BGSU cyclist to bike 4,000 miles for MS PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 11:38
Beth Langenderfer poses with the bike she will use to bike across the United States. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
You might say that Beth Langenderfer likes to keep things rolling.
An avid cyclist all her life, this summer she will embark on a nearly 4,000-mile trek across the United States to raise money for those suffering from multiple sclerosis.
"I'm most looking forward to what I'll learn on the ride," said Langenderfer, who is originally from Canton and a junior at Bowling Green State University majoring in middle childhood education, specializing in science and math.
Langenderfer came by her passion for cycling honestly - she began as a passenger, towed by her parents as a child in the specially-designed trailers cyclists use for their little ones.
She eventually graduated to two-wheels in her own right, and fully got into the cycling enthusiasm enjoyed by her family; they even restore old bikes.
While most of her regular bike rides are 25 to 50 miles - her favorite excursions are along the towpath in Canton, and down the Slippery Elm Trail here in Wood County - Langenderfer has already done some long-haul biking, participating in the Bikes for Tykes program at BGSU, which took her on a ride across the state of Ohio.
"Everyone told me that I would just be in so much pain," she said of the trip, but "I wanted it to go on forever."
Since undertaking that trip, Langenderfer wanted to do another, and researched the Bike the U.S. for MS group. The organization takes 10 to 15 riders on a trek from Virginia to California between June and August. The participants camp out during the trip and travel light, assisting those afflicted with MS in communities along the way.
As she considered whether or not to  take part, Langenderfer met two students while working with the National Student Leadership program last summer, both of whom had immediate family members with the disease. Langenderfer also has a cousin with MS.
"So I kind of took it as a sign that I think I'm going to do this bike ride. Everything just seemed to fall into place."
She is hoping to raise $3,785, which will be donated to the James Q. Miller Multiple Sclerosis Clinic in Charlottesville, Va. That figure is significant - it is the number of miles she'll be traveling over the two months.
Langenderfer is working to make sure she's in top form for the effort.
"Right now I'm running through the winter to get my endurance up," she said. She will be taking spin classes - an intense stationary bike exercise - at the BGSU Rec Center, and is involved with a cycling class and biking group at the Cycle Werks Bicycle Shop in Bowling Green. Langenderfer also plans to train with the BGSU Cycling Club.
"Other than that I'm going to get outside whenever I can and bike. That's my rough training schedule right now."
The fact that the group of cyclists will be spending their nights under the stars doesn't deter her, either.
"I absolutely love camping. I work for the Outdoor Programs at the university," she said, and has gone repelling, canoeing and whitewater rafting on trips through her job.
"I think it's going to be a big, eye-opening experience." The cyclists are only allowed to bring two small duffle bags on the trip, so she anticipates "living the simple life while helping people along the way and hearing people's stories."
"I think it will give me great understanding for life and others."

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