Last year at this time, I was an embedded reporter with the AIDS/LifeCycle, celebrating it's 10 years of raising funds for HIV/AIDS-related services at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. It was an extraordinary event - tears, laughter, bad jokes, good food and tent-city living among a new family of choice. If not for the important June 5th Primaries, I'd be there again, shooting the 6:00am opening ceremonies and the kick off - as they did again this Sunday, June 3 at 6:45am heading for Santa Cruz.
Each person has a story - 2,225 riders and 550 volunteer roadies who are engaged mind, body and spirit in the grueling and exhilarating 545-mile bike ride - as well as the hundreds who welcome them through their towns and highways. This year, the riders have raised $12.6 million - though contributions are still welcomed!
"People ages 18 to 83 have come from nearly every state and a record 16 countries to be a part of the ride," Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, said in a press release. "They come from all different backgrounds and walks of life to form a wonderful community united by the common goal of fighting HIV. Recent medical advances have given us great hope for turning the tide in the fight against HIV, but the reality is that the epidemic is not over. That's why AIDS/LifeCycle is so important; it funds services that are critical to serving those living with HIV and to stopping the spread of the disease."
You can follow the riders at the aidslifecycle.org.