May 21, 2004  




Cycling for Charity

By Linda DuShane White

If a co-worker asked you to take a week and cycle to L.A. with him, you might think he was joking. But for Neal Adams (SCS), a SLAC employee for 28 years, and Karl Amrhein (SCS) at SLAC for 3 years, June 6-12 will find them doing just that. AIDS/Life Cycle 3 is a 585 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a joint project to benefit the HIV and AIDS programs of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.

Karl Amrhein (l) and Neil Adams (r) (Photo by Diana Rogers)

Adams made a similar trek in 2001. “I wanted to do something I’d never done before, riding hundreds of miles and training for that.” Adams says that although he knew AIDS was a good cause, once he became more involved with the group and met people during the training rides the cause took on a deeper meaning for him.

Each rider pledges to raise $2,500. According to Adams funding for AIDS research has dwindled in recent years.

This will be the first AIDS fundraising ride for Amrhein, an experienced long distance cyclist. “My wife kind of talked me into it. She is going to be a volunteer roadie on the Medical Team.”

Amrhein’s most challenging ride to date was one he took a few years ago. He rode 200 miles with a group from Seattle to Portland, then continued on his own for 900 more miles. For the two weeks it took to get from Portland to the Bay Area, he rode pulling a trailer with his camping gear, just for the adventure of it. Amrhein was low key about his accomplishment. “It’s a cycling route down the coast. There are some hills.”

All Experience Levels

The 1,900 riders range from novice cyclists to experienced racers. Some have lost family or friends to AIDS and wear photos on their backs in memoriam. Others have themselves been diagnosed with HIV and are in the ‘Positive Pedalers’ group.

The logistics for an undertaking on the scale of AIDS/Life Cycle 3 are mind boggling. A team of several hundred volunteers see that the cyclists have everything they need. Adams describes it as “a rolling city” and Amrhein adds, “Beside the riders there is the infrastructure to support the riders, people who set up and clean up the camp, the lunch stops, 24 hour medical team with doctors, nurses and staff to assist in everything from bee stings to dehydration and more serious stuff.”

Adams describes the lifeblood of the road trip: trucks. A caravan of trucks carries gear; kitchen trucks bring hot meals; semi-trucks have “Nice, hot showers all built in.”

The riders’ only responsibility is to set up their own tents each night and, “To get 80 miles down the road.”

Those interested can check on the progress of this pair and/or pledge support at:

Neal Adams’ ALC3 Web Page:

Karl Amrhein’s ALC3 Web Page:


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Last update Thursday May 20, 2004 by Emily Ball