Bike MS: Atlanta Peach Ride takes place in LaGrange

Published 9:20 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Cyclists filled local streets during the weekend, raising $314,870 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

This was the third year that the Bike MS: Atlanta Peach Ride took place in LaGrange, and its first time starting at Wild Leap Brew Co. Many of the 45 teams were made up of returning riders hoping to make a difference in the lives of people with Multiple Sclerosis.

“The Bike MS series brings in $70 million across the country for services, programs and research,” said Roy Rangel, the president of the Georgia Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “So, you can imagine the impact that it has on people living with MS, and our whole goal is that people living with MS can live their best lives with MS. So, that means a lot of funding for research. We have an advocacy program as well, and we also do a lot of services for people living with MS.”

For those with MS, the ride is more than just a fundraiser though. It is confirmation of the love and support of friends, family and even strangers while dealing with MS.

“Our team name is ‘Cause of Carol, and my husband did that when I was diagnosed in 2010,” said Carol Kalafut, who was in town for the ride. “This is amazing. It is awesome. It is great. We have a small team, but it is a really fun group. A lot of it started with my husband’s co-workers. They would do a lot of triathlons and a lot of exercise stuff, and so he started it with them. This is our eighth year I think, so we just have a lot of fun. Even though it is a serious thing, and we are raising money for something that is really important, we just love coming and having fun.”

The 11 riders on the ‘Cause of Carol team raised $12,040.

“We are so glad that in the 10 years or so that I’ve had it, there have been some huge strides in what they have accomplished for research and for the medicines that you take,” Kalafut said.

Organizers said that they enjoyed hosting the event in LaGrange because of the community.

“We are so grateful to the LaGrange community for opening their hearts to us,” Rangel said. “These are cyclists that some have a connection to MS, others don’t, so their passion might be cycling, but they also use their passion to raise money for MS. It is nice to come into a community where whether it is the first responders or whether it is the organizers here in LaGrange or commercial entities like restaurants, opening their hearts up, and I am very thankful and very appreciative of that. We can’t do this alone, and so when we go out into these communities and we engage volunteers, we engage the community. That is what makes a big difference.”

Officers from the LaGrange Police Department rode alongside cyclists to ensure their safety on the long rides, and Golden’s Bikes provided roadside support.

Organizers said that they hoped to hold the event in LaGrange again in the future.

“We are excited to partner with Wild Leap, and we love the City of LaGrange,” said Anastasia Papastefan, development specialist for Bike MS. “Everyone here is so amazing, and it is a very welcoming community. This is a great spot for this ride. Our riders love it. I think it was a good location change, and hopefully we’ll stay here for a long time.”

To learn more about the ride or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, visit