July 26, 2012
Last night, while in Washington, D.C., for the International AIDS Conference, I got to meet the staff and many fellow bloggers with TheBody.com. And I felt like a slug. Not only am I not writing, but listening to these passionate , inspiring people, I thought, well, here I am, writing about cycling. And all I'm doing is writing about it. I'm not one of the racers.
But as I rode back to my friends' house on the D.C. metro, I got to thinking. While I am not an ultra-endurance athlete, I am a cyclist, and while I don't race across the United States, I do ride a bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles every June as a participant in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 550-mile bike ride to raise funds and awareness for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center's HIV services.
In addition, I am part of an inspiring, motivating group, the Positive Pedalers, a group of HIV-positive cyclists and their supporters who raise funds and awareness through cycling.
Being on the bike has changed my life. I'm healthier, more energetic and am part of a supportive, loving community.
Here I am, a straight, negative, married woman, who spends just about every weekend with a couple dozen mostly gay, mostly HIV-positive men. My husband and I ride tandem with them, and most of them are faster than we are, but no one ever gets left behind.
And because of the Positive Pedalers, we are part of a much larger community. Not every poz ped can ride hundreds of miles for various reasons, sometimes health issues, sometimes because they don't have the time or inclination to train, so they do something else: They work as support, or "roadies" on rides, which in reality is far more demanding than riding.
And there are some poz peds who don't ride every mile, but they ride every mile they CAN.
So while Team4HIVHope is on hiatus and regrouping for next year, I want to use this blog space to introduce you to some of the men and women of the Positive Pedalers. I'll tell you about some of its members and what the organization, and cycling, means to them.
For the Poz Peds, it really IS about the bike.