Gurganus rides to fight multiple sclerosis

Published 7:33 pm Monday, September 11, 2017

NEW BERN — Bath resident Polly Gurganus pedaled just over 75 miles between Saturday and Sunday. She, along with thousands of other cyclists registered for the Bike MS: Historic New Bern Ride, traversed windy routes to help raise money for MS research.

Gurganus has been doing this for 29 years. It was her fourth time participating in the New Bern iteration of the ride. It started as a challenge to see how far she could ride. She’s cycled from Monroe to Myrtle Beach. Over time, though, it evolved into a passion for helping the MS cause.

“It started because I like the bike ride. It was a challenge to think you could ride your bike to the beach,” she said. “I didn’t really know what it’s about. I knew it was an MS ride. On the first and second ride, I met people with MS that were riding bikes.

“This weekend, we had a lady in a wheelchair that stood and watched, cheering us in. They did an interview with her on TV asking her how much she appreciated it. MS is a terrible disease.”

It has inspired Gurganus to see so many people afflicted by MS continue to ride. Many of those that couldn’t would try to support in other ways.

Gurganus worked with Bank of America for 30 years. One of her coworkers had MS, and she became the office team’s Bike MS captain.

“Her husband rode with her. They had a tandem bike, so she wouldn’t have any trouble,” Garganus said. “I was really impressed with that. … I’ve been part of (Bank of America’s) team ever since.”

In all, the teams and individuals that participated over the weekend raised nearly $1.3 million for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, according to the event’s page on

As for the ride itself, Gurganus said the most challenging aspect was the wind whipping through the area.

“It wasn’t hot. It was chilly, but after you rode for 30 or 45 minutes, you were all right with it. You’re body was O.K.,” Gurganus said. “The wind was bad. It could almost blow you over.”

Gurganus lived in Charlotte in the past, but moved has since moved back home to Bath with her husband. She said she will continue to take part in these fundraisers “as long as the good Lord can will me to power my body to do it.”