Alaska 600 MS Bike Tour dwarfs other events

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Governor Knowles has proclaimed May as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) month. According to the Alaska Division of the National MS Society some 1,100 Alaskans live with MS, which can cause a wide variety of symptoms including paralysis, blindness, and deafness.

According to Natalie Ringland, local ambassador for the Alaska Division of the National MS Society, many local and statewide events are being organized. Saturday May 11th, there will be an MS 4 mile walk, run, bike ride, starting at 9:00am from the Soldotna McDonalds and sponsored by ACS.

May 14th a satellite teleconference is planned at KPC entitled "Reaching for new Frontiers in MS research." Across the country, in all states except Alaska and Hawaii, the MS Society has traditionally held one to two day MS bike tours usually up to 150 miles. This year however, thanks to tour organizer Eric Noah Hart, the inaugural Alaska 600 MS Bike Tour plans to dwarf all the other tours by riding from Fairbanks to Homer Alaska.

Hart, a computer network engineer who lives in Kenai, raced and toured on the amateur bike circuit in the New York area as a teenager. Hart says he was looking to organize a bike tour to raise money for a good cause, and that MS was a natural choice, "It seems we all know someone with MS. Personally, my father, my brother, my girlfriend, her sister and my next door neighbor all have MS and deal with the uncertainty of the disease every day," said Hart, who is also a member of the Soldotna Rotary Club.

Hart is now looking for bikers to participate. Registration is open now for the event scheduled for June 22-28. Cyclists in the tour will ride 600 miles over 7 days, making camp at night. According to Hart, participants do not have to be professionals, "I talked with a few people about the idea, including my fellow Rotarians in Soldotna, and I was amazed by the response. People I thought would never take time away from their businesses are telling me they want to come along." Hart says it'll be a fun ride with support vehicles along on the ride.

Further information is available on-line at or by calling Eric Hart to make a pledge or help sponsor the event at 776-5834.

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