Early in 2020, I started training for the Lifecycle ride from SF to LA; sadly, the event had to be cancelled for safety reasons during the pandemic. The event organizers have wisely decided to reboot the event for 2021, and plan for something we know will be safe: Togetheride, a virtual ride with a collective goal of 1.2 million miles.
In thinking through how much I could commit to personally, I decided I'd cycle a virtual route from my house in California to see my parents in Virginia - 3200 miles. I'm heading out on my bike a few times a week, and tracking my miles - in the last four weeks I've logged 233 miles, about 7% of the way there.
Just as important as the miles logged is fundraising for an important cause - the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
I came of age after the initial waves of the AIDS crisis hit the gay community, so was not a first hand witness to much of the worst of it. Even so, I've had some key moments of learning.
One that stands out: 15 years ago, when I moved back to Seattle after a few years on the East Coast, I shared a house with Bill Thieleman. As we got to know each other, we talked about the shared experience of having lived in New York City. Though Bill was a generation ahead of me, there were enough touch points for it to be a fun discussion of favorite places, activities, and life.
At some point, I remarked that I loved going back as a former resident; having friends to look up when visiting Manhattan made me feel particularly cosmopolitan. Bill sighed: "No one I knew when I lived there is still alive."
The loss of human potential is incalculable...and I have often wondered about what they would have done and contributed to the world. While the landscape has changed, the reality is that the needs are still there - and our greatest success in meeting them has come from each other. The services provided as a result of this event mean the world to those who receive them, and your support means the world to me.