On Sunday, November 29, 2009, thousands of bicyclists from around the world will ride in solidarity for 29 miles to recognize 29 years of the AIDS/HIV pandemic. All of the World AIDS Day rides will start at 8 a.m. in their respective locations. Organizers encourage participants to wear red.
Some of the cities participating in this year’s World AIDS Day rides include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Richmond, Va., Austin, Texas and London. The full list of cities hosting World AIDS Day rides is on the event’s Facebook page and on the Positive Pedalers Web site.
Brian Hodes of UTACVelo started World AIDS Day rides three years ago. Through his promotion to the annual rides he helps increase awareness of HIV and AIDS.
“As much as we’d like to think otherwise, HIV and AIDS are not going away any time soon,” Hodes said. “We need to continually remind our community that we need everyone’s support if we ever hope that AIDS will be cured.”
In recent years, the largest World AIDS Day rides have taken place in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area, and this year should be no exception. UTACVelo expects more than 200 riders in Los Angeles and more than 150 in San Francisco. Those interested in learning more about the rides and supporting the cause should join the World AIDS Day rides Facebook event page and follow the event’s Twitter feed, Twitter.com/WADride. Contact Brian Hodes at 310.666.9922 to inquire about starting a new ride.
World AIDS Day, observed December 1 of each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 33 million people, with an estimated 38.6 million people living with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, HIV remains a leading cause of death worldwide.
Professional cycling photographer Brian Hodes along with some of his cycling friends decided to use their sport to raise even more awareness of HIV and AIDS and help break the stigmas associated with the diseases. In December 2007, they held the inaugural World AIDS Day bike ride and formed UTACVelo (Until There Is A Cure Velo). UTACVelo will be represented at Race Across the West in June 2010 by one of its members who is the first openly HIV positive cyclist.
Until There’s A Cure (UTAC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and funds for vaccine development, care services, and youth education. For additional information about Until There’s A Cure please call 1-800-88-UNTIL or visit http://www.until.org.
About Positive Pedalers
The Positive Pedalers, founded in 1995, are a group of people, living with HIV/AIDS, committed to building a supportive and inclusive community for others and themselves through participation in bicycle-related activities. They are dedicated to expanding and enhancing public awareness of HIV and AIDS and empowering HIV-positive people to live more meaningful and dignified lives. To learn more about the group go to www.pospeds.org.
Both UTACVelo and Positive Pedalers are active members of AIDS/LifeCycle, a fully supported, annual seven-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, this year from June 6-12, 2010. It’s a life-changing ride-not a race-through some of California’s most beautiful countryside. AIDS/LifeCycle is co-produced by the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and is designed to advance their shared interest to end the pandemic and human suffering caused by AIDS. For more information go to www.aidslifecycle.org.