smartride2010-0
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smartride2010-0Southern Most AIDS/HIV Ride Twenty-Ten, or SMART Ride, is a 2 Day, 165 mile non-competitive bicycle ride from Miami to Key West being held November 18-20, 2010. This will be the 7th ride. The event is unique to fundraising in that they guarantee 100% of what the participants raise goes to charity. Since 2003, they have raised and returned more than $2.2 million to benefiting HIV/AIDS agencies.

 

smartride2010-1

Southern Most AIDS/HIV Ride Twenty-Ten, or SMART Ride, is a 2 Day, 165 mile non-competitive bicycle ride from Miami to Key West being held November 18-20, 2010. This will be the 7th ride. The event is unique to fundraising in that they guarantee 100% of what the participants raise goes to charity. Since 2003, they have raised and returned more than $2.2 million to benefiting HIV/AIDS agencies.

 

Benefiting Agencies are:

 

* AIDS Help – Monroe County

* Broward House – Broward County

* Comprehensive AIDS Program – Palm Beach County

* Miracle of Love – Central Florida

* Metropolitan Wellness & Community Centers – West Central Florida

* The Center for Positive Connections – Miami/Dade County

 

These agencies assist men, women and children of all ages that are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. With the assistance of SMART Ride funds they receive, direct services such as medical, medicine, pre-natal care, dental, case management, housing, food and emergency assistance are provided.

 

Whether as a rider, crew, sponsor or donor, SMART Ride creates ways that everyone can get involved and support the ride. (it is a ride, not a race) Participants are drawn from all over the State of Florida as well as across the country. SMART Ride is more than a ride, it is an experience.

 

Crew Manager Crici Stroy-Martin recently interviewed Crew Member Carmine Martorilli from Fort Lauderdale. Here are some insights to that interview:

 

I call Carmine the “Grandfather” of the SMART Ride because this feisty 75-year old has been with the Ride since the inception. This year, Carmine is serving on the Sweep Crew. This crew is responsible for picking up riders in distress and giving them a lift to the next pit stop. Those who are picked up by Carmine are always treated to a warm smile and good laugh as Carmine is known for his wild sense of humor.

 

Crici: So how did you get involved with the SMART Ride?

 

Carmine: I was involved with the Walgreen’s Red Ribbon Ride in 2000 and 2001, and again when Clear Channel took it over in 2002. Then, in 2004, Glen Weinzimer, SMART Ride Founder, approached me and some others who had been involved with those rides to help him with the first SMART Ride. So I was on that founding committee and the rest is history.

 

Crici: Why did you get involved?

 

Carmine: My partner of 19 years died of AIDS in 1991. And although I don’t know why, God spared me for a reason. I believe that reason is to help others so that they don’t have to go through the same suffering that Bill, and even I, went through in the 14 months leading up to his death. And the SMART Ride is one of the ways that I can do that.

 

Crici: A lot of people are surprised when you tell them that you’re 75 years old, because you have so much vim and vigor about you.

 

Carmine: Honey, as long as I am able, I will continue to be active. And that includes participating in the SMART Ride. I plan on living until I’m at least 100, so you have me for 25 more years of SMART Rides.

 

Crici: Carmine, why do you continue to participate in the SMART Ride?

 

Carmine: The SMART Ride is very addicting. Do it once and you will see. I have met so many wonderful people over the years. I love seeing my old SMART Ride friends as well as meeting new people. I tell you, the people from the SMART Ride are like my family and I enjoy seeing them each year. I also love the feeling that doing the SMART Ride gives me. It gives me a real sense of accomplishment. If I keep plugging away I feel like I’ve done some good. And at the end of the ride, when everyone is on the pier, you know that you’ve done something that is going to make a difference, and I like being a part of that. I think that’s why I get so emotional at closing ceremonies.

 

Crici: If someone were to ask you, “Why should I get involved with the SMART Ride?” what would you tell them?

 

Carmine: I would tell them how the ride benefits the agencies and the people they serve. A co-worker once said to me, “There are simple things like food, shelter, medicine, that we take for granted, but the people we serve are so thankful for it when we help them. I hear them say things like, ‘if it weren’t for Broward House, I wouldn’t be alive.’ and it lets you know you’ve made a difference.” That is why you should get involved, because you can make a difference. At the closing ceremonies, when the final dollar amount is revealed, you can see the results of what you’ve done, whether you rode or helped the riders as a crew member. And you feel so fulfilled…I know I do.

 

smartride2010-2Rider Rep Coordinator Chris Halenar recently interviewed riders Charles and Linda Trivier from Fort Lauderdale.

 

If you were a rider in SMART Ride 6 you may remember the self-proclaimed “crazy man” in the red truck who parked on the side of the road, blasted music and cheered riders on to Key West. “Crazy Man” Charles Trivier launched his endless one-man cheering campaign to encourage and motivate his wife Linda who was a first-time Smart Rider in January’s event. January 2010 Smart Ride was the first-time introduction for both Charles and Linda. Ever since, they have been faithful and loyal advocates. Both are registered as riders for Smart Ride 7 and both have eagerly volunteered to be part of the Rider Representative team. I met with Charles and Linda to learn more about their involvement in the Smart Ride:

 

Chris: How did you discover the Smart Ride?

 

Linda: I have been riding and doing triathlons for a while. A member of my spinning class whose daughter is an employee of Broward House told me about the ride. I was interested from the start.

 

Charles: I didn’t ride in January and I didn’t know what to expect. I drove my truck down and began to meet all of the volunteers at the rest stops and major mile markers. It was a feeling of being instantly connected. I never expected anything like that.

 

Chris: And you are registered to ride this year. What made you decide to ride?

 

Charles: I turned 57 and had a bit of a mid-life crisis. I told Linda that I wanted a red convertible for my birthday. Instead, she bought me a red bike…I don’t have a choice. (laughing)

Chris: And how does a husband/wife team fundraise?

 

Linda: It was tough last year. We are both teachers and many of our friends were out of work. We were amazed that even though they were not working they still contributed to the event. It was incredible.

 

Charles: Linda even has a Smart Ride room in the classroom. The January event created such an emotional tie for me. I had my first fundraiser at The Naked Grape. The owners were great. They donated appetizers and allowed me to sing and play the guitar. I raised over $500 on a Tuesday night.

 

Chris: How does a straight couple feel about participating in an event that is perceived as a “gay event?”

 

Charles: The gay thing is not an issue. To us it is about the feeling of being part of a community…being part of a solution. For us, the Smart Ride never ended.

 

As you can see, our riders and crew are enthusiastic and dedicated to the HIV cause. Each individual finds their own way to get involved. So join us for the experience that is more than a ride. Go to TheSMARTRide.org to register today.

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