In 1988, I attended the first tour of the AIDS Quilt at the Castle in Boston. Anyone with even a shred of humanity couldn't leave the Castle's hall without feeling helpless and lost at what they had witnessed. Being in that hall underscored the darkness we were all living through.

The Quilt tour was so long ago, almost 30 years. We thought AIDS would be eradicated long before now...

And now, I am working to help achieve the mission to close the book on AIDS.

On June 4th - June 10th, I will be one of over 3,000 Cyclists, Roadies, and Virtual Cyclists participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise funds for the life-saving services offered by San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

The services provided as a result of this event mean the world to those who receive them, and your support means the world to me.

Did you know?:

  • At the end of 2013, the most recent year for which such data are available, an estimated 1,242,000 adults and adolescents were living with HIV
  • The San Francisco AIDS Foundation provides: Affordable Healthcare, Harm Reduction, HIV Testing, Solvency, Housing, and Strategy


Note: If you're like myself, you want to ensure that the organization you're donating to is ethical and fiscally responsible. This site discusses the fiscal health of the organization, and the services that it provides: http://tinyurl.com/herp49n . Also, Charity Navigator gives the SF AIDS Foundation an 87.36 rating http://tinyurl.com/CharityNavSFAIDSFoundation where 48% of funds raised are spent on human services. Similarly, the LA LGBT Center has a Charity Navigator rating of 94 http://tinyurl.com/CharityNavLALGBTCtr where all funds raised are spent on human services.

Memory Lane Monday: Lincoln-Sudbury-Wayland-Weston

It's Patriot's Day (and Marathon Day) here in Massachusetts...  This means a sizable number of Massachusetts workers had the day off.

I, however, went in, worked the morning, then taught my group exercise class.  Only one person showed!

My late-afternoon meeting got canceled, so I slipped out around then to get a training ride in.  I felt lucky to be taking advantage of this ideal, early-spring day:


There's a ride out of Waltham, that I love, that I had to stop doing long ago because of serious workday traffic gridlock and when-will-it-ever-be-done bridge-repair detours.  Since I knew traffic would be very mild and the bridge repairs completed, I programmed the route and pedaled out from the former Poloroid parking lot with placidity (details here: Memory Lane Monday Ride)

The first time I ever did this route was 27 years ago this month with Jane Critchlow.  We bought the book Short Bike Rides in Greater Boston and Central Massachusetts by Howard Stone and thought a 14-mile ride was anything but short.  We had to work up to the 25-mile version of the ride.  Pre-GPS, we needed to refer to the bulky book for navigation (hated it).

I'm guessing Stone hand-drew his maps back then:

Waltham Ride Map

Stone's promo photo for the entry is of two very-eighties-looking riders in old Sudbury center moseying along, back when it was so much quieter:

Waltham Ride Sudbury Center Image

Discovering some of Boston's best, western-suburbs bicycling routes was a magical time for me.  Jane was equally as enthusiastic about the back roads pedaling experience, so those memories of our enhanced weekends are warm and pleasing.

I kept a journal back then and said this of the ride, "The new territory was welcomed.  Bird sanctuaries, golf courses, and cheerful back roads with golden retrievers engulfed us.  We stopped on a very convenient log to consume rice-bread-cashew-and-jellies.  Time was of the essence; we returned late and raced home feeling grateful to have experienced more of the most scenic and often undiscovered terrain in Massachusetts."

To compare today's experience to 1991, well, there's so much more traffic.  Yet, it still was gladdening to revisit one of the germination sources of a true athletic passion in my life...

Meanwhile, I am 72% to my fundraising goal -- I have $1,380 more to raise with only 48 days left!  (If you are still looking to make a donation to my effort, please click here to do so: https://goo.gl/Dulnjk)

And so my dear friends, I close with a rare photo of our bikes we had back then, back when I didn't know how to spell Esmeralda... My Specialized Epic Allez and Jane's Trek 1100:





TBT: Working to end AIDS

In 1993, I was one of the early AIDS Action Committee participants to walk for the cause in a Boston event called the AIDS Pledge Walk.

Back then, unwarranted stigma associated with HIV was particularly evident.  For instance, when asked if it would match donations, EMC didn't want its namesake associated with HIV in any way whatsoever; a virus, no less.

Many of my fellow employees in EMC Engineering knew this was wholly discriminatory and made donations regardless of the controversy.  Their gesture may not seem like much now, but it was a big deal then.  I'll never forget the positive feeling of receiving my first donation from Joe Murphy.  It gave me hope for the future.

I think those with HIV still experience unwarranted stigma even today.  It's amazing to say that because, again, it's a virus!  

As folks donate to my cause now, 24 years later, I feel hopeful again, that these fundraising efforts, at the very minimum, do the important work of diminishing ignorance about those with HIV, and in turn, any other misunderstood medical condition.

Here we are in 1993:

1993 AIDS Walk Poster 3

Meanwhile, it's been tough getting on the road because of weather and scheduling conflicts, but I was able to get a little training ride in yesterday after work:  Lexington17

65 days until the event kicks off in San Francisco! ... Thank you ALL who have already donated -- I am 61% to my $5,000 goal!