Imagine riding your bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles, all for a good cause! That's exactly what AIDS/LifeCycle is. I actually found out about this ride a few months after I first moved to California. I lived in Pasadena and heard a lot of riders met at the Rose Bowl for Saturday morning rides. Since I didn't know anyone who rode here I went down to meet up with a group and it just happened to be a training group for the AIDS/LifeCycle ride. I rode with them that day and a few times as a guest. It didn't take long for them to convince me to sign up. I did the ride in the summer of 2009 and it is still to this day one of the top things I've done in California.
A little more about the ride itself...AIDS/LifeCycle is a charity event to raise money for HIV/AIDS services and raise HIV/AIDS awareness. Participants which include riders, roadies, and staff raise money through out the year. The tour includes up to 2,500 riders and 500 roadies or support crew participants. In the first week of June over 7 days, the riders cycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles with the support of the roadies and staff. For seven days, ALC passes through communities in California as a memorial to those who have died of AIDS and as an event to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. Each day of riding can range from 40-100+ miles. At the end of each day of riding, cyclists arrive in a camp to eat, shower, and rest before riding out again the next morning. The riding route is about 545 miles in total.
The purpose of the ride is to raise awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS among participants, their donors, and the general public. The ride is done because the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center agencies need funding to provide the critical services and education needed to meet the growing needs of the community.
For me, the ride was fun, rewarding, challenging, and at times daunting. If you don't know anyone, it's easy to make friends. Everyone is happy, supportive, and there to have a good time. It's a great way to see California, especially scenic HWY 1. My favorite portion of the ride was riding from Ventura to LA going through Malibu along the coast. It was an experience that I will always remember. I hope to come back to California to do it again one day.
In the meantime, anyone can get involved, as a rider, roadie, or just through donations. The ride kicked off this morning in SF and will be rolling into LA next Saturday. Check out the website to see how you can help and be apart of a great cause!