It seems somewhat melodramatic to say but riding my bike really has saved me. It saved me from going crazy four years ago in the summer of 2010 as my mother's health took a sharp down turn. Riding my bike was an escape where I had no responsibilities.
It has no doubt improved my health. When I started riding, I could barely do a couple miles at less than 10 mph. I just finished 11 miles at an average speed of 14 mph. When I'm not riding up a hill or into the #$@% wind (or both!), I can easily manage 17-20 mph.
I ride for a number of reasons and in 3 weeks, I'm going to be riding a lot of miles for a really good one - multiple sclerosis. This is not an abstract disease to me. It affects people I know and care about. I think about them as I ride and am thankful that I can ride for them.
I am still looking for contributions to my ride. You can go here
to see my personal page. It's a flat donation amount - not an amount per mile that I ride. If you feel uncomfortable donating online, email me at angelakarash at ifversen dot org.