The safety of our cyclists is the number one priority at Bike MS which is why we made Think Safe our motto.
Bike MS is for everyone which means there is a great mix of riders with different experience and skill levels on the road together at every Bike MS event.
To do your part to ensure everyone arrives safely at the finish line, please review this safety information about personal safety, group riding skills, cycling etiquette and bike maintenance.
The safety of our cyclists is the number one priority at Bike MS. To help ensure that everyone has a great ride and arrives safely at the finish line, we work hard to create a proactive approach to safety.
Help us by knowing the rules of the road and following safe riding practices.
Ride safely and have fun because there’s nothing like crossing the finish line and celebrating with your team!
COVID-19: What to Expect
MS doesn’t stop because of this crisis, and neither will we. But we will implement a variety of new protocols in keeping with current guidance on event attendance from the CDC, state, city and other local agencies to keep our participants, volunteers, staff and host communities as safe as possible. These practices will be reviewed 90, 60 and 35 days from event day and may be adjusted as directed by evolving medical information to ensure your safety.
The status of one Bike MS event has no implication on the status of others. We are striving to hold Bike MS events in-person wherever we are permitted to, in line with COVID safety measures as directed by each ride’s local governments and public health organizations.
For protocols specific to an individual ride, please refer to that ride’s website.
COVID-19 had a considerable effect on event planning and execution details. In 2021:
- Rides will be one-day events through August 31, 2021. Rides will have two route options: short/medium and long. There will not be a formal century routes or lunch stop this year.
- We are planning to host our September and October events in the way we know and love with a traditional Bike MS experience. However, we will continue to monitor CDC and other local guidelines to ensure we provide a safe experience for all attendees.
- Two-day rides in September and October 2021 will adhere to all CDC and jurisdiction guidelines. All pre-event in-person activities like kickoffs team captain events, or top fundraiser gatherings will be virtual.
- Components of each event will be modified to reduce risk and provide for the highest degree of safety for our event participants, staff and volunteers. Plans will be in place for mitigating and responding to disease transmission.
- Flexible payment options including Venmo, Apple Pay, PayPal, e-checks, credit card and mobile check capture through our Bike MS app are available to process donations.
- The new Bike MS mobile app allows you to connect with donors, stay current on updated ride details and access mobile check capture. You can even track your physical activity and share it with your network over social media. Learn more.
Overall Safety Protocol
As in-person gatherings return, the National MS Society is learning from industry experts and other nonprofits across the country. The Society is focused on following the best practices that fit the situation at the time and event location status.
Personal responsibilities will be communicated to participants, staff, volunteers, vendors, and sponsors prior to the event via phone, email, social media and event website updates. These responsibilities and COVID-19 protocols will be explained in detail multiple times prior to the event and will evolve as necessary.
Because of the nature of the pandemic and the ever-changing climate, changes may be made up to the last minute. All efforts will take place to make sure our participants, staff, volunteers, vendors, and sponsors have the most up to date information available. Here are some protocols which will be in place:
- Pre-Event health screening of all staff, participants, and volunteers.
- Self-serve food stations with individually pre-packaged food items, electrolyte drinks and single serve water will be available for a contactless experience.
- Cyclists must bring their own water bottles. Individual water bottles will be available for refills.
- Reduced touchpoints to minimize physical interactions.
- Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the event including packet pickup locations, higher traffic areas, and in and around portable toilets.
- Face coverings will be required for all riders, volunteers, and staff throughout the event. Riders may remove their masks when out on the road.
- Event signage will promote safe social distancing practices including maintaining 6 feet of distance or more between others.
- Dedicated lanes and waiting spots will be provided to aid in physical distancing in areas where cyclists congregate such as packet pick-up, start line, and restrooms.
- Anyone at increased risk or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be directed to stay home.
- Staff and volunteers will be provided gloves or other PPE if their role requires additional interaction (ex: plastic shields, disinfectant).
Contactless Packet Pick-Up events will take place in advance of event weekend.
- We will host contactless Packet Pick-Up events in advance of event weekend. These events will vary by ride location and will be available based on the size and location of each events. Participants will be asked to sign-up for a timeframe in which to pick-up their packet.
- We will also mail packets to those who have met the fundraising minimum who are not able to attend in a Packet Pick-up event in person.
