Bicyclists from AIDS/LifeCycle stop in Goleta on their way from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

AIDS/LifeCycle

Thousands of bicycles and volunteers stopped in Goleta on Friday as part of the AIDS/LifeCycle 545-mile tour.

Cyclists traveled 90 miles from Lompoc to Ventura on Friday as part of their seven-day journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

“It’s Day 6 on AIDS/LifeCycle, and we’re in Santa Barbara.” “I’m a first-time rider (in the AIDS/LifeCycle), and I’m incredibly excited,” said Alfredo Trejo, a biker from Los Angeles. Speaking with the other riders and the volunteer “roadies,” learning about their reasons for deciding to complete this 545-mile cycling journey alongside the state of California, and realizing that we’re all in this cause together, so that we don’t have any new HIV infections — has been excellent.”

More than 2,400 bicycles and 600 volunteers “roadies” are taking part in the trek, which began after earning $17.8 million for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s HIV-related services.

HIV-positive and HIV-negative people are among the participants. Members of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as its allies, are among them.

Bicyclists range in age from 18 to 81 years old and hail from nearly every state as well as 14 countries.

“To participate, participants must raise a minimum of $3,000.” “Most participants exceed the minimum amount,” said Emily Land, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s director of marketing and communications.

The majority of riders engage in peer-to-peer fundraising, in which they tell their personal stories about how they are affected by AIDS/HIV and why they are riding.” According to Ms. Land, who spoke to The News-Press,

On Friday, the bikers began their journey at Riverbend Park in Lompoc, stopped for lunch in Girsh Park in Goleta, and arrived at San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura in the late afternoon or early evening.

AIDS/LifeCycle began as the “California AIDS Ride” in 1994, at the height of the AIDS crisis. It began as a tool to raise funds for HIV-positive patients and HIV preventive efforts. It was renamed AIDS/LifeCycle in 2002.

Ryan Hines, a LifeCycle participant, detailed how he got engaged with the program. I was first introduced to LifeCycle while on a contract with Toyota North America, and thanks to Toyota’s sponsorship, I was able to traverse the trip. At a thank-you party, I was urged to start riding, so I took a bike from the nonprofit Bicycle Angeles. I began cycling training in 2017, and 2017 was my first year riding.

Mr. Hines added, “I went to a suburb of Dallas for employment after accepting a full-time position with Toyota.” “I led the first-ever Toyota team in 2018.” Since then, it’s been all about everyone’s warmth and the shared experience. It’s a personal journey that every one of us embarks on for various reasons. We’re each processing and thinking on the bike, but we’re never alone. You begin to establish relationships with others.”

Another bicyclist related his experience.

Andy Ho, from Flushing, New York, said, “I’m a proud New Yorker who is basically seeing California for the first time as a cyclist.” “My favorite part of this week’s experience has been meeting new individuals.” It’s difficult to describe, but I’d liken it to a fantastic wrinkle in the space-time continuum where, for one week, everyone gets to be the best, most loving version of themselves in a location going down the coast of California.”

Mr. Hines told the News-Press about his experiences so far this year.  Compared to prior years, this one was a little different. I hadn’t cycled since Dallas in 2018. There are fewer hills available for training. I was a little nervous going into it because I hadn’t trained in California and didn’t know what to anticipate. This year, I became a member of the Funky Monkeys team. It was a group of people who liked to hang out together. I joined to do something different from work.

I’ve discovered how to pay attention to my body and take pauses when needed. The bike offers massages and chiropractors every evening in camp,” he said.

Charlie Arreola of Los Angeles is a five-time rider. In memory of his cousin, who died of AIDS-related illnesses in 1992, he joins in AIDS/LifeCycle.

I’m taking part in the AIDS/LifeCycle with my team, Puro Pinche Papi, which supports black, indigenous, and people of color on the journey, Mr. Arreola continued. ” We’re raising awareness of how HIV and AIDS disproportionately affect people of color.” Yesterday (Thursday), we dressed up to honor Latina superstar Selena for Red Dress Day, a day on the journey where everyone dresses in red so that we can form a red ribbon as we ride down the road in a line.

One of my favorite things about this experience has been how hospitable and accepting the community has been. “Our team is proudly brown, black, and brown-skinned.”

With his first ride in 1996, Mark Frey, a Rancho Palos Verdes biker, became a member of the AIDS/LifeCycle group.

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Author: Muhammad Asim

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