The annual MS Bike to the Bay is a big event for those who like to travel on two wheels. This year's event includes a new route and team program with the same goal as always: raising awareness and funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Delaware Chapter.

    This weekend, supporters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Delaware Chapter, will see downstate Delaware by bike. The 2009 Bike MS: Bike to the Bay event runs from Dover to Rehoboth, and is set up for the more casual riders — a 17-mile trek — to the more hardcore cyclist — a 150-mile, two-day outing. Here are the basics about the 2009 Bike MS: NRG Energy Indian River Power Plant Bike to the Bay, in association with Bank of America.
    For more information, call 302-655-5610, ext. 17, or visit

1 Going the distance
    Riders can start at different locations, depending on how far they want to go. The 17-mile ride begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Uncle Ted’s rest stop on Route 88, Milton. The 45-mile ride begins at 11 a.m. at Lake Forest High School, Felton. The 75-mile ride begins at 8 a.m. at Delaware Technical & Community College’s Terry Campus, Dover. The 150-mile ride also begins at 8 a.m. at DelTech, but these cyclists re-trace the route back to Dover on Sunday, Oct. 4.

2 New this year
   This year the MS Society added a Century option, a 100-mile ride that starts, along with the 75-mile ride, at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at DelTech. The new route takes cyclists through woodlands, farmland and Georgetown. Also new is the Ticket to Ride team program. Ticket to Ride waives the registration fee for three cyclists per team who have never participated in a Bike to the Bay event.

3 Rest stops
    Cyclists can hop off for a stretch and snack at six rest areas and a lunch stop between Dover and Rehoboth Beach. The stops are Wild Quail Golf & Country Club, Wyoming; Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, Woodside; Lake Forest High School, Felton; Milford High School; Electric Co-Op, Ellendale; Uncle Ted’s (Stuchlik property), Milton; and The Plantations, Lewes. The finish line is at Henlopen Hotel, Rehoboth Beach. This also is where cyclists riding the 150-mile route will start at 7 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 4. More than 200 volunteers set up and stock rest stops with fruit, snacks and beverages, while bike mechanics and support and gear wagons patrol the route for cyclists in trouble.

4 Why do it?
    The goal is to raise $1 million and increase awareness about multiple sclerosis. MS is an often-disabling disease of the central nervous system. Funds raised by bicyclists support national MS research, programs and services that help the more than 1,500 Delawareans dealing with the disease.

5 Not too late
    Bicyclists can sign up the day of the event, Saturday, Oct. 3, starting at $55 for an individual rider. Each cyclist is required to raise a minimum of $250, so those who haven’t planned on riding should get on the phone or start sending out mass emails to friends and family. Participants who are still short the $250 the day of the event can sign a promise to pay form. The form extends their fundraising time by a month, and also gives the chapter the ability to charge the rider’s credit card for the remainder of the $250 if they do not raise it in time.