Cyclists Finish AIDS Fund-raising Ride from New York to Boston
NEW YORK (AP) _ Several thousand bicyclists pedaled into New York City on Sunday to end a three-day, 261-mile journey from Boston that raised almost $6.5 million for AIDS research and medical services.
Despite the rain Sunday and injuries suffered on the road, most of the 3,697 riders that started the ride Friday were able to finish, said Daniel Pallotta, the ride’s executive producer. About 175 riders were HIV-positive or have AIDS.
The pledges surpassed initial projections by about $2.5 million, Pallotta said.
``The challenge of the event speaks to people on some deep level,″ Pallotta said. ``The ride is a little glimpse of what we’re capable of.″
The cyclists pedaled from Massachusetts through Connecticut to New York, sleeping in tents for two nights. Vans were used to pick up riders who fell off the pace.
``We gave people a chance to come out and say something about this disease,″ said Chris Nagle, 29, of Centerville, Mass., who finished with his mother, brother and two sisters. His father also worked on the support crew. ``They gave their energy and spirit to it.″
He said one of his most memorable moments came when he saw a lone supporter standing on the edge of a rural road, clapping as riders pedaled by.
Sixty percent of the pledges will be divided among New York’s Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center and Community Health Project and Boston’s Fenway Community Health Center. The money will be used for AIDS prevention programs, research and medical care for AIDS victims who do not have insurance.
The rest of the money will be used to pay for coordinating, feeding, and housing the bicyclists and hundreds of volunteers along the route.