AIDS/LifeCycle 8 to Raise $10+ Million to Fight AIDS
2,200 cyclists to start San Francisco-to-Los Angeles ride May 31
SAN FRANCISCO and LOS ANGELES, May 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —
More than 2,200 bicyclists from 41 states and 14 nations will stream
out of San Francisco on May 31 en route to Los Angeles as participants
in the colorful and emotional AIDS/LifeCycle, the world’s largest
annual AIDS fundraiser.
The 545-mile trek is expected to raise more than $10 million to
support vital HIV/AIDS-related services at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian
Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The event also raises
awareness about the disease, particularly significant this year
following a recent survey revealing a dramatic drop in the sense of
urgency about HIV/AIDS and persistent misconceptions about HIV
transmission and treatment among Americans.
Participants on the weeklong ride include cyclists and a volunteer
support crew of hundreds of “roadies” who range in age from 18 to 78.
Whether gay or straight, HIV-positive or HIV-negative, expert cyclists
or novices, they share a commitment to reducing new infections and the
suffering caused by AIDS.
“People come to AIDS/LifeCycle to fight a disease,” said Mark
Cloutier, CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and one of the
cyclists. “But the event is also a celebration of health. Participants
have the physical strength to complete a challenging course, and the
emotional connectedness to help others succeed on an exhausting, yet
Riders train for months to prepare for the rigorous ride, and raise
a minimum of $3,000 each to support the work of the two sponsoring
organizations. The event has raised approximately $50 million to fight
AIDS since it began in 2002.
“The economic recession has deeply impacted HIV/AIDS service
providers on all fronts. Charitable giving and government funding of
HIV/AIDS support services are dropping while the number of people who
need free or low-cost services is going up,” said Lorri L. Jean, CEO of
the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. “Our participants and their
supporters recognize the urgent need for HIV prevention. I’m proud of
the AIDS/LifeCycle community, and I’m deeply grateful.”
During the seven days of AIDS/LifeCycle, an estimated 1,080
Americans will become infected with HIV. There are 1.1 million
Americans living with HIV — the highest number in the history of the
epidemic — 1 in 6 of whom are Californians. Gay and bisexual men bear
the brunt of the disease, representing 73 percent of all HIV/AIDS cases
in California and 53 percent nationally. Communities of color are also
disproportionately affected; although African Americans comprise 6
percent of the state’s population, they account for nearly 19 percent
of those living with HIV/AIDS.
FACTS AND VISUALS:
— As they make their way through eight California counties, the cyclists
collectively consume 420 gallons of coffee, 6,200 pounds of vegetables
and 5,400 Pop Tarts. But they likely end up somewhat lighter,
according to event organizers, because a 170-pound cyclist burns an
average of 3,410 calories a day during AIDS/LifeCycle.
— Each day of the ride, 500 roadies set up and break down tents,
kitchens, and mobile bathroom and shower facilities. They provide
riders with directional signage, first aid and bicycle repair
services. They serve snacks to weary riders at rest stops and ensure a
steady stream of entertainment by flamboyantly costumed performers.
And they drive “sag wagons” that scoop up riders whose energy runs out
before the road does.
— Many riders stop at hills to cheer on other cyclists. They’re often
joined by locals, who turn out at many points along the route to
applaud, offer refreshments, and hold signs bearing the names of loved
ones lost to AIDS.
Beginning June 1, event photos and journals can be viewed at http://experience.aidslifecycle.org/. Additional information can be found at: www.aidslifecycle.org/press-room/.
DETAILS OF THE RIDE:
The route of the ride and the location of overnight campsites are as follows:
— Sunday, May 31: Opening Ceremony at the Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave.,
Daly City. Ride 79.4 miles to Santa Cruz and camp at Harvey West
Park, 326 Evergreen Street.
— Monday, June 1: Ride 107.6 miles to King City and camp at San Lorenzo
County Park, 1160 Broadway.
— Tuesday, June 2: Ride 63.4 miles to Paso Robles and camp at the
Mid-State Fairgrounds, 2198 Riverside Avenue.
— Wednesday, June 3: Ride 94.1 miles to Santa Maria and camp at Preisker
Park, 2301 Preisker Lane.
— Thursday, June 4: Ride 67.7 miles to Lompoc and camp at River Park,
Sweeney Road & Highway 246.
— Friday, June 5: Ride 85.5 miles to Ventura and camp at San
Buenaventura State Beach, 901 San Pedro Street.
— Saturday, June 6: Ride 61.5 miles to Los Angeles. Closing Ceremony at
the VA Center, 11301 Wilshire Boulevard.
CONTACT: Ben Carlson, AIDS/LifeCycle Media Coordinator, +1-415-497-9342
Web Site: http://www.aidslifecycle.org/