75-year-old Lynchburg native rides in Jack & Back

Jack Evans
Lynchburg native Jack Evans, who now lives in Unionville, recently biked the 48 miles from Eagleville to Lynchburg to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. Evans is 75-years-old. (Photo Provided)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — It’s 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Lynchburg native and now Unionville resident Jack Evans steps onto a tour bus to head up to BBQ Hill at The Jack Daniel’s Distillery for a victory lap of sorts. This weekend, the 75-year-old biked the 48 miles from Eagleville to Lynchburg as part of the Bike MS annual fundraiser The Jack & Back. For someone who didn’t feel comfortable balancing on a bike just a couple of years ago, it’s quite the feat.

Jacks says a year ago while working outside in his barn, his long ignored bike sort of called to him.

“I know it sounds weird, but it’s like I heard it say, ride me,” he laughs.

So ride it, he did. He started out with slow, flat rides around his Bedford County home and eventually graduated to longer jaunts through some of southern, middle Tennessee’s gorgeous rolling hills.

In June, he got the idea to give the Jack & Back one more go. He’d ridden once previously in 1997. So he headed over to the sign up page and immediately started to fundraise. He set a goal of raising $500. He surpassed that goal and raised it to $1,000, which he also met. As of today, he raised around $1,100 for the MS Society.

Like most Bike MS events, most people who participate in the Jack & Back do so as part of a team. As a Lynchburg native without an established team, Jack decided to join the Jack Daniel’s Corporate Team filled with mostly executives from Louisville and Nashville. Their team raised over $31,000.

“They were nice folks, and seemed to really know what they were doing,” Jack says.

The 48-mile jaunt from Rutherford County to Moore County challenged the novice rider.

“I started out strong,” Jack says but when I got to the big hill on Highway 231Ward Hollow Road, I thought I was gonna have to give up.”

But he didn’t. He pushed through and about an hour later he crossed the finish line at the distillery to the cheers of his family. Jack says he’s already making plans for the 2024 ride.

“I’m going to start training earlier, and practice on some of these hills,” he joked.

Nearly $1 million raised locally

On The Hill, Jack enjoyed a celebration dinner with his team, and got to learn more about how the money he helped raise would be used.

 Associate Vice President of Bike MS Leah Weatherl explained to the crowd that the money raised goes toward research with an aim of curing the disease.

“I know we’re going to accomplish that,” Weatherl told the crowd. “We’ve learned more about Multiple Sclerosis in the past five years than we did in the previous 75. Let that sink in.”

The Jack & Back is an important part of that mission. This year marked year 29, and annually the Lynchburg ride is one of 15 rides that raises over $1 million dollars for the MS Society annually. The Bike to Jack & Back is the most recent ride to join the million dollar club.

As of last light, they were just a little over $50,000 from this year’s goal. There’s still time to support Jack and Bike MS. Click here to make a donation through Jack’s page or click here to make a donation on the Jack & Back donations link. •

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