* * * I have permission from the "Belleville Times" newspaper to copy word for word on my web page. The article you are about to read is from May 6, 1999 by Richard Dickon the editor. It is on page 25 in Sports Section. The article has been modified a bit.
'Big Mike' hitting road to benefit MS"
* If you see a smiling blur on a very fast bicycle pass you in the Belleville area this month, wave hello and wish him good luckon his latest adventure.
* On May 22nd and 23rd, "Big Mike" will be riding in the MS-50/170 Bike Tour with fourof his friends. For those of you who don't know who "Big Mikie" is, he's a 29-year-old cyclist who has lived all gut two of his years in the township.
* His big racing ability topped only by his big heart, Mike races several times a year to raise money in the battle against Multiple Sclerosis.
* This latest run will team Mike with three Belleville Police officers and his best friend, Lorenzo, for the eighth annal "Coast the Coast" Bike Tour, which beneifts the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, including its Mid-Jersey chapter.
* Close to 1,500 cyclists and more than 300 volunteers will participate in this event, which Mike describes, like all others, as "exciting."
* "With the help of generous people, I am hoping to make a difference in the lives of those who have MS," Mike said, "Any pledge amount offered will be greatly appreciated."
* This is the first time Mike has run as part of a team. Included in the "Belleville Bunch" are three Belleville Community Police bicycle officers: Paul, Stephen and Joe. The three are attacking the one day, 50 mile course, starting in Sandy Hook, going down to Walls Township and then back.
* Mike and his friend Lorenzo, are doing the two day, 170-mile course. That one goes from Sandy Hook on the first day and ends up at the US Coast Guard Station in Cape May on the second day.
* Having to raise $1,647.00 in May 1997 and $2,092.00 more in May 1998, he has set $2,000 as his 1999 goal.
* Recalling last year, Mike remembers his friend Lorenzo having doubts that he would finish the grueling course, but he made the whole 170 miles. As with other years, severalobstacles, from Mother Nature and beyond, threatened their resolve.
* "I had a problem with the Route 35 drawbridge, on the border of Point Pleasant Beach," he remembers, "I got a stomach ache after lunch and slowed down from the heat all on the first day.
* The second day, the two got caught in a thunderstorm, always a cyclist's enemy.
* In their travels, they met a fellow Bellevillite Bob McGough, from Sliver Lake District. Anyone wishing to take on a bike tour challenge can call North Jersey Newspaper (NJNP) at 973-667-2100 and leave name and phone number.
* To keep up with Mike's progress, visit his website on the World Wide Web at http://pages.prodigy.net/airwaves. For the Mid-Jersey Chatper, the address is http://www.mjcms.org. The National MS URL is http://nmss.org. Call 732-643-0010 for information on the Mid-Jersey Chapter bike tour.
* "Big Mike" will be back with his team for more tours later this year and beyond.
* MS is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervouse system.
* The progress, severity and specific symptoms of the disease cannot be predicted: symptoms may range from numbness to paralysis and blindness.
* Most people with MS are diagnosed between ages 20 and 40, but the unpredictable physical and emontional effects can last forever.
* The National MS Soceity is dedicated to endning the devasting effect of MS.