This year marks the 25th anniversary of the MS Ride, a two day ride which covers 150 miles from Homestead to the Florida Keys and back, and brings together over 3500 participants including cyclists, volunteers, sponsors, family and friends with the motto "bike to create a world free of MS".
The ride offers participants the opportunity to choose different distances depending on ability, riders can ride distances of 50, 75, 110 or 150 miles in the span of two days. Beginning on Saturday May 14th and returning on Sunday May 15th. Departing from the Homestead- Miami Speedway and making their way down to the 42BELOW village in John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo on Saturday, and returning to Miami on Sunday. This is a fully supported ride with sponsored rest stops along the route to provide food and drinks along with entertainment for the riders along the route.
In order to participate in this ride, each rider pledges to raise at least $400.00, average riders have typically raised over $800.00. While there are scores of teams and contributors to this ride, the common cause is to raise money for the National MS Society to help with the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.
Events such as this one highlight the generosity of the human spirit, and as we scan the crowd of over 2500 riders, some great stories begin to appear. One such story is that of the Bacardi/42BELOW team which will field this year over 310 riders to make it the second largest team on the event. Under the leadership of team captain Claudette Halluk, Bacardi's director of business development and an eight year veteran of the MS Ride; the team has grown to an impressive group of employees and other members of the community to more than 300 riders and have raised to date over $150,000 for the ride, well over their goal of $140,000.
Claudette has worked tirelessly to increase awareness of the ride and raise funds of such an incredible cause and she credits her team for such a great achievement, "I’m so proud of Bacardi, 42BELOW, and the individual efforts of my teammates that this a successful event every year", and referring to the cause she adds, "because we fight this disease by simply riding a bike and because we have chosen to help thousands of people through a contribution to the MS Bike Tour, every year we come one step closer to ending MS".
Among the members of the Bacardi/42BELOW team, Debbie Kulig stands out as a true hero. Debbie not only will be riding with her two sons in this year's ride, but she has also been battling MS for over 15 years. She leads the field by example and works tirelessly to raise awareness for the case; needless to say, her participation raises the team spirit and is a source of great inspiration for participants and volunteers. Team Captain Claudette Halluk says, "Debbie is very active in the cause and she is an invaluable part of the team Bacardi/42BELOW and is a huge reason why the MS 150 has been such a success for all involved".