Become a Public Example

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From June 2 to June 8, 2013, I repeated an amazing experience for the second year in a row. I rode my bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles, California. I was a fortunate participant in the AIDS/LifeCycle 2013, rider number 1483. Join me.

I traveled 545 miles on my bicycle and I cycled every mile. Together with my donors, I raised $6,482 — my portion of the total $14,200,000 raised to support California AIDS charities.

I did this with 3000 friends — riders and roadies, men and women, gay, straight, transgendered, all ages and races, from nearly every state and many foreign countries. I slept in a tent. I got up at 4:00 a.m. every day and went to bed at 9:00. Most nights, I couldn’t sleep. I was, occasionally, irritable. Take a look at what this was like through the eyes of thousands of participants:

That’s what happened, but it hardly scratches the surface of the depth of the experience. To accomplish this seemingly straightforward feat involved months and miles of training. Hours spent transmogrifying friends and acquaintances into donors. Hundreds of my own dollars in preparation, transportation, and gear. And so many tears: tears of sadness remembering those we’ve lost to the scourge — tears of joy in comprehension that these efforts are directly impacting our communities and those we love.

All this combined to make me a better person. Not living solely for my own benefit, but for the benefit of my community. Increasing my cardiovascular health and helping me to make better choices for myself and my loved ones. Becoming a public example of the best the LGBT community has to offer for youth, latent allies, and even entrenched homophobes. Getting one more car off the road.

In 2014, I’ll repeat this experience. I’ll be riding my bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the AIDS/LifeCycle 2014. My rider number for the event is 1399.

Change your life. Change the world. You belong here, so join me on the ride.

Love,
Your Bear

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