Ride Along ? It?s Not a Race, Organizers Say AIDS Bicycle Challenge Faces a Critical Moment

Josh Strodtman and Michael Lintecum, co-producers of the 2007 AIDS Bicycle Challenge (ABC), are optimistic that they?ll increase ridership to well over 100 people this year, up from the 62 riders in 2006. This will be the second year of the AIDS Bicycle Challenge in Kansas City. In 2005, the ride was actually called the AIDS Bicycle Tour and held on the Katy Trail in midstate Missouri. The ride was moved to the Kansas City area in 2006 to increase the number of riders and raise more money.
This year is critical to the future of the AIDS Bicycle Challenge.
?I think we?re going to do well enough to continue,? said Lintecum. But he also said the ride had to show growth in riders and money raised to justify the expense and the amount of volunteer time spent. Patti Abshier and Ken Johnson are co-chairs of the event, and members of the AIDS Walk steering committee have also helped out.
Strodtman and Lintecum are quick to point out that this is a fundraising bicycle ride, not a race. Three distances are offered: 10 miles, 18 miles and 35 miles. The 10-mile ride is totally flat and for the average rider takes an hour or less.
Riders can register individually or as part of a team by picking up a pledge form at area bicycle stores, downloading a pledge form or registering online at their website
?I think last year we saw a few teams, but this year we have many more,? Strodtman said. Hope Care Center, KCFitness, Unity and State Street are among the teams already registered.

?People meet their buddies and friends out there,? said Lintecum.
He and Strodtman credited the training rides they established this year for introducing new people to ABC. So far the two have not seen a lot of crossover between the thousands of people who walk in AIDS Walk and those who ride in ABC. ?There?s not a lot of transference,? said Lintecum, who inferred that might be because many of the walkers don?t have bikes or haven?t ridden in some time. Lintecum and Strodtman both said that some people have the misconception that the bicycle ride is only for athletes.
?They still think they have to be trained professional riders,? Lintecum said.
?If a rider feels the ride is too much for them, they do not need to complete it,? Strodtman said.
As with AIDS Walk and the previous AIDS Bicycle Challenge, riders can raise money through FirstGiving on the AIDS Walk Kansas City Web site, www.aidswalkkansascity.org. Both Strodtman and Lintecum credit the First Giving online fundraising as a tremendous boost to those raising money.
They both want people to know that this is an easy, fun ride and a way to help raise important funds for the AIDS Service Foundation?s needs in greater Kansas City.
?Everyone likes the trail,? said Strodtman, referring to the Mill Creek Streamway Trail in Shawnee, where the 2006 ABC was also held. The co-chairs, Ken Johnson and Patti Abshier, planned the routes for all three rides in conjunction with Lintecum and Strodtman. Unlike the more urban PrideRides of years past that rode through city streets and evolved into the AIDS Bicycle Challenge, ABC holds its rides on bicycle paths for safety reasons. They are not locked into the Mill Creek Streamway trail, said Strodtman, when thinking about future rides. ?There might be thoughts about bringing it to another trail closer in like the Tomahawk Creek trail.?
?There will a lot of fun at the events site,? said Lintecum. They?ll be providing a barbecue and games for the riders, any children and guests who aren?t riding.
Sponsorships are doing well and they?re still seeking sponsors, even as of this date, three weeks away from the Oct. 6 ride. They?ll be hosting a Texas Hold?em tournament fundraiser at bar Natasha on Sept. 22, and every Saturday night at Missie B?s during the Flo Show, Flo will be selling raffle tickets for a bicycle donated by Trek Bicycles of Kansas City. Flo will also host another fundraiser for ABC on Sunday, Sept. 30. Through the ride, pledges, sponsorships and fundraisers, they hope to raise more than $20,000 this year.
Riders from other cities are encouraged to participate. Last year they had riders from Springfield, Mo., and Leavenworth, Kan. The host hotel for anyone visiting is the Seville Plaza Hotel, 4309 Main, KCMO, (816) 561-9600 with an AIDS Bicycle Challenge room rate of $89/night.
Strodtman and Lintecum are also gearing up for the April 2008 AIDS Walk. This will be the 20th year of AIDS Walks in Kansas City, and they hope to raise a half-million dollars. The 2007 AIDS Walk raised $440,000. Their first event will be a BeerFest at the Legends Shopping Center on Saturday, Oct. 20.
?We?re excited now -- all the marketing pieces and posters are ready to go up and announce it,? said Strodtman. ?We?re going to be out at different events in the city, Plaza Art Fair, First Fridays in the Crossroads, the Legends on the weekends, selling tickets and promoting the event.? They will also be organizing the Nov. 30 World AIDS Day reception, held again at the Hotel Phillips in downtown Kansas City.
Lintecum and Strodtman also manage events for other groups through the company, The Lintecum Group, such as the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Foundation, Truman Heartland Community Foundation, Synergy Services and the Airline History Museum. In fact they?re doing a special event for the Airline History Museum in the evening of Oct. 6, the same day as the AIDS Bicycle Challenge, featuring John Travolta. They also do development work for the Heartland Men?s Chorus.
Even if a person can?t ride, Lintecum and Strodtman said, he or she can still donate to the AIDS Bicycle Challenge by sending checks to Box 32192, Kansas City, Mo. 64171, or calling 816-931-0959. They?re also looking for volunteers for this year?s ride or planning and co-chairing next?s year ride, as well as other AIDS Walk activities.
?We really want people to come out and have a great time,? Strodtman said.
Upcoming Events for the AIDS Bicycle Challenge and AIDS Walk
AIDS Bicycle Challenge
Sept. 20. ABC Training Ride, 6 p.m. Trolley Track Trail, Kansas City. Meet on the Trail at Aixois at 55th St. and Brookside Blvd.
Sept. 22. ABC Training Ride, 9 a.m. Mill Creek Streamway Trail. (see directions under AIDS Bicycle Challenge below)
Sept. 22. Texas Hold?em Tournament. 2 p.m. bar Natasha, 1911 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. Registration $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event. To register go to: www.firstgiving.com/ddpl2008.
Oct. 6. AIDS Bicycle Challenge. Registration 8 a.m. Ride begins at 9 a.m. Mill Creek Streamway Trail. The ride will begin and end at the Barker Road Access Point to the Mill Creek Streamway Trail in Shawnee, KS. The Barker Road Access point is one mile north of Shawnee Mission Parkway, at 5946 Barker Rd., near the Mid America Sports Complex.
Oct. 20. KC BeerFest, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The Legends at Village West, Kansas City, Kan. Proceeds raised by the KC BeerFest benefit the Kansas City Free Health Clinic and the AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Tickets are $20 if purchased by Oct. 19 and $25 the day of the event. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.kcbeerfest.com or contact Joe Bellinger at 816-777-2764.
Nov. 30. World AIDS Day Reception. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Hotel Phillips, 106 W 12th St., Kansas City, Mo.
For more information on all events call 816-931-0959 or e-mail: walk@aidswalkkansascity.org Information can be found at www.aidswalkkansascity.org.

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