Weather Forecast


1,000 cyclists, 1 worthy mission

Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson A trio of bicyclists in The Ride Across Minnesota (TRAM) began their 300-mile trek on the Central Lakes Trail near Alexandria Monday. Each cyclist pays a registration fee of $25 to $75 and secures a minimum of $300 in pledges to participate.

Nearly 1,000 cyclists took off from Alexandria Monday morning to fight multiple sclerosis (MS) - a disease that 2.5 million people are struggling with worldwide.

This year's five-day, 300 mile bicycling event - known as The Ride Across Minnesota (TRAM) - takes cyclists on a large loop through the state's scenic central lakes region.

Participants arrived in Alexandria on Sunday before starting the trek the following day.

Cyclists will travel through Little Falls, Pequot Lakes, Wadena and Fergus Falls before crossing the finish line back in Alexandria on Friday, July 30.

This year marks the third time Alexandria has hosted TRAM, which is in its 21st year.

Last year, TRAM raised nearly $1 million to move the National MS Society closer to its goal of having a world free of MS.

Funds raised through the local event will help support programs and services for the nearly 10,000 people living with MS in Minnesota and western Wisconsin and drive research for a cure.

Bike MS: Star Tribune TRAM is the last of three rides in the Minnesota Chapter's 2010 Bike MS series. To learn more about the Bike MS series, visit

About multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and stops people from moving.

Every hour in the United States, someone is diagnosed with MS - an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system.

Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are promising, according to National MS Society leaders.

Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men affected by the disease. More than 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million worldwide live with MS.

About the National

MS Society

MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn't.

The society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, collaborating with MS organizations around the world, and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward.

In 2009, through its national office and 50-state network of chapters, the society devoted more than $132 million to programs that enhanced more than one million lives.

The society also invested nearly $36 million to support 375 research projects around the world. The National MS Society, Minnesota Chapter represents the nearly 10,000 people with MS in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

For more information, go to the website,