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AIDS/LifeCycle 2009: 545-miles of Drag Queens, Spandex and Clif Bars Along California's Coast

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On Sunday May 31st, 5am would become the new rush hour for the 2,150 riders and 500 volunteer-roadies as they filtered into San Francisco's Cow Palace, waiting with anticipation and excitement for the kickoff of the 2009 AIDS/LifeCycle. The 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles is one of California’s largest fund raising events, generating over $10.5 million this year for the HIV/AIDS clinics of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center and the SF AIDS Foundation. The 7-day route followed the coast south, with stops in Santa Cruz, King City, Paso Robles, Santa Maria, Lompoc and finally Ventura before leading riders into the VA Center in West LA.

At 6:30am, riders rolled out to a foggy, cold San Francisco morning cheered on by hundreds of spectators and supporters. It was the beginning of what participants describe as a "life-changing experience." And indeed it is...

People often say, "one person can make a difference". We speak these words, but do we actually believe them? It can be difficult to see the truth behind this phrase, as our potential impact is not always apparent or seems so distant. AIDS/LifeCycle (ALC) leaves a lasting impression on participants because the ride brings this phrase to life on a daily basis, demonstrating the impact one individual's actions can have on the moment, the day, the week, or the lives of others.