June 12, 2012
Andy's ALC Photos
Andy volunteered as sweep on this year's AIDS LifeCycle. His photos:
June 10, 2012
AIDS LifeCycle Closing Ceremonies
The last time I participated in AIDS LifeCycle was in 2005. It's the annual 545-mile, 7-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that replaced Pallotta's California AIDS Ride. This year there were 2,250 riders plus hundreds of support volunteers. The ride raises money to benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the AIDS and HIV programs of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center. This year the ride raised $12.6 million.
The ride finished up yesterday, June 9, by riding into the Veterans Center in Westwood. I went in to see and take photos. This is the first time I've been at the closing ceremonies when I hadn't participated in the ride. In previous years I've driven to San Buenaventura State Beach on Friday night where the riders are camped together for the last time. They hold a candle light vigil out on the beach which is very effective.
The complete set of 471 photos is available at www.ipernity.com/doc/ronslog/album/273984. I encourage you to pass that link along to anyone you know who is involved with AIDS LifeCycle. I have removed all copyright claims to all of the photos in that set. People are welcome to take, copy, revise and distribute them without attribution to me.
A few of the photos:
I saw about half a dozen of these GoPro Hero cameras in use by riders.
UPDATE: I have to add that taking these photos was made much easier by the fact that after a week on the road, the riders have completely trained themselves to spot and respond to cameras. I didn't do anything more than point my camera to encourage riders to wave, smile, and stare into the lens.
July 8, 2010
"Where the grass is really greener" becomes lettuce in this version
In this parody made during California AIDS LifeCycle we go from typical brown grass to green lettuce.
June 19, 2009
Another AIDS LifeCycle Story
Ironically, there was a great gift for me in becoming completely exhausted on the ride (from back and knee pain, lots of fear for the riders who fell and injured themselves, the hassles of camping in the rain, and my newly discovered allergies to Southern California pollen). I was wiped out, in body and mind, shaken and stripped down to the foundations, like a house trembling in a 6.0 earthquake. I was broken down, near the bottom of Maslow’s needs hierarchy. At times, I was focused largely on my own safety and security and my need for help. In the midst of this experience, however, I discovered the most amazing and beautiful thing…At various times, so was almost everyone else!
Somehow, something changed within me, and I believe in others too. Perceptions began to change. We started seeing ourselves and each other less through the predefined categories like age, job, gender, sexual orientation, race, HIV status, and more though qualities like kindness, trust worthiness, compassion, fairness, humor, competence, joy.
Many people on the ride, whether they were self-described religious or not, began to wonder what the world would be like if we all cared for one another and for those in need, the way the ride community does … if we were genuinely and continually dedicated to a better world. The kingdom of heaven, right here on earth.
June 14, 2009
Unusual AIDS LifeCycle Videos
SmileHero1 (real name "tony") rode AIDS LifeCyle 8, his (or her) first one, and did so with a camera attached to the back of his (or her) bicycle with a timed shutter release - once every six or seconds or so, I think. There are a few larger time gaps which are due to (I would guess) dead battery or camera malfunction. He (or she) then merged all those still photos into videos covering each day's entire ride. The resulting jerkiness may give you a headache, and I think I'd enjoy it more (as a former rider myself) if the camera had been facing forward, but then you'd see a lot more butts and a lot fewer faces. These bring back a lot of memories, and are a great way see California while sitting down at home.
His (or her) own website for this is at Smilehero.org. To get to each day's video you select from the little pulldown menu in the upper right corner that says "--select the date--." On that site you can type in the time of day to get a higher res frame, and you can request an even higher res image be emailed to you without the time-stamp on it.
Day 2 to King City - 8:41. On Day 2 the other riders have figured out what's going on and start hamming for the camera. This day includes the artichoke stop.
Day 3 to Paso Robles - everybody's going faster so it's only 6:35. The sun comes out. Quad Buster is this day.
Day 4 - no video - "had some issues," it says.
Day 5 - Santa Maria to Lompoc, Red Dress Day, 8:39. Most of this video was shot standing alongside the road, but there's a couple minutes of on-road video at the end.
Day 6 - rain - no video.
Gary's Got His AIDS LifeCycle Photos Up
I know it looks like cocktail hour and he's trying to use the tent to stabilize himself, but this is actually early morning in Santa Maria at the beginning of "Red Dress" day.
June 7, 2009
AIDS Lifecycle Includes Protest in Closing Ceremonies
Leaders of L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation, with 2,150 Cyclists, Decry Proposed Cuts in HIV Funding at Conclusion of AIDS/LifeCycle 8
Participants in 545-mile trek from San Francisco to Los Angeles Raise $10.5 million
LOS ANGELES, June 6, 2009—Cheered by fans, friends, family and local residents, about 2,150 bicyclists streamed into Los Angeles today for the conclusion of the eighth annual AIDS/LifeCycle, a seven-day, 545-mile journey from San Francisco that raised $10.5 million for the HIV/AIDS-related services of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
At the closing ceremony at the Veteran's Administration Center in West Los Angeles, the riders and 500 volunteer roadies from 41 states and 14 nations celebrated their heroic accomplishment. Led by San Francisco AIDS Foundation Chief Executive Officer Mark Cloutier and L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean, the participants decried the massive cuts in HIV/AIDS-related services in the governor's proposed budget and agreed to carry their message to communities across California.
