On Saturday December 1, 2007, cyclists from all over the world will participate in World AIDS Day by cycling 27 miles to commemorate 27 years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. All rides will start at 8:00. Cities and townships from all over the United States and the world have committed to highlight critical awareness by cycling in organized groups and wearing red symbolizing the AIDS ribbon.
Some of the cities participating in this event are: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Tucson, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Montreal, London and Sydney. Additional cities are signing up daily.
This year's Los Angeles ride will honour HIV-positive three year-old Caleb Glover. This past July while on vacation with his foster parents in Alabama, Caleb was denied access to the swimming pool and showers at Alabama's Wales West RV Resort. The incident received national attention including a segment on ABC TV where Until There's a Cure (UTAC) member and ride organizer Brian Hodes first heard about Caleb's ordeal.
The World AIDS Day ride organizes groups around the world to ride to raise awareness of the perception and stigma associated with HIV. So far Hodes has spoken to people in England, Czechoslovakia and Australia about having bike rides in their communities. In cities where December's cooler weather could present a challenge, Hodes suggests organizing spin class marathons at local gyms.
Silvia Glover, Caleb's foster mother, expressed her support for Hodes' efforts. "I'm totally blown away that people all the way in California heard about Caleb and want to raise awareness," Glover said. "It's such an honour and such a good opportunity."
Caleb's health is now precarious because of complications from HIV and his medication, and he might have to have a feeding tube installed. "Caleb's had a harder time than most," she said, "but he's a fighter." Hodes, who is also a rider in the fundraising AIDS LifeCycle ride, a 545-mile bicycle ride from San Francisco to LA, will be riding in Los Angeles on December. 1.
Until There's A Cure (UTAC) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and funds for vaccine development, care services and youth education.