"Bike It and B.E.A.R. It for AIDS," a bicycling fund-raiser held November 7-8, raised about $172,000 for six Florida AIDS service organizations, the event’s organizers report. One hundred-sixty five people participated in the ride from Miami to Key West. The fund-raiser also included a kickoff candlelight ceremony, a special police escort through Key West, and a closing ceremony at Key West’s AIDS Memorial on the White Street Pier. Ride officials announced plans during the closing ceremony for The Southern Most AIDS Ride 2 (SMART Ride), an AIDS fund-raiser to be held in the fall of 2004. The groups benefiting from Bike It and B.E.A.R It include: the AIDS Institute, Hug-Me Program, Broward House, South Beach AIDS Project, AIDS Help, and Sarasota-CAN. All of the money raised by the riders will go to the charities. "We couldn't be happier and are ready to jump right back in and make the ride even bigger next year!" said ride director Glen Weinzimer.