The New England Parkinson’s ride was created by the Woods family in the Summer of 2008 after Chris Woods, an avid cyclist, was diagnosed with PD at the age of 41. He was a regular at the annual Diabetes and MS rides, but his family found that there was no benefit ride for Parkinson’s research in the US, so they started their own. The first year only drew only 35 riders but as of last year, it grew to 800+ cyclists (from 19 states & 3 Canadian provinces) and 200+ volunteers. In 2015 alone, it raised $547,000 and the cumulative total since the rides inception has now surpassed $2 million. For two years in a row it has been the largest independent single-day fundraising member event for Team Fox in the history of the Michael J Fox Foundation.
Last year Rachel and I wanted to take part in the New England Parkinson’s Ride but couldn’t due to a schedule conflict. This year, we had been thinking we wanted to sign up for a century ride soon after we finished our tour, and the timing worked out perfectly! We started the day with a large group of cyclists and despite my best efforts, I took my turn at the front of the pack several times. The group slowly dwindled, typically losing a few riders at every refuel station, but we (Rachel & I) always tried to get started again with everyone else. The time flew by and we were surprised to see we were already 65 miles in at a particular rest stop. After that point, though, the group disbanded almost completely and we carried on with only a small handful of people. At the end, it was Rachel, myself and another rider, named John, who remained loyal and helped us finish with a great average pace. We shared some great stories and got to know John a little bit during the ride, but never exchanged info afterwards because he rode back on the course to meet up with his girlfriend who was riding the 50mile route. Maybe we will meet up with him again next year 🙂
We lucked out with great weather, and really enjoyed the route. There were some beautiful sections along the coast, as well as through some nice little towns and quiet back roads. It was so great to be involved in such a successful fundraiser for a charity that we love to support.