LOS ANGELES and SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For only the second time in the history of AIDS/LifeCycle—the world's largest annual HIV/AIDS fundraising event—organizers have closed the event to new rider registrations. Approximately 2,500 people from 40 states and nine countries will begin the seven-day ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles on June 5, the 30th anniversary of the day the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention first reported cases of AIDS. The organizers and beneficiaries of AIDS/LifeCycle, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation, predict that the participants in AIDS/LifeCycle 10 will break the event's fundraising record of $12.3 million, set in 2008.
Registration remains open for "roadies," the volunteers who are the lifeblood of the event; roadies serve food, transport gear, staff rest stops, direct cyclists and perform other critical jobs during the week-long ride. To register as a roadie, go to www.aidslifecycle.org. Additionally, the organizers have for the first time opened a reservation list for riders interested in reserving a spot in next year's event at www.aidslifecycle.org/ALC11reg.
"The fact that we've reached capacity for AIDS/LifeCycle months before it begins is a real testament to the power and transforming experience of this incredible event," said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean. "People register for AIDS/LifeCycle not only because they want to do something heroic to prevent new HIV infections while making a difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS, but because they want to be part of the incredible community that's formed on this event."
"In a few short months, the thousands of people participating in AIDS/LifeCycle 10 will make history, and I'm honored to join this remarkable community as a first-time rider," said San Francisco AIDS Foundation Chief Executive Neil Giuliano. "This event is unmatched in its ability to raise much-needed money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS while at the same time delivering an unforgettable experience to a special group of people who, like us, refuse to accept HIV as inevitable."
The 545-mile bike ride, first held in 1994 and then known as the California AIDS Ride, is now in its 10th year as AIDS/LifeCycle. It has been a major force in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and the growing need for services as the number of people living with the disease continues to grow. Over the course of the week-long event, the 2,500 riders—sometimes outnumbering the populations of the communities they ride through—are greeted by local residents of eight counties who line roadways and visit rider pit stops to show support. Cheering groups of schoolchildren stand alongside the road with homemade signs and refreshments and local residents show support with signs of thanks that invoke memories of loved ones lost to AIDS.
The cyclists in this year's event—ranging in age from 18 to 80—represent a full range of cycling experience and expertise; many have never participated in any type of endurance event and some learn to ride a bike just for the event. Each cyclist commits to raising at least $3,000 to support the HIV-related services of both San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. Last year, the average rider raised more than $4,500.