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Bike MS Tour de Farms moving to Kane County

June 2, 2018 GMT

After being hosted in the city of DeKalb for more than a decade, the annual Bike MS Tour de Farms will relocate to the Kane County Fairgrounds in an attempt to increase attendance, according to county officials.

In years past, about 2,000 riders have participated in the two-day charity bike ride to raise money to fight multiple sclerosis, a nervous system disease affecting the brain and spinal cord. In 2016, more than 1,500 riders were reported to have been involved, but in 2017, 1,200 riders signed up ahead of the event.

Northern Illinois University athletics associate director John Cheney said that although the National MS Society wanted to make a push for attendees, the relationship with DeKalb County is still amicable. The organization even asked to reserve a date in DeKalb in case Kane County plans fell through.

“There’s no ill will either way,” Cheney said.

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Debbie Armstrong, executive director of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau said a change like this can happen with nonprofit organizations and ultimately their decision can be based on factors that a host community can not control.

“The feedback that we have always received from this group was that they were very pleased with the services and hospitality that DeKalb County has always provided,” Armstrong said in an email.

She said that one factor that might have affected attendance was a change in the date from the third week in June in years past to June 10 and 11 last year.

Dawn Carlson of Kirkland, who volunteered with the ride for six years by hosting the first rest stop along the route, said she still plans to be involved by hosting a petting farm and other agriculture-related education exhibits at the Kane County Fairgrounds.

“Change is good. The change was made to encourage new riders and to challenge the riders that have been on the DeKalb County route previously,” Carlson said. “I am sad that I will not be hosting a rest stop at my ‘little piece of farming heaven,’ but I am sure that this year will be as well received as other years.”

For information on Bike MS, visit the National MS Society website.