Riding to Fight AIDS

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More than 200 cyclists will ride along the coast through Aptos, Santa Cruz and Watsonville to raise money to fight AIDS for the 14th annual Surf City AIDS Ride this Sunday. The 100 mile ride is the largest contributor to the Santa Cruz AIDS Project.

“This is a fantastic place for bike riding that can also be a way to support a local nonprofit and HIV positive individuals,” said fundraising organizer Megan Melack.

There are several ways to participate, including signing up to ride and fundraise, riding without fundraising or making a general donation by sponsoring a rider or visiting the project’s website.

The bike ride has four tiers to accommodate different skill levels of bicyclists. The easiest level starts at 12 miles from the Santa Cruz Courthouse to Capitola Village, while the most difficult ride sprawls 100 miles through Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.

The Surf City AIDS ride started out as a local offshoot of AIDS/LifeCycle, a seven day, 545 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The major ride supports the work of the San Francisco Aids Foundation and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center.

Volunteer and UCSC student Melissa Ott hopes the ride will help spread the word about the fight against AIDS in the city and county of Santa Cruz.

“People in Santa Cruz like biking. Any opportunity to combine that with a good cause is wonderful,” Ott said. “Bicycling is connected to health in so many ways, it makes sense to add another.”

Registration will be open on the day of the event at the Santa Cruz Courthouse.