HIV/AIDS Bicycle Ride from Miami to Key West Raises Record Amount
They left Miami and headed down to Key West, their bicycles oiled, their spirits raised.
It was the SMART Ride - the most successful one yet. In its ninth year, the bicycle ride to raise awareness and money for HIV/AIDS raised $860,000, and donations are still coming in.
Founder Glen Weinzimer, however, said that his favorite moment was "knowing every rider was safe and had arrived into Key West." Hopefully, the record-breaking donations were a cause for celebration, as well.
Weinzimer attributed the success of this year to the completely-volunteer staff and participants who "gave 100 percent." Other key attributes to the successful year were the massive involvement from the community and the ever-luscious destination: Key West.
This year participation from out-of-sate doubled with 82 riders and attendees coming in from other states. Today, SMART Ride is the second largest cycling event of its kind in the country, first place going to the AIDS Life Cycle in California. It is, however, the only cycling event of its size to give 100 percent of its proceeds away. Almost half the out-of-state participants this year came from California, many of them having ridden in the Life Cycle.
Weinzimer founded SMART Ride back in 2003 to give back. Having worked for HIV agencies, Weinzimer - who’s been positive since 1993 - saw how fundraising events could go awry, no one really benefitting from them. This was his way of ensuring that the agencies in charge of helping those affected by the virus got the funding they needed to operate.
"Going in and making photocopies wasn’t doing it for me," Weinzimer said. "That was my motivation."
The beneficiaries of the money this year will be strewn all across the state:
Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center
Pride Center at Equality Park
Metro Wellness and Community Centers
Center for Positive Connections