Blind cyclist to ride in Bike to the Bay Sept. 20-21 to support MS

August 25, 2014
This year’s Bike to the Bay will be Richard Nenno’s, left, 7th year participating in the ride with his tandem bike partner, Rob Collins, right. BY SUBMITTED PHOTO

For Delaware trust attorney Richard Nenno, riding in the Bike to the Bay event in support of a cure for multiple sclerosis is very personal. Nenno’s mother had MS, and this event became a way for him to support MS research, programs, and services, despite the fact that he is legally blind.

This year’s Bike to the Bay, set for Sept. 20-21 and organized by the Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, will be Nenno’s 17th year participating in the ride with his tandem bike partner, Rob Collins.

The two men met in 1982 at Wilmington Trust, a wealth and investment management firm headquartered in Delaware, where they still work. Nenno and Collins also both live in Swarthmore, Pa. In 1995, Collins bought a tandem bicycle, and Nenno suggested they try to ride it together. They’ve been riding as a team ever since.

Collins rides in front as the “captain,” and Nenno takes the back seat as the “stoker.” As with most teams, communication is a key component to their success. “We make sure to communicate when he’s starting to pedal, when we’re stopping, or when we’re turning,” said Nenno.

Nenno has been the top fundraiser for Bike to Bay for 12 years, raising more than $218,000. He attributes his fundraising success to letters he distributes to friends and colleagues before and after each Bike to the Bay ride. In these letters, Nenno writes candidly about why it is important to him and others to find the cure for MS, as well as sharing his Bike to the Bay experiences.

Each year, Nenno and Collins bike 75 miles to Delaware Seashore State Park, which lies just south of Dewey Beach. The next day, they turn around and ride the 75 miles back to the starting point. For those not up to the 150-mile trek or perhaps needing more of a challenge, there are route options for cyclists of every level, ranging from 17 to 175 miles. All participants travel through Delaware’s coastal towns and enjoy good music, great food, and relaxing massages at the end of each day.

The 2014 Bike to the Bay marks the 31st year the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Delaware Chapter has hosted the two-day bike ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis. Bike to the Bay is the largest and longest-running two-day bike ride in Delaware. The goal is to increase multiple sclerosis awareness and raise $1 million to support national multiple sclerosis research, and programs and services needed by more than 1,550 Delawareans with MS.

Bike to the Bay attracts more than 1,500 cyclists riding to support Delawareans with multiple sclerosis, as well as enjoying the personal accomplishment and camaraderie of the event.

To register to ride or volunteer at Bike to the Bay, go to or call 302-655-5610, Ext. 2.