Hello from the Road: Scenes from the AIDS/LifeCycle 7

Photo Credit: Courtesy of AIDS/LifeCycle 7
Editor's note: Earlier this week, we brought you an update from the road of the AIDS/LifeCycle 7, the seven-day, 545-mile bike ride down the coast of California that has raised a record $11 million in the fight against AIDS. Our coverage continues below.

AIDS/LifeCycle 7 is almost over! To find out how it's going, we checked in with RealJock's very own super-trainer Devin Wicks as he made camp in Santa Maria, California. Having survived the Quadbuster—a long, relentless climb of a hill—the riders made camp at the Mid-State Fairgrounds in Paso Robles on Tuesday, marking the middle of the state, though not quite of the ride. Good news for ride planners: The riders are making very good time—on Tuesday the route closed an hour early, meaning all riders got into camp ahead of schedule. And this despite the almost constant eating!

One particularly special meal is an annual event. On the way south, the ride passes through Bradley, California and pauses for lunch—a giant 3,000 person picnic. Bradley is a famous and inspiring stop on the ride; this tiny town, consisting of just a few streets of houses, puts on a barbeque for its thousands of sweaty and hungry annual guests. The town's school grills up food and sells it to the endlessly ravenous riders (Devin tells us he had a delicious veggie burger for his lunch), and the money raised is used to fund school programs year-round. So far, this one annual event has put a total of 11 students through college—on AIDS LifeCycle ride lunch funds alone! This is not only inspiring; but it also brings back the ride's major theme: food. Devin told us about the legendary peanut butter bars ("Like the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich you could ever imagine"); the bakery at Pismo Beach that he describes as "an unofficial rest-stop"; and of course the legendary Bradley Barbeque. Highlights from the rest stops: a Sonny and Cher themed rest stop, a Grease-themed rest stop staffed entirely in drag (of course), and a knock-out drag show on the grounds of the Mission San Miguel—just as the Conquistadors intended.

Wednesday's highlight was the midway point of the ride, featuring the Evil Twins. They're not a drag show—the Evil Twins are two hills marking the halfway point of the ride, and a great photo opportunity (not to mention an excuse to pause for breath). At Morel Bay, near Cambria, riders were greeted by rumors of 65 mph winds. These proved to be an exaggeration—but there were three bike accidents on Wednesday, all of them wind-related. Devin himself had his first flat tire in all of his three AIDS LifeCycle rides. What did you do, we asked? "Flipped my bike, got greasy, changed my tire, and got it done in high winds." We're impressed—clearly, 545 miles on a bike toughens a man. Fortunately, Thursday on the ride is meant to soften everyone back up. It's Red Dress Day, an AIDS/LifeCycle favorite tradition. Just think of it—thousands of men and women in bike shorts and their mothers' red dresses. Devin tells us he packed his red tutu. For once, he won't be the only one.

The last thought of the mid-point of the ride? "The one thing I am really looking forward to about the end of the ride," Devin volunteers, "is a toilet. Porta-Potties have a shelf-life, you know. And with 3,000 people, it's a pretty short shelf-life." We can only imagine—but we'd actually rather not.

Want to see more scenes from the AIDS/LifeCycle 7? Check out the photos on the following pages, all courtesy of AIDS/LifeCycle 7 staff. Want to see it all, including blog updates from the road, videos, and tons of photos? Check out the AIDS/LifeCycle Experience web site.

AIDS/LifeCycle Quick Links
    See RealJock members doing the AIDS/LifeCycle ride
  1. AIDS/LifeCycle official site—get daily updates, read blogs, and see photos and video
  2. San Francisco AIDS Foundation web site.
  3. LA Gay & Lesbian Center web site.