"Elected leaders in our state government are poised to make massive cuts in essential health and human services, including $80 million for vitally needed HIV/AIDS services," said Jean. "We cannot allow them to balance the state budget at the expense of so many lives! We call on the elected leaders of our state to exhibit the same amazing compassion and courage that you all have shown over the past week, to appreciate the dire consequences of their proposals, and to fund the HIV/AIDS services that literally save lives."
Holding their helmets or hands over their faces during the ceremony, the cyclists and roadies represented the scores of lives that will be lost if legislators approve the proposed $80 million reduction in HIV/AIDS-related services—a roster of cuts which would deny life-saving drugs to low-income Californians, eliminate HIV testing, counseling and education programs, and turn the clock back on years of progress in fighting the AIDS epidemic.
"The proposed budget will put the most vulnerable Californians at risk and jeopardize the health and safety of communities we've long rallied to protect," said Cloutier. "The heroes of AIDS/LifeCycle 8 stand in unanimous opposition to potentially disastrous elimination of vital HIV/AIDS services."
The AIDS/LifeCycle participants ranged in age from 18 to 78 and included novice cyclists as well as event veterans, all of whom raised at least $3,000. They traveled through eight California counties, occasionally outnumbering the populations of the communities through which they rode. In many towns along the route, local residents applauded and displayed signs welcoming and encouraging the riders.
At the closing ceremony, actor Leslie Jordan, best known for his role as Beverly Leslie on the hit series Will & Grace, led a Riderless Cycle procession to commemorate all those lost to AIDS.
AIDS/LifeCycle's presenting sponsors were Shopoff Properties Trust, FedEx Corporation and Gilead Sciences.
Photographs from the AIDS/LifeCycle Closing Ceremony will be available for downloading at 8 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, June 6 at http://www.aidslifecycle.org/press/.
June 6, 2009
AIDS Lifecycle 8 at Ventura
Yesterday I drove to Ventura to see friends and attend the candlelight vigil on the beach at San Buenaventura State Beach, which is the last night of camping for participants in AIDS Lifecycle 8. They'd had a bad day yesterday. They'd had some rain in camp in Lompoc in the morning, but when the route opened up some riders headed out onto the road before the weather turned worse and the Lifecycle organization stopped any more bikers from leaving Lompoc to begin the ride to Ventura. The weather did not improve. The permit they have from the California Highway Patrol has a limited time window for everybody to start riding. The window closed and the weather was still bad, plus there had been a motor vehicle accident out on the route somewhere (no cyclists involved), so CHP pulled the permit and EVERYbody had to ride the bus to Ventura.
There were 2,200 riders this year. The ones who had made it onto the road were asked, when they reached pit stop 1, to turn around and ride back to camp in Lompoc. The ride has buses along every day to handle those who can't finish the day's route, but they aren't set up to transport 2,200 riders (plus the usual 800 roadies) by bus. They were assisted, however, by the Lompoc school district. One of the riders was the principal of Lompoc high school, so he called in some favors, and the school district loaned several school buses to help with moving everybody along. Even so, it took all day to move everyone.
Everybody on staff kept pointing out that "this" had never been done before, and I suppose they were technically right if by "this" they meant an almost entire day cancelled due to rain in California. But there was that day on California AIDS Ride 3 when the ride was cancelled for a day, midday, due to heat. And, of course, there was the time I rode Texas AIDS Ride 1 when an entire day was cancelled due to rain.
I was in Ventura especially to see Gary, former Bostonian and first-time rider. I was also going to help him find a laundromat to wash and dry his stuff, but lucky him, some friends agreed to let him share in the nearby hotel room they had managed to get. It's called the "princess tour" when you stay in motels rather than camp out with everyone else.
I found him, I met his tentmate Zack, and I found Andy and Tim from Palm Springs. There were a lot of other familiar faces around camp, of course.
Chicken Lady (AKA "Ken Thomason") has ridden California AIDS Rides 2 through 8 and every AIDS Lifecycle except #7. Last year he had a stroke and couldn't ride, but returned this year and was riding again. Other photos of Ken here.
April 18, 2009
AIDS LifeCycle Donation Request
Many of my readers know Gary who used to live in Boston and now lives in San Francisco. He hosted me several times when I went to S.F. to start either an AIDS Ride or AIDS LifeCycle. He volunteered on the Boston-NY AIDS Ride. But somehow he has never actually ridden an AIDS ride. That will change in June when this virgin sets forth on AIDS LifeCycle, the bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Donations to support him will go to benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. When you go to the donation page you will see that highest pre-set donation amount is only $10,000 - but don't be disappointed. You can give more!
December 31, 2008
Discussion With Pallotta
A discussion (via comments) between blogger Sean Stannard-Stockton, Dan Pallotta and others about Pallotta's book Uncharitable and how lucrative the charity business should be.
Me and Dan Pallotta at the first Texas AIDS Ride in 1998.