O.C. ride to support HIV, AIDS help

Saturday will mark the first Ride for AIDS event in Orange County. Although the ride is familiar to San Francisco and Los Angeles bicyclists, tomorrow will be the first riding event in the O.C. to raise money for the fight against HIV and AIDS.

There are two rides, a 100-mile ride and a 62-mile ride. They span Mission Viejo, Irvine, Santiago Canyon, Tustin, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach, among other points. The ride starts and ends at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.

The Ride for AIDS organization is known for its week-long ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which raises thousands of dollars for two organizations, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.

Phil Yaeger, executive director of the AIDS Services Foundation of Orange County, feels that locals want more awareness in the Orange County area.

Yaeger said that, every day, one person in Orange County becomes infected with HIV.

"Many Orange County riders felt that they wanted to raise money that would stay here in Orange County and provide support services to the men and women (here) living with HIV and AIDS," he said.

The foundation has already raised $60,683 and ride organizers anticipate more in the days surrounding Saturday's ride.

"I'm very pleased with the amount raised for an inaugural event," he said. "I think that there's huge potential for this event to easily double in size by next year. If each rider that has a good time this year brings a friend next year, then we've doubled the participation."

For more information about the event, visit the OC AIDS Ride website at ocrideforaids.com

—Joanna Clay

If You Go

What: Inaugural Orange County Ride for AIDS

Where: Starts and ends at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo

When: 5:30 a.m. to the closing ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

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