When Glen Weinzimer, founder of the SMART Ride, was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS in 1993, he did not expect to be one of the lucky few who managed to survive.

Weinzimer converted his situation into a compulsion to support South Florida agencies that help people living with HIV/AIDS. He never dreamed that his creation, a 165 mile fund-raising bicycle ride from Miami to Key West would grow from its humble beginning— Weinzimer and a friend with a banner begging for contributions at the doors of gay bars—into an 11 year old annual event involving several hundred bike riders and an equally large support crew.

Weinzimer is justifiably proud of the fact that 100 percent of the funds raised by the SMART Ride go to the recipient organizations. In 2013, the tenth year of Smart Ride, that meant $1,070,101. Among the organizations supported is the Pride Center, in Wilton Manors, receiving $148,000 of the total raised in 2013.

Weinzimer gets emotional when he speaks of the overwhelming generosity of his supporters, and promises to continue with the annual SMART Ride until there is a cure for HIV/AIDS. SMART Ride 11 is scheduled for November 14-15, 2014. To register as a rider or crew, visit TheSmartRide.org

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