- When possible, there will be a Packet Pick-Up opportunity the Friday of event weekend at the event starting line location.
- There will be no on-site registration or packet pick-up options available the morning of our Bike MS events.
- Packet Pick-Up will be cashless. Please download our Bike MS app to take advantage of mobile check capture where you can scan and capture the checks you already have.
Preparing for Event Day
In advance of event weekend, participants will receive two key pieces of information: a link to complete the health screening and their personal designated start time.
- To ensure the safety of volunteers, participants, vendors and staff, all participants will be required to complete a short health screening prior to riding.
- All participants will receive a link to answer 1 COVID symptom question 24-48 hours in advance of their registered Bike MS event.
- If the individual passes the screening, they will receive a green confirmation which they will need to show at packet pick-up OR on-site ride morning at which time they will receive a wristband allowing them to participate.
- ONLY those participants with wristbands will be allowed to participate.
Designated Window Access
- In advance of event weekend, all participants will receive a designated start time window to arrive at the starting line.
- This window will be the time slot to arrive, park, show a passing health screening to the mandatory check-in tent, and receive a wristband to access to the route. The wristband will be considered your “ticket to ride” the event.
- Please respect your assigned time as we are working to abide by all jurisdictions to allow for appropriate social distancing and pacing of riders along the route.
- After receiving their wristband, cyclists will be asked to proceed to the starting line to gather with their team or friends and begin the ride. All cyclists for each start time window must leave the starting line during that timeframe.
For additional details on what you can expect ride morning, please visit your local Bike MS page.
View our complete Bike MS 2021 COVID Safety Protocol for more information.
Written by Natasha Grief, Bicycling Magazine
Most cyclists, if they check their bikes at all, wait to do it five minutes before the group is about to start rolling. What's the point? No one's going to wait for you to fix a cracked frame or a torn sidewall. Be one of the smart ones: Give your bike this once-over after each ride, so you're ready to go at the drop of a hat—or helmet.
Check for: Side-to-side play in the wheel; QRs or skewers that aren't tight or secure
How? Make sure quick-releases are closed all the way, and that bolt-on skewers are securely fastened.
On your next ride: Your wheel won't come loose and detach from your bike midride.
Check for: Trueness
How? While spinning the wheel, watch the distance between the rim and the brake pad. It should be uniform for the entire rotation. If it wobbles, the wheel needs truing. (Watch our pro true a wheel at http://www.bicycling.com/maintenance/bike-washing/subtle-art-wheel-truing.)
On your next ride: Your wobbly wheel won't lead to more serious problems, such as a shudder while descending or brake pads rubbing.
Check for: Grit on the pads, caliper alignment
How? If your brakes feel gritty, clean the pads with a rag and degreaser; replace pads if the grooves are worn more than 50 percent compared with new pads. Calipers are aligned if the pads are equidistant from the rim.
On your next ride: You won't go to grab the levers only to roll right through the stop sign at the bottom of the hill.
Check for: Low tire pressure, embedded glass, slices in the tire or sidewall
How? Inflate tires to proper pressure, and carefully remove embedded debris with tweezers. A cut tire or sidewall is prone to a blowout and shouldn't be ridden; replace it.
On your next ride: Your chances of flatting will greatly decrease, and you may have prevented a nasty midride blowout.
Check for: Supplies you may have depleted on your ride
How? If you used something during a ride, replace it so it's there for the next ride. If your spare tube has been in there for a while, give it a quick inspection to make sure it's still intact.
On your next ride: You'll have a spare tube and CO2 cartridge to lend to the guy who didn't follow this postride checklist.
Check for: Loose bolts and overall wear
How? Worn-out cleats won't engage as crisply. You'll know when they've just plain quit on you, then it's time for new cleats. Bolts can loosen over time. If your cleat isn't secure to your shoe, tighten the bolts.
On your next ride: Your foot won't pop out without warning, and you won't tumble to the ground because you couldn't disengage your cleat.
Check for: Cracks, especially at the joints
How? Using a rag and bike polish, wipe dirt and moisture from your frame. Look for cracks, flaking paint and other irregularities.
On your next ride: You'll either be on your bike because you didn't find a crack, or you'll be on your way to the shop for a pro evaluation. If your carbon frame is cracked, don't mess around. Failure could be catastrophic.
Watch Bike Maintenance 101
- Additional Safety Resources