New start for BP MS 150, as riders seek to raise $14 million
The largest event of its kind in North America, the BP MS 150, is moving the start of its colossal, annual fundraising bike ride on April 28 to the Energy Corridor’s Park Row Drive.
With the final stretch of Park Row completed last year by the Energy Corridor District, BP MS 150 organizers chose the ConocoPhillips parking lot across from the Omni Hotel as an ideal place to begin the two-day bicycling journey to Austin. Formerly held at Tully Stadium, the start of the BP MS 150 is a festive affair, packed with riders, volunteers, support groups and spectators, with a background of upbeat music and inspirational speeches.
All told, some 13,000 riders and 3,500 volunteers are expected to participate in the 2018 BP MS 150 ride, organized by the National MS Society. Their fundraising goal is considerable, as they seek to raise $14 million to fund critical services and groundbreaking research to fight multiple sclerosis – a debilitating disease that affects 2.3 million people.
More than 414 teams, many from companies in the Energy Corridor, participated in the last year’s BP MS 150. The impact those teams have made to battle multiple sclerosis has been significant. Now in its 34th year, the annual bike ride has raised a staggering amount of donations, more than $250 million.
Headquartered in the Energy Corridor District, BP America has been the ride’s title sponsor since 2001 and, along with Team BP, has contributed millions for MS research and programs.
“Each year, Energy Corridor companies such as BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips and others have made significant contributions in the fight against MS, turning out hundreds of cyclists and volunteers,” says Rachael Weaver, community relations coordinator for the Energy Corridor District. “It is fitting that the BP MS 150 will now hold its main starting point in the Energy Corridor.”
This year, riders will roll onto Park Row Drive, cross the new bridge over Langham Creek and head west to Barker Cypress Road before winding their way to FM 529, a lunch break in Bellville and eventually an overnight stay in La Grange. Day two takes the riders through hilly terrain past Bastrop, before ending in downtown Austin. Route maps are available for download here.
An unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Those afflicted can experience symptoms from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. Substantially more women than men are diagnosed with MS, most between the ages of 20 and 50. According to the National MS Society, continuing advances in research and treatment are moving closer to a world free of MS.