South Hills quintet rides 100 miles in one day to raise funds for Arthritis Foundation
South Hills quintet Bikes to raise funds for Arthritis Foundation
Jeff Krakoff knows that exercise is an excellent way to maintain mobility for those with arthritis, and that riding a bicycle is a great non-impact activity for those who suffer from the joint disorder.
That is one of the reasons Krakoff, who has rheumatoid arthritis, and four of his friends from the South Hills completed a 106-mile ride Oct. 17 along the Great Allegheny Passage from Rockwood, near Somerset and the Maryland border, to Point State Park in Pittsburgh. The time to complete the ride was 10 hours, 29 minutes.
“We trained as a group and individually,” Krakoff, of Upper St. Clair, said. “We get out on bikes as much as possible.
Others on the ride were Scott Bowlin of Mt. Lebanon, Vic Walczak of Upper St. Clair, Craig Hoffman of Bethel Park and Pete Chiste of Peters Township, who has osteoarthritis mainly in a knee.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the lining of the joints, while osteoarthritis causes the cartilage that covers the end of the bones to break down.
“The more active I am, the better I feel,” Krakoff said.
The goal, other than spending a day with friends among the fall foliage, was to raise awareness of arthritis, and money for the Arthritis Foundation. To date, more than $5,000 has been raised.
Last fall, a group, including Chiste and Krakoff, rode from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., raising more then $6,000 in sponsorships. The difference was the ride was completed over five days and not just one.
“One hundred miles is a big challenge,” Krakoff said of the one-day ride. “Last year, we did 65 to 70 miles a day for five days.”
Fall is often a good time for the lengthy ride with the trees changing colors, even though the riders had to pay particular attention to wet leaves that could negatively impact stability. Fall is also the time of year that can wreak havoc on arthritic joints.
“The change in the seasons is tough,” Krakoff said. In the previous ride, he experienced severe pain in his wrist that he compared to a broken bone. On Oct. 17, he taped his wrists and used anti-inflammatory medication.
When asked why he takes on long bicycle rides to raise money for arthritis research, Krakoff said, “There are new drugs in the last decade called biologics” and he hopes funding for research will result in more breakthroughs.
“The older drugs used to just mask the pain,” he said.
Still recovering from the Oct. 17 ride, Krakoff was looking to the future.
“Next year is still open,” he said.
For more information or to donate, visit riverride100.com.