on existing ones.” Along the way, Speyer and
Cowan became friends.
© DOUG CHARNOK/CENTURY CYCLES
“I learned that MS is a mysterious disease that is
sometimes diagnosed when people are young and
active,” says Speyer. “So we wanted to help.”
Scott Cowan, center, riding
with friends Jerry Bradnan
(r) and Kevin Madzin (l).
“All kinds of people participate and those who
don’t ride cheer us on along the route,” he says. “It’s
great when I am struggling up a hill, finally reach
the top, and then see a bunch of smiling faces.” In
the time Cowan has been with the team, it’s raised
$23,500 and grown from six to 28 members. The
Bay Rockets now rank No. 1 in fundraising in the
school team category.
Speyer and Cowan worked together to establish an
incentive program. Anyone who signed up for a
local Bike MS event and purchased a Raleigh road
bike from Century would receive a donation toward
the event equal to 10 percent of the bike’s cost. For
instance, if someone bought an $800 bike, the two
companies would split the cost of an $80 donation.
But Cowan’s team isn’t the only one boasting a
Century Cycles employee. Bob Soroky, who works
in Century’s Medina, Ohio, store, has ridden
individually in Bike MS events for 15 years and
has even trained other riders. In 2009, he joined
Patti’s Paladins, helping the team to raise more than
However, Raleigh knew that to sustain the alliance
it would need to go national. “Scott and Century
were the first to put together this type of program,
and it served as a prototype for other markets,”
Speyer says. So Raleigh reached out to bike stores
across the U.S. for ground support. “We began
offering incentive programs to each of them,” says
Speyer. “We have 10 on board now and hope for 40
A big break
Meanwhile, Raleigh Bicycles, one of the largest
bike makers in the United States, was seeking
a community-based opportunity to give back.
“We started looking into dealers we were already
associated with and found that the majority of them
were also associated with Bike MS,” says Chris
Speyer, vice president of marketing and product
development at Raleigh.
Speyer couldn’t help but get caught up in the
excitement. “I wanted to experience the atmosphere
of Bike MS,” he says. So he began riding in Bike
MS events with Cowan and others. “It’s a ton of fun
and a great feeling of community. The directions are
clear and easy. No one has to push farther than they
want. And there are important oases along the way,
like the feeding stations,” he says, laughing.
“Working toward something you really care about
affects your work positively,” Speyer adds. “We’re
looking forward to a long ride together.”
Cowan had served since 2005 as a member of
Raleigh’s Dealer Advisory Board, which, Speyer
says, is a kind of “sounding board for the company
about our new ideas, and it offers ideas to improve
For more information about Bike MS events
and Raleigh-Bike MS partnerships, visit
Patricia Wadsley is a New York–based writer and regular
contributor to Momentum.