Over 500 bicyclists pedaled into Owatonna Tuesday as part of the Bike MS: Ride Across Minnesota fundraiser to fight Multiple Sclerosis. The cyclists have many reasons to ride. Some have MS, many know someone with the disease that effects the nervous system and many want to do a good deed for a good cause. The adventure and challenge are a bonus.

The city of Owatonna welcomed the stop with open arms, providing the Steele County Fairgrounds for a tent city and offering shuttling service around town after the bicyclists began arriving in the late morning after their Monday night stop in Northfield.

Participants and their families and supporters relaxed Tuesday evening at the Village of Yesteryear for food, beverage and entertainment. There were a number of singers, plus performances by Pillsbury Academy students.

The riders head to Waseca on Wednesday, taking back roads and going through numerous towns in what will be about a 60-mile trip. Thursday's journey ends in Mankato and Friday they finish in St. Peter, where they started their excursion Monday. Riders also had the option of a three-day trip, beginning in Owatonna Wednesday.

The fundraising goal is over $600,000. In a news release in June, Holly Anderson, President of National MS Society stated, "Bike MS: Ride Across Minnesota is an experience grounded in camaraderie that brings together cyclists of all levels for one reason - to create a world free of MS. Funds raised from this event support cutting-edge MS research as well as programs and services for people living with MS in this community." Approximately one million US citizens suffer from MS. The world-wide number is 2.3 million people.

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