California AIDS Ride Raises a Record $11.5 Million

By admin

Originally published on Advocate.com June 03 2008 11:00 PM ET

More than 2,500
cyclists from 12 countries and 42 states left from San
Francisco on Monday, beginning a seven-day, 545-mile bike
ride to Los Angeles in support of AIDS/LifeCycle.

This year's
riders and 500 volunteers raised a record $11.5 million,
more than any other annual HIV/AIDS fund-raising
event.

Now in its
seventh year, the event benefits the HIV/AIDS-related
services of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the
L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, two of the largest AIDS
services providers in the country.

Since its
inception, AIDS/LifeCycle has raised more than $40 million
for HIV/AIDS services.

"During the time
it will take us to reach L.A., more than 1,000
Americans will become newly infected with HIV.... The 3,000
riders and volunteer roadies -- and the 60,000 people
who sponsor them -- are raising awareness and
making a statement that we will not stand idle in the
face of the monumental challenge before us," said Lorri L.
Jean, chief executive officer of the L.A. Gay and
Lesbian Center, in a statement released by
AIDS/LifeCycle.

The record number
of participants in this year's event represents a full
range of cycling experience and expertise, from novices to
experts, and even includes a contingent of cyclists
living with HIV known as the Positive Pedalers.

This year, the
oldest rider is 81, and the youngest is 18. Riders train
for months in advance of the ride and commit themselves to
raising at least $2,500 each.

It is estimated
that 160,000 Californians are living with HIV/AIDS, many
of whom are unaware of their infection. In California,
HIV/AIDS has had a particularly severe effect on the
gay community, with more than 73% of all cases
occurring among gay and bisexual men of all races and
ethnicities, compared with 59% of AIDS cases nationally.

The route of the
ride and the overnight campsites are as
follows:



Sunday, June 1 --
Opening Ceremony: The Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva
Ave.,
Daly City. 79.3 miles to Santa
Cruz.
Camp 1: Harvey West Park, 326 Evergreen
St., Santa Cruz.


Monday, June 2 --
105.4 miles to King City.
Camp 2: San Lorenzo County
Park, 1160 Broadway, King City.



Tuesday June 3 --
66.7 miles to Paso Robles.
Camp 3: Mid State
Fairgrounds, 2198 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles.


Wednesday, June 4
-- 97.7 miles to Santa Maria.
Camp 4: Preisker Park,
2301 Preisker Lane, Santa Maria.

Thursday, June 5
-- 42.5 miles to Lompoc.
Camp 5: River Park, Sweeney
Road at Highway 246, Lompoc.


Friday, June 6 --
85.5 miles to Ventura.
Camp 6: San Buenaventura State
Beach, 901 San Pedro St., Ventura.


Saturday, June 7
-- 61.5 miles to Los Angeles.
Closing Ceremonies:
Veterans Administration Center, 11301 Wilshire Blvd.,
Los Angeles. For more information or to view a
complete training schedule, visit
www.AIDSLifeCycle.org or call 866-BIKE4AIDS.

Additional
information about the history of the event, details
regarding the sponsoring organizations, and profiles
of individuals participating in the event can be found
on the AIDS/LifeCycle website press room at www.aidslifecycle.org/press. (The
Advocate
)