NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — A local group of cyclists is joining together and gearing up to fight an ongoing epidemic.
Next June, nine cyclists from Northwest Arkansas will travel all the way to California for a nearly 600-mile bike ride, all to combat HIV and AIDS.
“It’s something that we can take the right steps going forward to one day end AIDS altogether but just have to be a part of that and take the initiative to help each other out,” said Daniel Coleman, one of the cyclists.
The AIDS/Lifecycle Ride has been raising awareness about the HIV and AIDS epidemic since 1993. But next year will be the first time two local cyclists pedal past their own limits.
“I have not ridden anything quite like this before, this is a huge challenge,” Coleman said.
“We train, we have group rides…we ride probably about 20 to 50 miles, sometimes 60 or 70 miles a week,” said Maranda Moore, who is also participating in the ride.
Moore and Coleman are part of Team Walmart, which has already raised $24,000 ahead of next year’s ride.
“As a member of the gay community myself, I’ve seen how HIV and AIDS can really impact people’s lives firsthand and I wanted to do whatever I could to help and this was a great opportunity,” Coleman explained.
The team will bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles over seven days.
“I’m super nervous, it’s 545 miles and they have hills, California has different terrain than Arkansas,” Moore said.
Moore and Coleman say it’s worth the sweat if they can make a difference.
“Hearing people talk about being affected by it or families or loved ones being affected by it, you just want to reach out and help those people,” Moore said.
Coleman added, “Every bit helps and lets put an end to AIDS.”
Team Walmart hopes to raise more than $300,000 before the ride starts next June.