This year will mark the seventh year that Riley and Courtney Kieser, a brother and sister combo born and raised in Edmonton, will be riding in Johnson MS Bike – Leduc to Camrose. In addition to being fitness enthusiasts, Riley and Courtney are committed to ending multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that impacts over 100,000 Canadians.
We recently sat down with Riley and Courtney to chat about their personal connection to the cause and why others should get involved in this two-day, 180 km cycling journey through scenic rural Alberta.
Here’s what they shared: about the experience and impact of Johnson MS Bike.
What does the Johnson MS Bike mean to you?
Riley & Courtney: The MS Bike is important because it is an amazing cause, affecting so many Canadians is especially close to our hearts because our father was diagnosed with MS 24 years ago. Each year, the MS Bike renews our hope for a cure. We also see firsthand the positive effect the organization has on the lives of individuals with MS and their families.
“A cure [for MS] would mean a new beginning for our dad with endless possibilities.”
Why should others get involved in Johnson MS Bike?
Riley & Courtney: Lots of reasons. The bike tour itself is challenging; however, the event is well run and provides all the tools and support needed to succeed, no matter your cycling level. The MS Bike has a very welcoming and approachable environment, especially for people new to cycling like we were when we first rode. The team atmosphere and feeling of camaraderie and accomplishment while pushing on through the elements is highly rewarding. But most of all, everyone has a blast doing it!
From a fitness perspective, what advice would you give a first time rider?
Riley & Courtney: I would recommend using a road bike if available (although I’ve seen it completed on many mountain bikes, tandem bikes, and even a unicycle!). Go for a couple rides beforehand to practice and get comfortable with the bike and gears. The more you train, the easier the weekend will be. We recommend starting with shorter rides to build up your endurance before taking on the bike tour. You are also often biking with others and most vehicles you see are event vehicles or people honking in support, so it feels very safe as a first time rider.
In your opinion, what sets Johnson MS Bike apart from other cycling events?
Riley & Courtney: Without having too much firsthand knowledge of other events, we can’t emphasize enough how inviting the MS Bike is to newcomers as it is a large, very well organized event. The atmosphere at the bike tour is enthusiastic and there is a strong sense of togetherness and unity. It also provides a rewarding challenge for all levels of ability, which puts into perspective the daily difficulties of those living with MS. You hear stories from people with MS and are reminded of what you are working towards while cycling and fundraising.
What is your fondest memory from the event?
Riley & Courtney: It’s tradition for our group of friends to wait for each other and ride the last leg together. The feeling of accomplishment when crossing the finish line with friends to cheers from the crowd is incredible. And then of course, the final reward of biting into that well earned burger.
What would a cure for MS mean to you?
Riley & Courtney: Freedom.
The feeling of accomplishment experienced when crossing the finish line with friends to cheers from the crowd is incredible.
Riley and Courtney will be gearing up to end MS with 2000 other cyclists of all levels on June 10 & 11, 2017. If you would like to experience the excitement, challenge, and community that is Johnson MS Bike – Leduc to Camrose, or any MS Bike across Canada, register at msbike.ca today.