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AIDS LifeCycle 10 – The Riders and Their Loved Ones-Photo Essay

AIDS LifeCycle 10 – The Riders and Their Loved Ones-Photo Essay

by Karen Ocamb on June 7, 2011

Chad Allen and Jason Kennedy created a public art commemoration for the 30th anniversary of HIV/AIDS. The simple exhibit was first displayed at San Gregorio Beach at Wilder Ranch State Park and each camp site after that (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

(Corrected) Something happens among groups with a common purpose, especially those struggling with issues of life and death. People in 12 Step groups, for instance, smile with a knowing shared intimacy when meeting someone new – a friend in the Fellowship of the Spirit who has hit bottom, grieved, survived and now shares their experience with others in need.

Riders were greeted at San Gregorio Beach by Jean Peterson, 73, from San Francisco who drove down to greet her lesbian daughter Dele and her wife Amber, both fire fighers. Keeping warm under a blanket is 6 year old Jack. 20 years ago Jean's nephew David Allen died of AIDS. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

There used to be such a community during the height of the AIDS crisis – when a frail, KS-spotted walking skeleton of a man would stumble and strangers would rush to catch and lift him up. There was an unspoken understanding that he was squeezing the last bit of dignity and life out of the time he had left. Everyone cared.

There is a similar feeling on the AIDS LifeCycle 10. For straight people – who are about half the riders – it is an opportunity to raise money for a good cause, an exercise in compassion.  For those of us who are older and remember what our AIDS holocaust was like, it is both comforting and a welcome surprise to once again feel the embrace of community. For younger people, it is an adventure with stories about love and loss that come as a discovery and a glimpse into the lives of the older generation from whom they are culturally separated at home.

Here are some of the strangers who have become family on this ride:

Chad Allen, ALC staffer JR Billings, LA Gay & Lesbian Center Board Chair Loren Ostrow, Jason Kennedy, Center CEO Lorri Jean (Photo by Stephen Busken)

Positive Pedlers come into camp for first rainy night (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Bike parking lot (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Dinner with Ah Oiang, 33, an intern at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center learning better management practices at non-profits. Oiang founded PFLAG China. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Center CEO Lorri Jean jokes with, inspires and appreicates the riders. She also announces that Human Rights Campaing President Joe Solmonese and Lambda Legal Executive Director are also riding. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Ben Ko, a supporter of Poz Pedlers, plays with Falkor the dog as Jen Burton waits with Falkor and two other little dogs, JoJo and Mochi, for their mother rider Leslie Mah to arrive at the beach stop. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Rider looking at AIDS at 30 art exhibit (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

HIV positive Adam Robinson finds the AIDS art exhibit at Wilder Ranch State Park meaningful (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Joe Guay, 37, missing his friend partner Jay Curtis Crimp who died of AIDS dementia in February after six years of being positive. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Sign on the back of Joe Guay's back (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Joey Guay, 37, with his partner Ed Forsyth, 57 - both riding in memory of Jay Curtis Crimp, 59, Ed's best friend (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Riders leave oceanside lunch stop and ride uphill next to cars (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

ALC rider biking uphill (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Riders struggle to biek uphill (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Steep (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Steep hills weren't the only challengers these AIDS LifeCycle Riders faced - some were unseen such as this huge truck about to make a right turn as a rider is passing the intersection. But many riders thought of just peddling one step at a time (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kris12480sf June 8, 2011 at 1:36 PM

That Jean and Jack are my heroes…….they are also my mom and nephew and I so admire the work done for ALC every year! It is a honor rooting them on in spirit! GO TEAM OF MISFITS xoxoxoxoxo

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zz June 8, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Go, Chad!

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