Do I need a bike?
Yes! Road/touring bikes are the best option (except for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route). Road bikes are faster but aren't designed to carry the heavy loads that touring bikes are made for. Most of your belongings will be in the trailer, but it's convenient to carry some items during the day so you can be more independent. We suggest apprehending a bike that you'll be most happy with when the trip is over. Do you want a light, fast bike? Or would you prefer a commuter so you can carry heavier loads? Many different bikes have been used successfully in the past, and with proper preparation, yours will too. We are happy to chat with you about the options, give us a ring 201.503.6367!
Where do we stay at night?
We stay in city parks, state parks, national parks, churches, fire stations, college dorms, community centers, hostels and the occasional hotel. There will be occasional hotel stays, but we try to keep overnight expenses to a minimum so that more of the raised funds can be given to MS organizations we support. One night in a hotel for the team is usually enough money to build a ramp for someone with MS. You are always welcome to pay out-of-pocket for a hotel room even when the team has other accommodations lined up that evening.
When can I apply?
We accept applications on a rolling basis until the trips are filled, so the sooner you apply the better!
Is this a fully supported bike tour?
Bike the US for MS teams are working together to bike across America and rid the world of MS. You will be provided the resources, framework, and support to reach this goal. Your gear will be carried by support vehicles, your route leaders will be there to help you along the way, water stops will be set up every 20-30 miles, nightly accommodations will be ready, but the pedaling is up to you! We embrace camping to be able to donate more to those with MS. One night in a hotel for the team is enough money to build a ramp for someone with MS. This is a van supported bike tour where roughing it is embraced, if luxury is what you seek, there may be better options such as Trek Travel
What happens to the money we raise?
Cyclists deliver funds via bicycle to UVA's MS clinic in Charlottesville, Swedish MS Center in Seattle, and Fairview MS Achievement Center in St. Paul as well as contributions to National MS Society chapters across the United States. We also fund numerous financial projects in partnership with the National MS Society. These projects include, but aren't limited to, ramps, bathrooms, stair lifts, hospital beds, grab rails, etc.
How do I raise the fundraising minimum?
The online donation system makes it simple for people to donate in your name once you've created your profile on the website. Start by asking friends and family for sponsorships. Then branch out to coworkers, teammates, church members, and random strangers! There are many tips and strategies in the Fundraising Guide that you will receive once you've applied
and been accepted.
Can I use a third party fundraising site to raise money?
Yes, you can use a third party site to raise funds, but there are a couple things to keep in mind. Donations to third party sites are not tax deductible, so your donors will not be able to deduct their contribution from their taxable income. Also, third party sites keep some percentage of what you raise (usually 8-10%), so less of what you raise can be applied to your fundraising minimum. Fundraising through the Bike the US for MS website ensures donations will be tax deductible, and 100% of what you raise is applied to your fundraising minimum.
I live outside of the US, can I participate?
Absolutely! We have international riders every year. Biking across the US is a great way to see the country from a unique perspective. We'd be happy to answer your questions regarding traveling with your bike, temporary cell phones, etc. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.201.503.6367. We could also arrange a Skype chat if that would be more convenient or less expensive! Username: biketheusforms