride, so we will ride for them. It’s one small thing that we can do to show our support.”
The Langmans are riding as part of a larger team named Spokes Of Genius along with some family and friends.
“The energy levels during this event are incredible,” she said. “The team building, the sweat, the drive and determination, the support from complete strangers; it is really an amazing experience. Yes, it is long distance, but look at how much those people with MS suffer everyday. You don’t really feel like you should be complaining about how sore your butt is after seeing their daily struggle.”
The ride starts out from Leduc on the morning of June 13, and ends back in the same spot the next afternoon.
There is still time to add some dollars to the team sponsorship fund ahead of the ride. For donation information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.