Cyclists prepare for Tour

Published 12:08 am Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kristin and Don Byars are avid cyclists who participate in several cycling events each year, but a couple of those events are extra special.

They participate in the Bike MS benefit on the Eastern Shore every year in honor of a friend who has multiple sclerosis. And a couple of years ago, they also started doing the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure when it moved to Suffolk.

“We do a lot of other events, but these are the two we do that are fundraising rides,” Kristin Byars said.

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Like the MS ride, the diabetes fundraiser also has special meaning for their family and friends. Byars’ niece was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes before she had reached her second birthday. And a friend of theirs had a son who died at a young age because of complications from diabetes.

Kristin Byars said they enjoy the Suffolk ride for a number of reasons, besides just helping out a good cause that is special to them.

They live close enough to King’s Fork High School, the starting and finishing point, that they can ride their bikes there. They like the organization of the ride and enjoy the back roads, where they typically ride, anyway.

Both of the Byarses do the 100-mile route at the Tour de Cure, which, she said, is “really not that bad” for people who have trained for it.

“It sounds a lot worse than it is,” she said. “Some people are doing a higher cadence, so they’re finishing quicker. But for the average person trying to take it on, doing a low cadence and stopping for breaks, I tell people, ‘You can do anything until the next rest stop, and next thing you know, you’re done.’”

She said the hardest part of any charity ride is actually raising money, which is why they limit themselves to two charity events per year. With their hectic lives — she’s a stay-at-home mom and he’s an emergency physician — it can be hard to fit in fundraising.

But it’s for a good cause, she added.

“It’s definitely a good event,” she said. “I enjoy it.”

This year’s Tour de Cure will once again leave from King’s Fork High School on April 26 and take more than 1,000 riders on one of four routes throughout the city — 10, 30, 65 or 100 miles.

Participation requires a $25 registration fee and $200 fundraising minimum. Participants can form teams or ride as individuals, and all that’s required is a bicycle and helmet.

For more information on Tour de Cure, visit www.diabetes.org/hamptonroadsvatour or call Amie Holman at 424-6662 ext. 3276.