For two months this summer, Sherando High School graduate Emily Gregory will bike across the U.S. to raise money for multiple sclerosis.
As part of Bike the US for MS team, Gregory will start her 3,785-mile journey from Yorktown on June 1. She will be among a group of 20 cyclists who will travel through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah and Nevada. They will end in San Francisco on Aug. 1.
“I’m overwhelmingly excited,” said the 18-year-old Virginia Tech freshman. “It’s amazing. I don’t know if I’m more looking forward to being out there or the people I will meet.”
Gregory learned about the trek through a flyer at school. Although she had not been personally affected by the disease, which attacks the central nervous system, she said she was aware of how awful it could be. A week after seeing the flyer, she spotted a girl wearing a Bike the US for MS shirt. Through the girl’s roommate, she learned more about the event and decided she wanted to join in.
“I just wanted to do it,” she said. “It just seems amazing and it just seems right.”
The trip will include views of deserts, high mountain passes, snowy peaks, farmlands, rolling hills and winding rivers, according to biketheusforms.org. The journey will consist of biking anywhere from 41 to 103 miles a day and sleeping in fire halls, churches, parks, homes and campgrounds. Once in San Francisco, Gregory will meet her family and fly back to Virginia.
Along the way, the bike group will participate in six service projects to help those with MS. These include projects like yard makeovers and painting. On these days, there will be no cycling.
Prior to arriving to orientation, bikers are required to ride at least 500 miles on the bike they are planning to ride across the country, including two back-to-back days of at least 60 miles.
Gregory plans to buy her bike — a Trek 520 disc, which will cost about $1,500 — in March.
So far, she said she is working out at least five times a week doing cycling, BODYPUMP and yoga.
“I’m not into biking, which is funny,” Gregory said. “I mean I like it, but I’m more into hiking.” Gregory said she is hopeful her previous hiking experience — including hiking in the Rocky Mountains — will help prepare her for her cross-country trek.
The fundraising minimum per rider is $1/mile if riding farther than 1,500 miles. All funds raised will go toward University of Virginia’s MS clinic in Charlottesville, Swedish MS Center in Seattle, and Fairview MS Achievement Center in St. Paul, Minn., as well as National Multiple Sclerosis Society chapters around the United States.
To donate and learn more about the cause, visit biketheusforms.org and click under “Cyclists” and the “TransAm” route.