New routes means higher visibility for 2011 LSRFA

Even though Event Manager Jerry Calumn was told routing riders through Dallas and Fort Worth wasn’t possible, he refused to take ‘can’t’ for an answer

Calumn.Jerry
Jerry Calumn

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

When he took over as the new event manager of Lone Star RideFighting AIDS, Jerry Calumn started hearing about a number of things he “couldn’t do.”

For instance, LSRFA cyclists said they wanted people to come out and cheer them on. But the route the last few years has been mostly rural, and getting groups out was something Calumn “couldn’t do,” he was told.

Riders told him they wanted to ride where people would see them.

“Riders felt disconnected from the cities we serve,” Rider Retention

Co-Chair Michael Wilkesen said.

But changing the route was something Calumn was told he “couldn’t do,” because permits and other obstacles would make it too expensive and logistics would make it too hard.

But Calumn wasn’t willing to settle for “couldn’t do.” So through the summer, he worked quietly with Wilkesen, mapping out a new route and making plans to get people out to cheer on the riders.

The ride begins and ends again this year at the American Airlines

Training and Conference Center in North Arlington, as it has for the past few years. The difference this year is that instead of making loops northwest of the center on Saturday and southeast on Sunday through suburban and rural terrain, this year’s routes move through Fort Worth on Saturday and Dallas on Sunday.

“And you know what it cost us?” Calumn said. “Nothing. Not one damn penny.”

Calumn encouraged the community to come and cheer for riders and suggested some of the best times and places to do that.

The routes

Pit stops and lunch stops for the riders are great places for supporters to gather and cheer them on.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, Pit Stop 2 will be at the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth. Riders are expected through there between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Pit 3 is the lunch stop. That takes place at the Pour House on 7th Street between downtown Fort Worth and the Cultural District. Riders attempting the 100-mile “century” route to Eagle Mountain Lake must leave lunch by 11:30 a.m. Other riders may linger here until 2:30 p.m.

One of the highlights of the Fort Worth route will be 22 miles along the Trinity Trail. That scenic system of trails follows the Trinity River as it winds through the city. Riders will pick up the trail near Texas Christian University after the Rainbow Lounge pit stop, detour off the trail for about a mile for the lunch stop and then pick it back up for the ride around the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Wilkesen said that unfortunately the ride cannot go through the Stockyards because of the bike-unfriendly cobblestones in the area.

Day 2 takes riders through Irving to Dallas, then back to the American Airlines training center for closing ceremonies.

The first stop is the new Irving Convention Center.

“It’s an architectural gem sitting in the middle of Las Colinas,” Calumn said.

He said that Irving was excited about the ride coming through the city and was very helpful. Riders travel through Irving both in the morning and afternoon.

A highlight of the Sunday route will be riding through Oak Lawn. This will be the first time the ride has traveled down Cedar Springs Road.

Pit Stop 2 will be at Station 4. Most bike riders will pass Cathedral of Hope between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The church promised a cheering section as riders pass.

From there the route turns north on Turtle Creek Boulevard and crosses Highland Park before heading north to Webb Chapel Park.

The ride through Irving will be on the Campion Trail. “Irving invested well in its park system and it shows,” Calumn said.

He called the highlight of the afternoon the stop in North Lake Ranch Park, located on one of the highest points in north Dallas County and with a panoramic view of the area. Of course, for riders, that’s a mixed blessing: To get to the highest point means riding up hill. And the uphill ride comes in the afternoon after they have already pedalled more than 40 miles.

But once there, the ride back to base camp for closing ceremonies is mostly down hill.

Both Calumn and Wilkeson said they believe that the higher visibility of the routes this year will help with organizers’ ongoing efforts to grow the ride.

“With more visibility, we’ll get more riders,” Wilkesen said.

In a battle of Dallas vs. Fort Worth, Wilkesen suggested Irving wins as the city most aggressively interested in bringing the ride through town. He said the city even mapped a safe and scenic route for him, saving him a lot of time.

Calumn said Fort Worth has the most sophisticated plan to host groups like this. In Dallas he met with police, parks and events separately. He complimented each department for its cooperation.

But, he said, Fort Worth held one meeting with him that also included the health department.

“That way, police can talk to streets,” he said. “It’s very helpful.”

Closing ceremonies take place at the AATCC at 5 p.m. The Riderless Bike leads the procession as riders return and complete a year of fundraising that is expected to bring the total raised in event history to more than $2 million.

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS closing ceremonies, American Airlines Training and Conference Center, 4501 Highway 360 South, Fort Worth (just south of DFW Airport). 5 p.m. Everyone welcome.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Lone Star Ride set to pedal the Metroplex

Annual bike ride leaves from American Airlines conference center on Saturday and returns Sunday

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor nash@dallasvoice.com

READY TO RIDE  |  Volunteers pack goodie bags before the start of the 10th annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS. Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Services Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center will split the proceeds.
READY TO RIDE | Volunteers pack goodie bags before the start of the 10th annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS. Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Services Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center will split the proceeds.

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.

—  Kevin Thomas

LSR: It takes everyone’s effort to succeed

Brian Franklin Team Blazing Saddles

Brian Franklin

Push, push, push! Pedal for your life!

Well, that’s definitely the way it feels at times along the two-day, 150-mile bike ride across the Metroplex that is Lone Star Ride.

Last year was my second year to time in Lone Star Ride, and I didn’t have a doubt that I would be riding again this year, the 10th anniversary of the ride.

I first heard of LSR when my friend, Patrick Burton, told me he was riding and that I should come out to support him and share in the event.

