Annual bike ride leaves from American Airlines conference center on Saturday and returns Sunday
Tammye Nash | Senior Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Close to 200 bicyclists will be pedaling their way across the Metroplex this weekend, supported by about the same number of crew members staffing pit stops, sweep vehicles, the moto crew and other support positions, as part of the 10th annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.
The ride again benefits three DFW AIDS service organizations: AIDS Services of Dallas, Resource Center Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center of Fort Worth.
Laura Kerr and John Tripp, LSR co-chairs, said Monday, Sept. 20, that they were pleased with how smoothly the final stages of preparations were going, thanks to the efforts of the Lone Star Ride council and committee chairs.
“I’m really not stressed at all, thanks to these people,” Kerr said with a sweep of her arm, indicating council members and committee chairs who had gathered at Resource Center Dallas to fill “goodie bags” that will be handed out to riders and crew members. “This council has exceeded all our expectations.”
Tripp agreed. “This council has done an amazing job this year,” he said. “They have stayed focused on doing what they set out to do, and they have accomplished their goals.”
Tripp said organizers had reached their primary goals for the 10th anniversary of the fundraising ride.
“We wanted to grow the ride, and we did that. We wanted to register more riders this year, and then we wanted to retain more riders throughout the year, and we have done that. I think we are in very good shape,” he said.
Kerr explained that more than 200 people had registered over the past 12 months as riders. In the past, as many as 25 percent of those who registered to ride eventually dropped out or switched over to crew positions before the day of the ride.
But this year’s rider retention rate, she said, is much higher.
Kerr and Tripp credited that to Michael Mack and Dennis Pilgrim, co-chairs of the rider retention committee.
Pilgrim and Mack, both in their second year as riders with LSR, said they had created a training program that included non-crew-supported rides each Tuesday and Thursday, giving registered riders the opportunity to train alongside each other and get used to riding in a group.
That program, the two men said, has helped keep registered riders involved and interested.
Pilgrim and Mack are also co-captains of the Positive Pedalers team for LSR, a group of HIV-positive cyclists and crew members participating in the event. Mack said the Positive Pedalers team this year includes 21 riders and crew members, the largest Pos Pedalers team every in LSR.
The ride begins at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, with cyclists leaving base camp, set up at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center — located at 4501 Hwy. 360 S. in Fort Worth — and riding northwest to Haslett, before circling back to end at the training center. Day two on Sunday again begins with ride out at 7 a.m., only this time riders head southeast to Ovilla before circling back.
On Saturday, riders have three route options: a century ride that covers 100 miles, a 75-mile route and a 45-mile route. The two longer routes include a pit stop at the offices of AIDS Outreach Center at 400 North Beach Street in Fort Worth.
Sunday riders can choose either the 75-mile or the 45-mile route.
On Saturday night, there will be dinner and entertainment at the AA training center, and guests are invited to attend.
Guests are also invited to come out and help cheer the riders on during both days of the ride.
Two cheering stations will be set up on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s stations include one at the American Airlines training center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and one at AIDS Outreach Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday’s cheerings stations are at the training center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and at Texas Plume Road, across from Lorch Park, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For details, go online to LoneStarRide.org.
Non-ride participants are also encouraged to attend closing ceremonies on Sunday, beginning at 5 p.m., at the training center.
Kerr and Tripp both noted that anyone who has not yet registered and wants to participate has until 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, to sign up. In addition to online registration, potential participants can attend the pre-ride spaghetti dinner being held at Resource Center Dallas and register there.
To register as a rider, individuals must pay a $75 registration fee and raise at least $500 in donations. To register as a crewmember, individuals must pay a $50 registration fee. Crew positions are still available.
David Mineheart, LSR event manager, also encouraged people to participate in some way in the ride.
“The bottom line is that this even raises money for people who really need the help and rely on it,” Mineheart said. “Plus, Lone Star Ride is just lots of fun. It creates an energy that is just amazing. Anybody who has ever been there knows what I am talking about, and if you haven’t been there, you should come and see for yourself.
“This is about people of all types, from all walks of life, coming together to help with something that is bigger than themselves,” he added. “We are talking about giving and having fun. That’s what Lone Star Ride is all about.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2010.