Bike riders all over Florida are training hard for a huge event – SMART Ride 2010. The SMART Ride (Southern Most AIDS/HIV Ride Twenty-Ten) is a two day, 165 mile non-competitive bike ride from Miami to Key West. Yes, you read that right, 165 miles!
The huge event, which will take place November 18th through the 20th, is for a good cause – 100-percent of the proceeds raised during SMART Ride go to HIV and AIDS charities. Proceeds are raised by participants getting sponsors. It costs $85 to register for the event and then riders commit to raise a minimum of $1,250 in donations. Since the first ride in 2003, more than $2.2 million
has been raised and given to those organizations.
The charities which benefit from SMART Ride include AIDS Help in Monroe County, Broward House in Broward County, Comprehensive AIDS Program in Palm Beach County, Metropolitan Wellness & Community Centers in West Central Florida, Miracle of Love in Central Florida, and The Center for Positive Connections in Miami/Dade County.
The organizations receive funds that go towards medicine, dental care, pre-natal care, case management, housing, food and emergency assistance.
You can still help out even if you aren’t in shape to ride a bike 165 miles.
“There are many ways to get involved,” SMART Ride Director David Spacht said. “You can be a rider, a crew member, a sponsor or a donor.”
Right now, a little over 500 participants, including registered riders and crew, are signed up for the SMART Ride. Spacht said that he would like to hit half a million in donations.
“Right now, we’re roughly at $300,000 and then our corporate matching grants come after,” he explained.
The crew members are just as important as the riders. There are 200 crew members signed up now to help with dining, massage, medical help, trash and recycling, to help with the bikes if there is a problem and to generally cheer on the riders.
“Eighty-percent of our riders have never ridden that distance before, so to see all those people cheering and motivating, it’s inspiring to the rider,” said Spacht.
This is Spacht’s third year as Ride Director, but his fourth year being involved. His first time was waiting for his boyfriend at the end of the ride in Key West.
“I was so impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm and the participation from the riders and crew,” Spacht said. “They were so passionate.”
“That’s one of many things that makes SMART Ride so unique,” he continued. “The commitment from the sponsors, crew and donors – without them there’s no way we could accomplish it.”
If you can’t make the event, you can still donate to the dedicated riders. Visit TheSMARTRide.org to be a sponsor.