This is my forth year on the AIDS Lifecycle Ride.
This year, I am riding to challenge myself physically and mentally, to enjoy the beauty that is California, show my support for my brothers and sisters that have been subject to mistreatment because they are somehow viewed as different.
As part of the ride I am raising funds to support the important work of two AIDS charities. Additionally, I’m hoping my efforts in some small way will bring an awareness of the challenges being faced by our brothers and sisters who are afflicted by AIDS.
You can help by contributing to fundraising that supports the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
My AIDS Lifecycle Experience
At the start of the ride in 2016, I really had no idea what to expect. Would I be physically and mentally able to complete the ride? Would the long-hours of “seat-time” each day become unmanageable? Would I fit into the Lifecycle community that I had little experience with? Fortunately, my fears were simply “false expectations appearing real.” After the ride I wrote that, “I was welcomed into AIDS Lifecycle community which one of the most impressive loving communities that I have ever had the honor of being exposed to. People were loving, kind, caring and frankly working hard to create what could only be described as the "beloved community" described by MLK.”
At the start of the second ride in 2017, I thought I knew what to expect but was concerned about the stresses of the ride. Would my body and my bike hold up? Would I be repeating the same experiences or would I see the experience from fresh eyes. Much to my delight the ride was a new experience with lots of reminders of the previous experience. I came home refreshed and ready to go again....in part because of the sheer joy of being part of "Love Bubble" and in part knowing I was working hard to make the world just a little better. Frankly I was amazed how many people I remembered and how many people remembered me. I was also shocked by how much I remembered that just was not so. Hills and rest stops that were in the wrong place in my memory.
Getting ready for the 2018 ride. I was convinced all I had to do was keep up training and I would be ready. As luck would have it, fate intervened. First, the Thomas Fire visited tragedy on Ventura and Santa Barbara County on December 4th. Then, on January 1st if found myself in an emergency room with a pinched sciatic nerve. I struggled to recover fully for the 2018 ride. Getting back in form was a long hard journey that included a painful stops along the side of the road working out leg cramps. Fortunately, by ride-out I was physically ready. With the help of a friends (Robin, Estie Denise, Amy, and all the people who helped along the way) the ride was the best yet. I rode faster then in previous years and had more time to enjoy the community.
During each of the rides I've been reminded of the a song with the lines
Some people don't care if they live or they die.
Some people want to know what it feels like to fly.
Gather their courage and they give it a try.
Article V for Humanity
Some time ago, I happened to see a reference to the Article V of the NATO Treaty which states that, “an attack on one shall be considered an attack on all which requires a collective response.” It occurred to me that humanity needs to take the same approach in responding to an attack on any of our brothers and sisters.
Community and our collective humanity matters! It is not enough to simply offer our thoughts and prayers for our brothers and sisters who are afflicted by a virus, subject to bigotry, or hated because of ignorance. I believe, we are called to take real concrete action to help ensure that their well-being (medically, physically, and emotionally) is cared for. To accomplish this as a society we must provide support necessary to research the medical miracles that will relegate AIDS to a footnote in history; we must care for the needs of our impacted brothers and sisters: and finally we must seek to change hearts and minds to ensure that an attack on any brother or sister is considered an attack on the whole of society which requires a collective response.
A Little About The Ride
The route is as follows.
Day 1 - San Francisco to Santa Cruz - 82 Miles - along the California Coast
Day 2 - Santa Cruz to King City - 109 Miles - into the Solanas Valley with miles of flat farm roads and great tailwinds
Day 3 - King City to Paso Robles - 63 miles - over the hill thru Fort Hunter Ligget, and Camp Roberts in the heat
Day 4 - Paso Robles to Santa Maria - 91 Miles - over twin sisters back to the coast back to SLO and onto Santa Maria
Day 5 - Santa Maria to Lompoc - 43 Miles - Red dress day, more hills and past Vandenburg AFB
Day 6 - Lompoc to Ventura - 88 Miles - Hills in the morning, back to the coast, and finally the road home (my bed)
Day 7 - Ventura to Los Angeles - 62 Miles - Rolling hills along the coast, a hill, the city traffic, and a finish line.