NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Thousands of cyclists took part in the 28th annual Bike MS charity bike race.

About 5,000 participants on two wheels rode to raise money and awareness for multiple sclerosis.

Some volunteers who watched the race said they are overwhelmed by the hard work the riders put in to training for the event.

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports from the race

“We have MS and there’s so many people here who are willing to work with us and volunteer to ride for us when we can’t ride for ourselves,” Bronx resident Debbie Cain told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller before the race.

The race went on 30, 55 or 100 miles long, depending on the rider’s endurance.

One rider speaking before the race said it’s all about pacing yourself.

“After you’ve done about 20 kilometers you just keep going and going. You just keep moving the legs, you just kind of say ‘oh, there’s the end! I finally made it,'” said Toronto resident Kelly, who planned to bike the 100-mile stretch of the race.

EXTRA: Check Traffic Before You Go

Organizers said the bikers challenge themselves mentally and physically to raise money to fight the disease that attacks the central nervous system.

“It’s really to support people and say, ‘you have challenges in your daily living and we’re riding for you.’ And we actually have people with MS who are riding today,” National MS Society spokeswoman Liz Samurovich told Miller.

The bicycles got a car-free ride on some major roads in Manhattan due to some road closures. The FDR-Harlem River Drive and the West Side Highway both reopened at 9 a.m. and the north entrance of the Holland Tunnel was closed intermittently earlier this morning but has since reopened.

The race started and ended at the West Side Highway near pier 92/94.

The race was expected to raise about $2 million, organizers said.

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