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Longboat Key Thursday, May. 14, 2009 8 years ago

Longboat residents gear up for Bike MS

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Arthur Wood was in pain the first time he rode in a National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society: Bike MS event.
It was 1994, and Wood wanted a challenge, so he decided to make the 150-mile ride with his son, Richard, and their colleagues at Hewlett Packard, in Atlanta.

“Richard had heat exhaustion,” Wood said. “My tendons were burning.”

Wood anticipates an easier ride Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17, when he participates in Bike MS: The Citrus Tour, riding from The Bok Tower, in Lake Wales, to the Caribe Royale Resort, in Orlando — a 100-mile roundtrip ride.

For one thing, Wood, a Harbour Circle resident, is now a regular cyclist, riding approximately 150 miles a week. And this year, he’ll be joined by his wife, Maureen, who will ride with him on their tandem bike, along with Longboat Key resident Paul Skversky and Bradenton resident Hugh Scanlon, both of whom will ride single bicycles. All four are regular cyclists who often ride together. Together, they make up The Over Sixties team.

Of the four, Wood is the only returning Bike MS rider. He has ridden in seven prior Bike MS events and raised approximately $40,000. In the 15 years since he made his first ride, the battle against MS has become personal. The Woods’ close friends from their native England lost a daughter to the disease. It’s also a personal fight for Scanlon and Skversky. Scanlon has a neighbor who has MS, and a friend of
Skversky lives with the disease. Although Skversky hasn’t been in touch with his friend over the past few years, he says she’ll probably be the first person he calls when he finishes the ride.

As of Monday, May 11, The Over Sixties team had raised $2,355. This year, fundraising has been tougher than in past years, Wood said.

The group will bike for three to four hours for each day of the trip. Although some are competitive when riding in Bike MS, that’s not The Over Sixties’ style. Its members are looking to help out a good cause while enjoying new terrain.

“The overriding thing is to have a good time,” Skversky said.


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