i’m going to ride my bike 545 miles next summer!

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Ever since I moved to San Francisco and heard about this crazy bike ride from SF to LA, I’ve thought about doing it.
Two years ago, I discovered that a friend of a friend, Emily, (who is now a dear friend) is the volunteer coordinator for the SF AIDS Foundation. I discovered this when I was looking around the internet for a volunteer opportunity around my birthday (June 1), which was something I’d committed myself to doing back in 2003.
I helped Emily with some office work (basically, I volunteered to help her find volunteers) and then helped out on the day that the ride starts.
This was such a wonderful experience – get up at 3am (just like when Mom used to drive us up to Maine from PA) and help out wherever help is needed (two years in a row I ended up in “bike parking” and must say it’s a wonderful way to see LOTS of interesting bikes, but that’s another story…). I was exhilarated after that first year and decided that the next year I’d help for a week whenever I could and *maybe* go on the ride.
Come February 2008 and registration was closed because the ride was completely full – both SF and LA had their maximum number of riders!
So, I checked my work schedule and committed to four or five days of helping where needed AND going to work. This culminated on my birthday when I got up at 3am again and parked bikes (with a birthday tiara on).
This year tho, when everyone left and the hall was empty, I was really sad – I wanted to be with them.

So, I finally did it.

I signed up. http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/adrienecrimson

I’m going to ride 545 miles from SF to LA from May 31 to June 6, 2009 (and you better believe I’ll have a tiara glued to my helmet the whole time to celebrate turning 32!)

Part of my commitment comes from simply wanting to help people on my birthday. The other part is this foundation. The SF AIDS Foundation provides practical information about AIDS, services for people with HIV/AIDS and services to prevent the spread of the disease. And they throw really great fundraising events like this one as well as sponsor lots of fun events in the city throughout the year – all with the goal of educating the public about how to stay safe and healthy, with or without HIV/AIDS.

I think this disease needs to stop now and one of the best ways to do that is to prevent it spreading.
One of the best ways to prevent it spreading is to educate (and give out clean needles and free condoms).
And, to do this takes employees, time and space.

By sponsoring me on this ride you’ll be providing funds for this amazing organization to continue to help people stay safe and healthy.
To give you an idea why they need this money – I just read their operating budget and expenses document that basically says that their expenses for 2008/9 are $25 million and the government (local, state, federal) will give them about $7 million. The other $18 million are donated by regular people who want to contribute to a just cause.

The minimum for each rider to raise is $3000 and I’ve committed to going a bit above and beyond with a $5000 goal. I’m hoping to throw a party sometime in March that will be a fundraiser because I’ve always wanted to do something like that. I’m imagining that it will involve an auction of donated goods and a raffle of less expensive donated goods – sound like fun? I’ll keep you posted as to when it’ll happen and maybe you can join in the fun! I figure, if I’m throwing a fundraising event, I should definitely increase my fundraising goal.

There are many ways to contribute (it’s all tax deductible as well!):
– many corporations provide matching funds for their employee’s donations so check with your boss/HR department to see if you can double your support (when I worked for the design firm, I asked the CEO if the company would match its employee’s donations and he said “yeah, sure, up to $200” so I got all of the employees to donate $200 collectively and that was $400 for our bike messenger Mary’s ride – who, by the way, rode in a lavender tuxedo – sorry, I haven’t got any pics.)
– you can choose to donate online once or utilize their automatic payment option that draws any amount you designate once a month. this is a super easy way to donate $100 without feeling it.
– you can download a form (found at the very bottom of this page) to send in a check or credit card info for one time or monthly automatic payments.

I’m committing all of my Friday tips to my sponsorship account. In this economy, one might think that people would be getting “luxury treatments” like facials and waxing less, but it’s only been a little bit slower. Still, my friday tips have only been between $20 and $45 for the last few weeks. However, any and every amount helps, no matter how small.

I’ll keep http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/adrienecrimson updated with my training progress and photos and on the ride itself I’ll do my best to live blog about the whole event.

I’ll also keep you posted about the fun raffles I’ll be having soon.
Would anyone donate in $1 increments to win the right to choose the color I dye my hair for the ride?
How about $2 increments to win the right to choose a subject that I’ll take photos of on the ride?

Thanks for sticking with this post all the way thru! If you like any of those raffle ideas and want to start collecting your “tickets” – just go to http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/adrienecrimson and when you donate online, be sure to put a note that says “this is for the hair color raffle – magenta!” or “this is for the photo raffle – road kill!”

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