This year’s Smart Ride raised the most amount of money in its 15-year history with a record breaking $1.171 million. This year’s event crossed another milestone as well – topping $10 million in total money raised since the first ride took place in 2003.
“It’s just amazing that we’ve raised over $10.5 million and given back 100 percent of that money,” said Glen Weinzimer, founder of the ride.
The Smart Ride, an annual two-day 165-mile bicycle ride from Miami to Key West, raises awareness and money for HIV-related non-profits. This year the ride celebrated 15 years.
This was Julie Seaver’s first year riding.
“I wanted to ride because I knew others couldn’t. I’ll admit I cried over a few of those bridges, and yes I did crash with bruises that are still healing,” the Executive Director of Compass said. “But that’s just it, bruises and road rash heal. We are still healing from the stigma and fight against HIV/AIDS. I pedaled every single mile for friends and clients we have lost over the years, and they were truly with me the entire way.”
This year 416 riders took part with 280 crew members taking care of the logistics.
Weinzimer said next year’s event is already off to a good start with 200 riders and crew members already signed up. Normally only about 100 have registered at this point.
“That’s already a third of our goal,” he said. “Hopefully we can spend more time on fundraising and training and less time on recruitment.”
Seaver is one of those that has already signed up for next year.
There's that indescribable feeling when you finally get to Key West High School and everyone is waiting to cheer you in, waiting together, so we can ride to the closing ceremonies together,” she said. “The family we have built with the Smart Ride, other agencies, donors, crew and riders, and the overwhelming feeling of one team accomplishing something truly amazing together is why I signed up for next year.”
Next year’s Smart Ride will take place Nov. 15-16. Visit TheSmartRide.org for more information.