AIDS LifeCycle and Me (and you)

Posted on 05/14/2008. Filed under: AIDS LifeCycle, San Francisco AIDS Foundation |

by SFBOB

PhotobucketTop of Quadbuster! (huge thanks to Brian Hodes for the picture–www.gr8shots.com)

Seventeen days from now, at 6:30 in the morning, I’ll be getting on my bicycle and heading from San Francisco to Los Angeles on AIDS/LifeCycle 7.

AIDS/LifeCycle is the largest single AIDS fundraising event in the world; last year it raised over $11 million for San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center’s Jeffrey Goodman Clinic, for direct services to people living with HIV and AIDS. The important stuff is right here:

My AIDS/LifeCycle Homepage but there’s more.

My homepage includes more information about me and the people in whose memories I ride, as well as a training blog and links to numerous (and I do mean numerous) photos from previous years as well as from training rides. But let me give you some background here.

Back in 1994 the LA Gay and Lesbian Center contracted with Pallotta Teamworks, a for-profit company, to produce a fundraiser for their recently-created AIDS service clinic. The following year, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation signed on as an additional beneficiary of the event. Participants registered to raise money for one entity or the other; folks from LA generally rode for the Center, folks from the Bay Area (who soon became the larger contingent) generally raised funds for the Foundation. After the eight California rides (and other AIDS Rides in various locations), the beneficiaries found it necessary to sever their ties with the original production company due to excessive overhead costs. The other Pallotta-produced events all failed the following year and Pallotta Teamworks declared bankruptcy. Everywhere outside of California, the larger events broke down into smaller, shorter ones, but we kept our original format, with the beneficiaries producing the event on their own. I rode in California AIDS Rides 6, 7 and 8, which is how I come to be a participant in my ninth ride (I sat out 2002, which saw the final AIDS Rides and the first AIDS/LifeCycle).

Why would anyone be so silly as to ride a bike 545 miles in a week? Everyone who participates has their reasons but HIV and AIDS affect me in deeply personal ways. I tested positive for HIV in 1985 and, two years later, was able to ascertain that I’d been positive since no later than early 1981 (I’m fairly sure that I was infected in December of 1980). From 1983 onwards I have lost over 160 friends, co-workers, neighbors, and acquaintances to AIDS, including two partners.

As a San Franciscan in good standing, I raise funds for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Not everyone loves the Foundation, but without it, things would just be worse. I’ll give you a link to their website, http://www.sfaf.org just so you can see what they actually do. And, lest there’s any concern that overhead on this event is too high, last year, 68% of the funds raised were used to provide actual services to those in need of them.

Last year’s ride had 2,330 riders, this year’s will be larger. Last year, I raised $6,123; this year I am to raise more than that. I’ll ride as long as I can, or until there’s a cure.

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