Glen Weinzimer was 32 years old when he found out he was HIV Positive. His doctor told him he wouldn’t live to see the end of the week. He did. Then he was told he wouldn’t make it to the end of the month. He did. He was continually told, year after year, that it would be his last. Until one day, 15 years ago, his disease was no longer detectable.
In the midst of his disease, Weinzimer was forced to retire in 1994. He started volunteering just to get out of the house, making his first AIDS ride appearance in 1996. While he didn’t ride that first year, he came back the second year on a bike and every year through the last ride in 2001.
Two years later, Weinzimer’s own The SMART Ride was born — a ride (not race) from Miami to Key West. Now he wants to give The SMART Ride a little sister, Bike It For Life.
On May 11, the first Bike It For Life kicks off in Fort Lauderdale at The Pride Center. While SMART Ride is geared toward more advanced riders, Bike It For Life targets less experienced riders with “passion.”
“ aren’t necessarily professionals,” Weinzimer said. “They just want to prove that AIDS isn’t bigger than they are.”
Bike It For Life lets riders choose a distance that is right for them: 15, 30, 60, or 100 miles.
Weinzimer said while The SMART Ride is an annual ride, there will be many Bike It For Life rides around the state of Florida each year. The first, in Fort Lauderdale, wasn’t a coincidence.
“We decided on doing the first one in Fort Lauderdale because we live here, we know the community,” Weinzimer said. “We know the benefiting agencies and can experiment with the event, fine-tune it.”
The Bike It For Life this year benefits the following agencies: The Pride Center, SunServe, Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center, and The Poverello Center Food Bank. While 100 percent of the proceeds will be going to all the agencies, 50 percent will be divided up equally and the other 50 percent will be dispersed among any or all of the agencies, however the donor chooses.
According to the Bike It For Life website, “If you decide that you want the remaining 50 percent to go to one agency, or if you want the second half to go to a combination of the chosen agencies, that’s how it will be divided.”
All agencies have teams riding in the event. As of press time, Pride Pack — The Pride Center’s team — has raised the most money for their team, with more than $2,000. To donate, you do not have to put your money into a team. The website allows donations to be raised individually, given to independent fundraisers, or teams competing in the ride.
The ride starts approximately at 6:37 a.m. on May 11. In celebration of Mother’s Day Weekend, riders are encouraged to invite their moms for a free brunch at The Pride Center after the ride. Weinzimer said he expected most riders to finish by 3 p.m. All riders who expect to go 100 miles will be fed “on the road,” that is, at a pit stop while they are riding.
There will be multiple stops and water stations up and down A1A for riders.
While The SMART Ride is for the more advanced rider, Weinzimer said Bike It For Life is for those who still want to ride, “but may not be able to enter the long trek down to Key West or they can’t raise the $1,200 required amount.”
If riders can pay the $50 to register and commit to raising $250, they’re in.
As Weinzimer continues to develop his local ride, he still plans to take Bike It For Life around the state.
“Our ideal goal would be to raise $50,000 and get 150-200 riders,” he said. “If we don’t get it, it won’t stop us from doing more rides.”
Plans are in the works for rides in Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Key West.Want To Ride?What: Bike It For Life
Where: Starts and ends at The Pride Center at Equality Park in Wilton Manors
When: May 11, 6:37 a.m. or near sunrise
How to Register: www.bikeitforlife.org