84-Year-Old Bikes 150 Miles for MS


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Lan Yin Tsai is not your typical long-distance cyclist. At New Jersey’s recent City to Shore 150-mile ride for MS, the 84-year-old Tsai completed the distance with a style all her own. Forget the Lance Armstrong-style spandex, clip-on bike shoes and fancy road bike with multiple gears. Tsai prefers simplicity, riding her one-speed bike in a dress and high heels.


Just as she has done for the last 26 years, Tsai rode her purple bike with a wire basket in front earlier this month to help raise awareness for multiple sclerosis. She sat tall and proud in a green turtleneck dress, embroidered jacket and high-heeled pumps. “I went to church, so I always dressed up and would ride my bicycle,” she told CNN. “So that’s why I do it that way — I do it that way naturally. That’s the way I ride my bike.”


Every year, the National MS Society holds 100 different fundraising rides across the country to gather support to help fight this disease. In an economic period where volunteering and donations are down for many charities, Tsai vows to continue her efforts. “I always try to tell people, whatever you can do, keep doing it, keep doing it. And that’s why I do MS. When I start something, I don’t want to just quit.”


Tsai’s grandson, Alan Sim also participated in the ride with her. Even though his grandmother is usually last, Sim, along with many other cyclists, wait hours for her to cross the finish line. “She’ll just ride in, and people are cheering, taking pictures, asking for autographs,” says Sim. “It’s like being with a celebrity.”


When she’s not out riding, Tsai practices the art of shiatsu massage on MS patients. She plans to continue her business and her riding for as long as she can. Determination, guts and commitment — it’s no wonder she’s known as the “superstar of the ride.” Plus, she offers the best motivation of all to her grandson. “I have the most pressure out of anyone on the tour,” says Sim. “I know I can’t quit, because my grandmother’s behind me somewhere!”


Want to ride with Tsai next year?