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Alexandria hosts 21st annual TRAM ride

Alexandria is the host city of the 21st annual Bike MS: Star Tribune The Ride Across Minnesota (TRAM) Ride 2010, set for July 25-30.

The six-day, 300-mile bicycle tour, coordinated by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Minnesota Chapter, is expected to attract 1,100 participants and a few hundred volunteers, friends and family members.

This event was born out of the recognition that cycling is one of the most popular recreational activities in the U.S., and is an ideal way to see and appreciate the natural beauty of our surroundings.

In 1990, its first year, TRAM attracted 800 bicyclists who raised $180,000. In 2009, nearly 900 cyclists raised nearly $900,000. This year, organizers are hoping to exceed the $900,000 mark to benefit the nearly 10,000 people living with MS in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Money raised by TRAM is used to support research to find the cause of and cure for MS and support programs that enhance the quality of life for people who have multiple sclerosis and their families.

Bikers will gather Sunday, June 25 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Alexandria, embark on the ride Monday morning and tour the Central Lakes Region of Minnesota, and then ride back into Alexandria on Friday, July 30.

Profile of the ride

Each cyclist pays a registration fee of $25 to $75 and secures a minimum of $300 in pledges to participate in the event. Five communities in Minnesota serve as host towns and provide entertainment, camping and food. This year's host towns include Alexandria, Little Falls, Pequot Lakes, Wadena and Fergus Falls.

The National MS Society, Minnesota Chapter provides transportation of bikes and luggage, shower facilities, fully stocked rest stops, a finish-line dinner and a T-shirt.

Route support includes signs and maps, portable toilets, intersection safety, support vans, motorcycle escorts, first aid and bike mechanics.

For more information, visit the website