The Smart Ride has been postponed until the first quarter of 2018 due to hurricane Irma. The annual two-day 165-mile bicycle ride from Miami to Key West had been scheduled to take place Nov. 17-18.
“The storm caused significant damage to the Keys and affected all of our benefiting agencies in some capacity,” said Glen Weinzimer, founder of the ride. “The safety of our participants remains our first concern.”
Weinzimer had many concerns such as the resources in the Keys, debris left on the road, and damage to the national parks.
“On top of that we need overnight housing in the Marathon area and right now every hotel is temporarily closed,” he said.
Another concern – rotting seaweed.
Weinzimer said after Hurricane Wilma in 2005 participants were hit with the stench of rotting seaweed, which made it hard to ride with the windows up, let alone on a bicycle.
“We know that the Smart Ride has to happen in the first quarter in order to provide the funding to our benefitting agencies that already budget money from this event,” he said. “But now is not the time to try and squeeze more money out of our community that has dug so deep to help friends and family, as well as themselves, to meet unexpected expenses from preparing for the storm, and of course the aftermath, replacement and repair of so much. It would be irresponsible for any nonprofit in our community to ask for things that do not ultimately help individuals meet their basic needs.”
But just because the event is postponed doesn’t mean riders should stop training.
“We have encouraged our participants to continue to train, because it is great for stress, it’s great for their overall health, it helps the endorphins and of course because we will ride soon,” he said. “Being on the road also continues to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.”
Weinzimer hopes to have a special event planned for the original weekend of Nov. 17-18 to help refocus this year’s riders.
Visit TheSmartRide.org for more information.