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Hundreds of cyclists pedaling through the Central Coast this week during annual AIDS/Lifecycle ride

Bicyclists pedal along Highway 1 in Morro Bay during the AIDS/Lifecycle ride on June 7, 2023. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- The annual AIDS/Lifecycle bike ride is now pedaling through the Central Coast this week, bringing more than 1,400 cyclists and hundreds of other volunteers into the area for a four-day period.

The a event fully-supported, seven-day 545 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that raises money and awareness in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

"All of the money raised through this event helps to provide the life changing services for people living with HIV, both in San Francisco and Los Angeles," said Dr. Tyler TerMeer, San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO. "This year we raised $11.7 million that will make a world of difference in the lives of those we serve."

The ride started in San Francisco on Sunday at the Cow Palace and will conclude this Saturday at Santa Monica Beach.

On Tuesday, the cyclists first entered the four-day portion of their ride on the Central Coast with an overnight stop at the Paso Robles Event Center, home of the California Mid-State Fair.

With a journey starting in Paso Robles and concluding in Santa Marima, today's ride was 88 miles in length, which took cyclists along some of the most picturesque locations found anywhere in California.

"It's been good," said cyclist Kevin Carnell, while taking a break at the lunch stop at Cuesta College. "It was challenging in the beginning. Lots of hills. Rolling hills, so it wasn't like you do one hill and then you're done., but It's been great. Very beautiful and very scenic."

Carnell, who lives in Chicago and has participated in the ride in the past, noted how the event for many is a life-changing experience.

"I meet so many different people from all walks of life," said Carnell. "I learn more about myself with every ride. I'm learning patience. I'm learning grace. I'm learning to look out for other people, as well as I am myself. It's a very valuable week and I wouldn't trade it for anything."

On Thursday, cyclists will pedal a much shorter distance, riding 42 miles from Santa Maria to Riverbend Park in Lompoc.

Later in the week on Friday, the route will start in Lompoc and end at San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura.

Each of the participants have their own individual story or reason for taking part, making the ride a truly personal experience for each person who is part of the event, whether it be as a cyclist or support staffer.

"People are riding in memory of those that they've lost, or people like myself who ride in their own journey," said TerMeer, who has participated as a cyclist, 'roadie' volunteer, and now as an administrator. "I have been living with HIV for nearly 20 years myself, and the people here are riding for people just like me."

Since it was first held in 1994, the AIDS/Lifecycle has brought in more than $300 million, giving it the distinction as the largest HIV and AIDS fundraiser in the world.

"All that money goes towards the mission," said Carnell. "It is providing critical care to those living and surviving and thriving with HIV and AIDS, so I'm really happy to be part of this."

For more information on the AIDS/Lifecycle, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Lifestyle
AIDS/LifeCycle 2023
HIV/AIDS research
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
san luis obispo county

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.


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