“Susie Sunglasses” Sandstrom – CEO, SZIOLS America

LSR - “Susie Sunglasses” Sandstrom

“Susie Sunglasses” Sandstrom

What is Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS about?

It’s not about the bike, even though you can ride as little or as much as you want to be a participant in this event. Go as extreme as you want.

It’s not about the spandex, even though they say “one size fits all” (all of what?!).

It is mind over matter: If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. It’s about focus. It’s about vision. It’s about the practice.

It’s about the camaraderie and the commitment to unabashedly raise funds for three very important organizations that benefit in a Texas-sized way from Lone Star Ride.

And LSR makes it this easy: Start today by adding the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS boundlessFUNDRAISING application to your Facebook page, and you can extend your fundraising efforts to your networks of friends on Facebook.

SZIOLS is focused on being an active participant at the many LSR-sponsored training rides scheduled before the actual crowning glory/10th anniversary event on Sept. 25-26. And, that is all about serendipity.

One day in February, I randomly popped into a Starbucks, in an obscure, for me, neighborhood.

I’m guilty, as charged, of eavesdropping on the conversation at the next table. But I couldn’t help but overhear Arlen Miller’s amazing, heartfelt sponsorship sales pitch regarding the Lone Star Ride.

And it was game on!

“Excuse me, I really hate to interrupt, but can I accept your sponsorship offer for this year’s event,” I asked. The intended/scheduled sponsor immediately handed me the official sponsor package. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Nearly three years ago, I felt “the need for speed” and bought a bicycle. During training for the 1984 Olympic marathon, a bone chip lodged in my knee and triggered an onslaught of problems. Infection and three weeks in the hospital dashed my running dreams but opened the door for a new connection and opportunity. I fell in love and started a family.

Fast-forward two decades later to grown and graduated sons, a marriage in meltdown and a spontaneous invitation to participate in an eight-day bike trek in Germany. And another moment of serendipity led me to Sziols sports sunglasses.

In 2000, German athlete Beate Gabelt designed SZIOLS sunglasses and founded the company. After breaking one too many pairs of sunglasses, she began her search for a super-lightweight, flexible-yet-sturdy fiber which could be used to make a sunglass frame that could withstand use and abuse by a sporting, rugged individual.

She “reverse-engineered” what she was looking for and came up with SZIOLS (pronounced “shields”).

Immediately the potential of the advanced technology literally struck me right between the eyes. That week I became the sole North American distributor.

I believe — and experts agree — that these sports glasses are saving eyes, by shielding them from harmful UV rays and from projectiles and other injury-causing factors.

And I know that Lone Star Ride is saving lives and enhancing the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS.

You can see it and believe it and be part of it, too. Sign up with me and my team, “Practice Safe Specs,” at SusieSunglasses.com to ride or to crew for Lone Star Ride. And if you can’t do that, then donate to someone else who is a rider or a crewmember.

Either way, you can help change lives — including yours.

Susie Sunglasses and SZIOLS America are sponsors of the 10th annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS. For more information about the company or to sign up to ride with Team Practice Safe Specs, go online to SusieSunglasses.com. Sandstrom is offering a $50 discount on SZIOLS sunglasses — frames and lenses — to anyone participating in Lone Star Ride, and in addition has pledged $50 from every sale to Lone Star Ride.

To register for Lone Star Ride or to donate to a Lone Star Ride participant, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 18, 2010.