the ride

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I have officially signed up to participate in the AIDS LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in June 2023. Participating requires me to raise at least $3500. And one of these things they tell you to do is to let people know why you’re riding, what the ride and the cause means to you. And I’ll be honest — I’m having a hard time coming up with a good answer.

On the one hand, doing the ride is something that I’ve thought about for a long time. I remember thinking it would be a cool thing to do the year before our daughter was born, but it was always easy to convince myself that I was neither in shape enough nor had the time. Of course, I don’t feel particularly in shape now, and lord knows free time is not something I have a lot of these days. But I also feel like life is short, and if not now, when?

All of that feels extremely selfish. I say this because this ride isn’t just about me and my crazy desire to ride my bike down the coast of California for a week. The intention of the ride is to end AIDS. All of the funds raised go to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. And I’ve spent a good amount of time over the last month or so watching informational videos about the ride and hearing the stories of people who have been directly impacted by the AIDS pandemic. And the fact of the matter is, that’s not my experience.

I want to try and find a way to authentically express my desire to support this cause which is also admittedly self-serving — I want to challenge myself to do this ride. I don’t quite know how to do that, and I’m probably overthinking this. So rather than continuing to ramble on and on about my own reasons for doing this, I’ll just post this video:

I lost my brother this year — to cancer, not AIDS — a pain I still can’t quite put into words. And I can’t imagine the pain so many others suffered because of the AIDS pandemic, the incalculable loss of so many friends, family, lovers, partners, neighbors. I’ve spent a good chunk of time over the last couple of years, in our current pandemic, with low-levels of rage over the overt anti-Asian racism, the willful disregard toward public health and science, and the causal willingness to let millions die just so the economy wouldn’t suffer. So I can’t think of a better way to channel that low-level rage into some positive good in the world. And having lost my brother, I’m more intimately aware of how short life is. So, once again, if not now, when?

To do this, I’m gonna need two things. $3500 in donations, and training. Lots of training. I may be posting about these thing here on the blog over the next year, and tagging the posts accordingly. And if you want to help, please make a donation over this-a-way.


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