Yes, I am doing a 645-mile ride via bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles June 6-13, but I am not an avid cyclist. I am just a girl with a bike, a bike and no car. I have a good, but old and rusted road bike that I bought to get me around town. It is fitted to my height and it is light, but it is not the bike anyone would go buy to do a 645-mile ride. I do not own any cycling gear and I don’t plan on buying it. I love riding my bike as a means of transportation, but I do not plan on becoming someone that regularly goes on 65-mile rides for fun. I don’t want to have shoes that clip in to the pedals because will I then need to wear those shoes to go to yoga or to the farmer’s marker? I don’t have pants with a padded seat. I don’t have riding shirts with the pockets in the back. I have a rack mounted to the back of my bike with bags that clip in and out to carry my groceries and more. I can take these off, but I like them. I don't even have the squeezy water bottles because the are made with plastics that leach, so a have a sigg bottle with a twist off top and a glass bottle in my side bag. Getting the proper gear and removing my heavy bags will make my rides more comfortable and a lot easier, but I don’t want to spend more money that I don’t have on gear just for these 7 days, even if it will make my life easier. As, for my sidebags, I don’t want to take them off either. This ride is fully supported with food and drinks along the way, but it is not what I choose to put into my body. So, I will be taking along all sorts of raw and amazing superfoods (that will keep for a week un-refridgerated) to nourish myself along the way. I want my body re-acting at it’s best!
This past Sunday was LA’s Day on the Ride, a ride with 300 of the cyclists that are signed up for Aids Life Cycle 9. It was a prep day, just like what the real ride will be. There were sweep teams driving the route in cars, to look for people that needed help. There were hydrating stands with food and drink and a catered lunch stop, as well. This ride, like the week in June, is along major streets, obeying traffic signs and signals. No roads are shut down just for us. We must ride single file and stop at all stop signs and lights. The people participating in Aids Life Cycle vary in ages, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. They are not all super cyclists and the ones that are, got into it because of Aids Life Cycle. Everyone is doing it for the cause (although, everyone else did have a new bike and biker gear (shoes, shirts, pants, gloves)).
I showed up to meet this varied group in Santa Monica, sporting an old pair of running shoes and my Lululemon (unpadded butt) yoga gear. I kept my bags on my bike and even had them loaded with a glass water bottle and a glass Tupperware container of food for lunch, so I had added about 15-20 lbs. of extra weight to my bike. People were totally shocked that I was doing the ride, “you are doing this? Like that?” And I just smiled and giggled and was like yeah, whatever, It will be all good.
They gathered us all together before we took off to greet us and remind us of what an amazing thing we are up to. I was so moved. I got tears in my eyes. This is not about me. It is not about what gear I have. It is not about what bike I am on. It doesn’t matter how much bicycling experience I have. I am doing this to put an end to HIV/AIDS.
In California alone there are 151,000 people living with HIV. . The costs associated with medical care and treatment for a person with HIV is about $20,000 per year. Access to life-saving drugs, clinical trials and state-of-the-art treatment helps those with the disease live a longer and better quality of life. AIDS/LifeCycle will help those living with HIV/AIDS gain greater independence and get the treatment and care they need. Prevention services geared towards high-risk populations will ensure that future generations will not experience the same level of loss that we have faced in the last two decades.
I am just so moved and inspired as to what this group is up to. We are not in a competition. We are not trying to prove how physically fit we are. We are doing this to raise money and awareness toward our fellow people that are suffering with AIDS.
All along the ride, tears would come to my eyes as I was inspired by what this group of people is doing. We are making a difference, a huge difference and so is each one of you that is spreading the word and donating anything that you can.