Thousands to hit highways next month Throngs of cyclists from various backgrounds, cities, levels of fitness and of all ages have been preparing to set out on a two-day, 180-mile bike ride from Houston to Austin next month. The BP MS 150 is the largest nonprofit sporting event in Texas and the largest event of its kind in the United States, raising awareness to combat multiple sclerosis. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Lone Star Chapter is number one in the nation financially, geographically and in terms of population served. The Humble, Kingwood and Atascocita areas are no exception, and riders here have been gathering for months, each weekend, to train for the long ride. David Shope lives in Kingwood and this will be his 10th year to ride for the cause. The top 300 fundraisers are part of the “300 Club” and Shope has been in the club for the past three years, He expects to reach that goal again this time around. So far, in his years of participation, he has raised about $40,000. “It's a great cause,” said Shope. “I can ride for those who can't ... it makes you feel really special.” Bike Werks has shops in Humble and Kingwood and will be stationed at one of the rest stops for both days of the ride. They volunteer their time and pay a fee to man the rest station. “We're there to help with flat tires, broken spokes and things like that,” said shop manager Jeremy Ward. Riders and teams from across the country and throughout the world take part in the annual event, which has raised more than $60 million to fund research, provide medications, and otherwise help meet the needs of those who suffer from MS. QLS has riders from throughout the area who gather every Saturday morning and push themselves a bit more to be ready for the bike tour. BP is the title sponsor for the event through 2009 and has entered the largest team for the past six years. BP now has teams participating in MS 150s across the U.S., and it all began here in the Lone Star State. The tour starts in Houston on Saturday, April 21, and finishes at the state capitol in Austin on Sunday, April 22, after an overnight celebration in La Grange. Registration for the bike tour is capped at 13,000 riders and closed in record time this year, before Thanksgiving, according to Shope. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.ms150.org.

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