A few weeks ago I posted an awesome video of the AIDS Lifecycle, California Girls style.
AIDS Lifecycle is “a 7-day, 545 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that raises money and awareness for the HIV and AIDS services of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.”
I am really pleased to share an interview with Matt B. who helped created the video, and was a roadie on ride.
1. How did you get involved with the ALC?
I was introduced to the AIDS/Lifecycle (ALC) back in 2006 through my husband, Daniel, who was at the time training for his 6th ride. I experienced the excitement of the riders and roadies by attending that year’s kick-off at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and knew then that I wanted to get involved the following year. With that, I signed up for ALC 6 in 2007 as a roadie and was assigned to one of the support road teams, called the “Water Stop.”
2. We hear about the cyclists, but it’s the roadies that make the magic happen. What is it like to be a roadie? What do you love about it? What gets under your skin?
The life of a roadie really is specific to the job that you do. There are camp teams that support riders & roadies in camp, road teams that support the riders on the road and even some teams that never get to see the riders, but are essential to livelihood of the ride.
Being a part of the roadie team “Rest Stop 4”, which is a road team that supports the final stop of each day, is quite an adventure. Our day begins at about 6:00am each day waking up, eating breakfast, packing up our gear, taking down the tent and getting on the road by 7:00am. We then drive to our stop for the day arriving usually around 8:30am. Over the next two hours our team of 15 sets up bike parking, signs, cones, tents, chairs, tables, makes gatorade, cuts up fruit and arranges snacks for the riders. We then decorate our stop in the theme of day which includes flyers on the tents, flyers on the port-o-potties, a configurable stage, and other props and accessories. The final touch is our costumes which can be anything from rugby players to airline flight attendants.
For the seven hours that our stop is open for the riders, we keep food & water stocked and provide some tongue & cheek entertainment for them to continue on their journey. The thing I like most about my roadie job is being able to see, greet and interact with all of the riders passing by. What gets under my skin is the fact that that interaction with everyone is such short-lived because of the volume of people coming through.
3. You mentioned for Year 5 you are going to bike the ALC, but you are nervous about that. Why are you nervous?
For some reason I have a fear of being hit by a car. I grew up riding a bike and am not a nervous person, so I know I’ll get through it once I get acclimated to my bike. Other than that I’m really excited to experience the ride from the other side… on my bike!
4. Tell us about the inspiration behind the awesome “California Gurls ALC parody” video.
I became friends over the past year with the ALC videographer Derrick Shore, after meeting him on last year’s ride. Before this year’s ride, he approached me asking if I wanted to be a part of a video idea he and rider Jeremy Blacklow had. Knowing that there was going to be wigs, heels & dresses involved I obviously accepted his offer. The inspiration behind the video is simply to promote the AIDS/Lifecycle and spread awareness; promoting the cause, exhibiting the fun & hard work that goes into the ride, and to give people a little glimpse into the overall vibe of the ride.
5. Any advice for people who want to ride/roadie the ALC?
Sign up early! This year, being ALC 10, is somewhat of a “Reunion Year”, and I know that there are already higher numbers of people signed up. Also, prepare to have a life changing experience. In addition to the training and physical challenge that 545 miles brings, the ride is a community of people coming together for a common cause and a common goal. It’s hard work, physically & emotionally draining, but all worth it!
Thank you, Matt, for writing such inspirational responses!! My sister and I are going to ride ALC10, and our mom is going to be a roadie. Hope to see you out on the road, and I am sure you won’t become car-roadkill.
For all those interested in the ride (maybe we can get together Team ThrownChain?), please check out Aids Lifecycle . Org.