I had been cycling for about a year and I had participated in other organized rides, so I thought I would check it out. I drove out to Glen Rose, which is where the overnight camp was in 2007, and quickly realized that this was not like any other ride I had ever experienced.

I knew the next day that I wanted to get involved in this event. In 2008, team Blazing Saddles was formed and it included myself and a small group of friends.

As a regular reader of the Dallas Voice, you already know that LSR brings people from across the community together for a common purpose. LSR is about raising money for local organizations that supply life-changing support to people living with HIV/AIDS and to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.

LSR is a two-day ride, but a team of people works year-round to make it the best ride it possibly can be for those that participate.

I have always been a rider, but many people participate as support crew. The LSR support crew is the best I have seen. These dedicated people work tirelessly behind the scenes and on the front lines to make it the best ride around.

The new ride route forms a figure eight across the Metroplex and features pit stops about every 10 miles. It is always exciting to ride into the next pit stop to see what crazy costumes the crew members are wearing. We saw everything from poly-blend pant suits at a disco-themed pit stop to a trailer park scene that seemed to be right off the set of “Sordid Lives.”

By the time we ride into the lunch pit stop, I am always looking forward to visiting the massage crew. They do a great job of getting the legs ready for the second half of the day.

The long day of riding makes for a big sense of accomplishment when we ride into camp at the end of day one. Rest and relaxation is all that’s required the rest of the day. Everyone comes together for dinner, entertainment and to share stories from the ride.

The morning of day two comes all too early, but a big cup of coffee, breakfast and some ibuprofen are just enough to get back on the bike.

The motor crews are a personal favorite of mine as they help direct us along the route, cheer for us and sweep us up if we need a break. It is the hard work of all the dedicated people that make up the various support crews that make the long ride fun and enjoyable.

Another thing that sets LSR apart from other rides I have participated in is the closeness of everyone involved. Becoming a part of LSR is becoming part of a large, extended family. Sure, there will be heat, head winds, hills, sore muscles and perhaps rain, but there is also beautiful scenery, good company and lots of great memories.

The ride concludes with all the cyclists riding in together to the closing ceremonies. The closing ceremonies are especially memorable and by the end I always realize that the fatigue and soreness is far outweighed by the sense of accomplishment that everyone who is part of LSR has achieved.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but who says it can’t be fun? It is rewarding knowing I am making a difference, knowing that others are directly benefiting from something I love to do.

As captain of team Blazing Saddles, I am proud that our team has raised more than $20,000 for LSR in just two years. Blazing Saddles is still a small team and we hope to increase our numbers. You can help.

You don’t have to be a seasoned cyclist. You just need a bike, a helmet, some good padded shorts and a good sense of humor.


To donate to Brian Franklin and Team Blazing Saddles, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 23, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

LSR: Don’t ride but wanna make a difference? Join the Crew

TERRY THOMPSON Team Dallas Voice

Terry Thompson - LSR Team Dallas Voice
Terry Thompson – LSR Team Dallas Voice

Lone Star Ride 2009 was an exciting year for me.

It was my first experience with this organization. I was not a bike rider then. And while I’ve since taken up the sport and will participate this year as a rider, I’d like to focus this journal on the people who really make things tick: The Crew.

As someone who didn’t even enjoy riding a bike last year, I wanted to find other ways to participate in Lone Star Ride.

As a member of Team Dallas Voice, I crewed our training rides. I had many opportunities to play host when riders met at our house before heading out. I sent them off with a wave and a smile and welcomed them back with mimosas and hot lunches.

When it came time for the actual ride, I was there with my camera, recording all of it as the ride’s official photographer. I did group shots in the pre-dawn, photographed crew, and documented pit stops. I rode shotgun in a convertible, rolling alongside riders, taking snapshots as I worked to capture the magic of the ride. And in the process of pitching in and helping, I grew to love this organization and all it stands for.

By the closing ceremony, I’d really begun to take in just how many talents were engaged to manage and facilitate a ride this big. Before, I thought of LSR as people riding bikes. Now, I see it a larger and far more diverse group of not only the obvious — riders on bikes — but also of a talented army of support people we call Crew.

Long before the first biker arrives, and long after the last biker leaves, there are Crew.

There are Crew that set up the registration, the camp, the gear, the ceremonies. There are Crew that deliver and set up the pit stops, Crew that deliver snacks, lunch and drinks to the stops, Crew that serve it to the riders, Crew that return and take down the stops. There are Crew that mark the route, Crew on motorcycles giving direction and encouragement, Crew in trucks and vans that pick up riders when they need assistance, and Crew that repair bikes to get riders back on the road. There are Medical Crew and Massage Therapy Crew. There are Ceremonies Crew and Event Management Crew. There are Traffic Crew and Bike Parking Crew and even Cheerleader Crew. And, of course, there’s Crew to pack it up for next year.

I think this just may be the year for you to Crew! The fact that you don’t ride a bike is no reason to avoid being a part of this year’s ride. Honey, if you want to participate, trust me, they have a job for you! And by time it’s all over for another year, you’ll feel proud to have participated in this honorable event benefiting AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County, AIDS Services of Dallas, and Resource Center Dallas.When is the last time you did something that you felt genuinely proud of?

We all have lost friends to HIV/AIDS. We all want to be a part of the solution, to engage, and the make this place we call home a better place. We all have a reason to participate.

Make this year the year you joined in. Go to LoneStarRide.org and check out the possibilities.

Terry Thompson is a member of Team Dallas Voice. You can contribute to him or to any other Lone Star Ride participant online at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 9, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens