6 Tips to Prepare for rideATAXIA, the Big Bike Ride

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by Christina Cordaro |

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Sweaty palms, excitement, hope, and motivation — I’m preparing to be in position at the starting line at the rideATAXIA Philly event.

The annual bike ride takes place in Southern California, Northern California, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Orlando.

This fundraising event seeks to empower local communities to organize neighborhood bike rides and to raise funds for the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance‘s mission to treat and cure FA through research. In the spirit of rideATAXIA, these grassroots rides include participants of all abilities. Each ride is followed by a gathering to celebrate the camaraderie that drives us toward the ultimate finish line: a cure for Friedreich’s ataxia (FA).

Riders can choose from multiple route lengths, from 2 to 50 miles, and participants are provided with delicious food sponsored by Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Outback Steakhouse.

Every year, my family, my fiancé Justin, my friends, and I participate in rideATAXIA Philly because it is the closest location to us. This year it will be held on Sunday, Oct. 14. We have created our own Team Christina: the Purple Crusaders. It is a team made up of FAmily and friends, all with the same goal: to cure Friedreich’s ataxia. Riders on our team ride 8, 25, or 50 miles. For the past few years, I have been riding 8 miles on my Catrike Villager recumbent trike.

Following are my tips to prepare in the week leading up to the event:

  1. Get plenty of rest. Working full-time and trying to lead a “normal life” can be exhausting at times. Going to bed a few minutes earlier than usual will leave your body well rested.
  2. Get a few practice rides in. By doing this, the long-distance ride on event day will not hit you as hard. I’m planning my wedding at the moment, so I could get in only one ride this weekend. I hope I will be OK.
  3. Plan ahead. The event can be a long, emotional day, especially if you are traveling from afar. Make sure to plan ahead by bringing or renting (if you’re traveling) medical assistance devices. I will be using my rollator for the first time because there is a lot of walking around to meet other FA members and to get food. It’s all set up under a tent in an open field, so I am excited to be at ease with my rollator.

Following are some tips for myself to reconcile the day of the ride:

  1. Wear proper riding shoes. I recently bought myself a pair of Bontrager Women’s Mountain Shoes at a local bike shop to ride my Catrike, and they work wonders! They help keep my feet secure and legs stable because the shoes lock into the pedals while riding.
  2. Be your best self. Be sure to eat a nutritious breakfast and stay hydrated before, during, and after the ride. You don’t want to be disappointed in what you can or can’t do.
  3. Keep in mind it’s not a race — and make sure to have fun! Riding any distance is a huge accomplishment, and you should be proud of yourself.

These six pointers are good reminders to myself that it’s important to conserve my energy and to rest so that I’m mentally and physically prepared for the big day. This fun and inspiring event brings the FA Community together from all over the country. More than 2,000 participants take part in rideATAXIA, and the event raises more than $1 million annually. Together we will cure FA!


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


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