At age 80, Frank Roskelley will take part in the Best Dam Bike Ride event this Saturday, pedaling 150 miles to fight Multiple Sclerosis. It won’t be his first time down the track, however, as Roskelley has been riding the race since it started 25 years ago.
Roskelley, a retired Hill Air Force Base mechanic who had spent his days servicing C-130 transport planes, decided he needed a challenge in his late 50s and decided he was going to do the Bike MS loop that winds throughout Cache Valley and parts of Idaho. “People around would say ‘You’re too old to ride,’” recalls Roskelley, who was 56 at the time. “I’d say, 'Well, if you pledge the money, I’ll ride.'”
And he has been riding ever since, racing thousands of miles in his quarter century of conscientious pedaling and raising on average between $3,000-$5,000 in donations every year doing it.
Roskelley (pictured with all of the race shirts he’s collected through the years) says it’s kept him in shape. When asked about his favorite part of the ride, he jokes “I could be sarcastic and say ‘when it’s over.'
"But really it’s the sense of feeling you’re doing something that’s worthwhile. I’ve seen over the years at the first race maybe over a hundred or so riders who raised a small amount of money. Last year, we brought in over $1.5 million with almost 3,000 riders.”
Roskelley is nonchalant about the grueling feat he accomplishes every year, acknowledging he’s had good luck in having only one accident in the '90s, riding off the road to avoid a car that moved into his lane to pass another vehicle on a two-lane highway. “On a two lane highway when you see a car coming your way, you just get off the road,” Roskelley says.
How is it that Roskelley keeps coming back to a race that taxes the stamina of riders decades younger than him? He says he just keeps things in perspective.
“I've seen people with MS and they live with it every year,” Roskelley says. “I just have to put up with a bike ride a couple days a year.”
It’s not too late to sign up for the Best Dam Bike Ride going on this weekend, June 25-26. Racers need to register $50 in advance (or $60 the day of) and commit to a minimum $250 fundraising goal and can choose to ride 40, 75 or 100 miles of beautiful terrain winding through Cache Valley and parts of Idaho.
You can sign up in advance now at Bike MS Utah or register the day of at the at the Cache Valley Fairgrounds, 500 West 400 South, Logan.