Standing in front of Cow Palace in San Francisco, Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean had a big announcement to make: “I am so happy to tell you that the AIDS/LifeCycle is back!”
“We’re all going to be meeting here and starting this seven-day ride,” Jean said in an exuberant video that debuted on Thursday.
The world’s largest single event HIV/AIDS fundraiser will return as an in-person event on June 5–11, 2022. The 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles benefits the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV/AIDS-related services of the Center.
“It’s been two years since we all gathered here the last time, and it’s been about 16 months since the COVID pandemic hit, and the world seemed to stop,” Jean said. “But the Foundation couldn’t stop, and the Center couldn’t stop. We had to keep doing our work.”
AIDS/LifeCycle raises important awareness about the ongoing epidemic, in addition to funding critical services such as HIV testings and screenings for other sexually transmitted infections, medical care, prevention services, and more. In addition to the 1.2 million people living with HIV and AIDS in the United States, 1 in 7 people do not know they are living with the disease.
In 2019, ride participants raised more than $16.7 million—the highest fundraising amount in the event’s history. More than 2,200 cyclists pedaled out of Cow Palace on the 26th year of riding to end AIDS with more than 650 volunteer “roadies” supporting them during the journey.
The pandemic forced the 2020 and 2021 rides to be canceled. In their place were virtual fundraising events including the first-ever AIDS/[email protected] which raised a total of $8.1 million last year and this year’s TogetheRide which raised $2.6 million.
“These services have become even more vital in the communities most impacted by HIV in the years we haven’t been able to gather,” Ride Director Tracy Evans said in the video. “So, it’s time to come together again.”
San Francisco AIDS Foundation Chief Advancement Officer Russell Roybal said the organization did not close its doors for a single day during the pandemic.
“The support of our AIDS/LifeCycle family has helped make it possible,” Roybal said. “Our pursuit for health justice for all continues.”
In Thursday’s nearly five-minute video announcement, participants planning for the 2022 ride expressed their excitement.
“I think there’s no better way to see California than from the seat of a bike on AIDS/LifeCycle,” said Cyclist Zai Divecha.
“You go through all kinds of terrain. It’s strawberry fields, it’s palm trees on the beach, it’s foggy cliffs. It’s just such a beautiful way to see this amazing state.”
Although Jean is excited about the 2022 ride, it’s going to be “a little bittersweet” for her. She is retiring as the Center’s CEO less than a month after the event finishes.
“I can’t wait to see all of you,” she said. “I can’t wait to be back on this journey with you. What I’m most looking forward to is the love.”
Watch AIDS/LifeCycle’s full announcement at bit.ly/ALC2022 and register for the ride, beginning August 18, at aidslifecycle.org!