Registration open for 2016 BP MS 150 bike ride

Riders make their way down FM969 past some flowers during the BP MS 150 bike ride in this 2013 file photo. (Austin American-Statesman / Rodolfo Gonzalez)

Riders make their way down FM969 past some flowers during the BP MS 150 bike ride in this 2013 file photo. (Austin American-Statesman / Rodolfo Gonzalez)

Want to pedal your bike from Houston all the way to Austin next spring?

Registration has opened for the 2016 BP MS 150. The two-day ride, a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is scheduled for April 16-17.

The ride resembles a rolling party, with a nearly non-stop stream of cyclists pedaling for a good cause. When I rode a few years ago, I spotted folks in costume, bikes equipped with boom boxes blaring music, and one fluffy white dog who rode in a handlebar carrier.

Babs Thomas, of Georgetown, who has muscular dystrophy, looks across the finish line searching for her husband and daughter, who rode in this 2013 BP MS 150 ride. (Austin American-Statesman / Rodolfo Gonzalez)

Babs Thomas, of Georgetown, who has muscular dystrophy, looks across the finish line searching for her husband and daughter, who rode in this 2013 BP MS 150 ride. (Austin American-Statesman / Rodolfo Gonzalez)

More than 2.3 million people around the world have multiple sclerosis, which affects the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. More than twice as many women than men are diagnosed with the disease; most are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.

Travis Parker, 31, of League City, runs towards the finish line carrying his damaged bike during the BP MS 150 in this file photo. (Austin American-Statesman / Rodolfo Gonzalez)

Travis Parker, 31, of League City, runs towards the finish line carrying his damaged bike during the BP MS 150 in this file photo. (Austin American-Statesman / Rodolfo Gonzalez)

The first day of last year’s ride was cancelled due to rain and mud at the overnight camping spot in LaGrange. Still, they raised more than $20.3 million. Over the ride’s 31-year history, the event has raised more than $224 million. Proceeds fund research, programs and services for those living with MS.

This year’s event is expected to draw nearly 13,000 cyclists who, hopefully, will remain dry. Participants must raise at least $400, but the average rider contributes more than $1,200.

BP America has been title sponsor of the ride since 2001. Earlier this year it renewed its sponsorship for another three years.

To register for the 2016 ride, go here.

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