Thank you for your interest in AIDS Lifecycle!
I'm returning for a second year of riding to continue the fight to end HIV/AIDS. Last year's experience was incredible - the excitement of ever longer training rides, the bonding with my team, the nervousness as the ride out date approached, and then the experience of the ride itself.
No amount of training truly prepares you for 7 days on the road. The early, early mornings, the setting up and tearing down of camp, the lines, the soreness, the physical and emotional exhaustion that is part of the ride.
Riding through small towns in California we were constantly reminded of the toll of this terrible disease. Reminded by the people who came to the side of the road bearing oictures of loved ones lost to HIV/AIDS - sons, brothers, fathers, lovers. Holding signs thanking us for riding, for givnig them access to their medications, for being a connection to all those lost. Reminded by the 2000 rider strong candle vigil held on the beach in Ventura in memory of tose who are no longer here.
Having lived through the earliest stages of the epidemic I tried to provide context to my team of 19 riders, mostly under 30 years old - if we had all been gay men living in San Fracisco in the early '80's, 6 or 7 of us would not have survived. Fully 30% of us. Think about that when you are out with a large group of your friends - 30% of your group would no longer be with you. That was the reality in San Francisco and other major cities at that time - 30% of the gay male population became sick and died. Rapidly and with little to no support. Just...gone.
Each year I ride in memory of a firend that is no longer here. This year I ride in memory of an incredibley talented, artistic and generous friend. A fundraiser at the Rockerfeller Foundation in New York, he had previously been married and was the father of twin girls. His coming out in the late 70's did not go smoothly and on his divorce he was given only limited access to his children due to his ex-wife's religious beliefs. After his AIDS diagnosis in 1985 he was refused all access to his girls and passed away the following year without ever seeing them again. I will continue to fight the stigma associated with HIV/AIDs and ride this year for my dear friend Charlie.
I am asking you to support my ride by making a small (or large) donation. Not for me, not even for yourself, but for the ones we love that have passed, the ones we love that are still living with this disease, and for the people that most need the services provided by the San Francisco Aids Foundation and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. Together we can all make a difference.