Advertisement

Over the course of 20 rides, the SMART Ride has done more than raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS services in Florida. It’s built a community. Now the ride is ending, but the community pledges to pedal on. Over the past week, the six main benefitting agencies of the ride have begun collaborating to continue the legacy event. As I first reported, The SMART Ride decided to make next month’s ride the last – when Executive Director Todd Delmay left after nine months. They’re all facing huge budget holes once the funding goes away. One organization told me the loss could be the death knell for the group. Being a beneficiary isn’t a free ride, they’re all active participants, so the groups have worked together for years. Now they’re looking to continue the ride on their own. Can it be done? It won’t be easy. Currently the SMART Ride lines up sponsors so 100 percent of donations can go to the community. That’s almost impossible if the orgs go out on their own. Also: will SMART Ride organizers want it to continue? The beneficiaries quote founder and Queer News Tonight contributor Glen Weinzimer as saying, “One of the pillars of the ride is the commitment and camaraderie of the benefiting agencies. They hold the pieces to create a unified success.” But that’s hardly a full-throated endorsement, as he’s also said there were options to continue the ride, but he and the board didn’t want a ‘watered down’ version. Glen refused comment for this story. Whatever happens, it’s clear South Florida’s HIV/AIDS service organizations aren’t riding off into the sunset. You can read more of my coverage on the SMART Ride in Out South Florida, with a QR code linking you to all of our stories.