European AIDS Vaccine Ride 2002 journal

It was an incredible trip, both challenging and rewarding. We've tried to recreate that experience as much as possible. We've written about the trip and posted many of the photos taken.If you would like high resolution copies of any of the photos or would like to see more photos, email me and I'll do what I can.

prologue | training | getting there | Amsterdam
day zero | day one | day two | day three | day four | day five | day six | day seven
after the ride | Paris | Oxford & London (coming soon) | Reykjavik, Iceland (coming soon) | epilogue


It’s been just over three months since Sha and I pedaled into Paris, wet, cold, excited and relieved. A lot has happened since that time; I’ve started and finished contract work, we’ve re-established contact with friends, tried to catch up on our affairs. In other words, our lives have returned to normal.

What I haven’t done is write about the trip. Though some may find it hard to believe, there are a few things that I am a perfectionist about, things that are very important to me. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to tell the story. I won’t be able to find the words to describe the experience. There are some great photos on this site, but, as with any picture, it’s not the same as living it. I’m going to do my best, and hopefully you will get a sense of how amazing this experience was for us.
This was the hardest thing that Sharona and I have ever done, and perhaps, the most rewarding. Together, Sharona and I struggled for months to prepare ourselves physically, mentally, and financially to make it happen. We each had to overcome very difficult obstacles.

Before she started training, Sha had been suffering from a bursitis in her hip. She couldn’t even sit down comfortably. Her first “ride” was when her physical therapist put her on a stationary bike for five minutes. Throughout her training, she was constantly questioning whether or not she would be able to make it through Europe.

For me, the scary part of training was the fund raising. It’s very difficult for me to ask for money, even when I believe in the cause as much as I do with this one. The notion of raising $10,000 seemed impossible to me. As the ride was nearing, and we had about $6K in donations, Sha and I decided that if we didn’t raise enough money, she would ride and I would join the crew. In the end, the immense generosity of our donors brought in a total of almost $14,000. This site is dedicated to you, and to your immense compassion towards helping find a cure and save millions of lives. As much as I love these rides, I look forward to a time when they are no longer necessary. You have brought us that much closer.


It took a lot of work to prepare for the ride. We started with a 6-mile ride at the end of 2001, shortly after I had completed the Northeast AIDSRide. We increased our mileage slowly, to 8 miles, then 10, 12, 15, 20, until it got to cold to ride. While many cyclists do ride in the winter (and I do occasionally), the cold air is not good for Sharona’s asthma and it really requires a significant investment in the appropriate clothing that Sha wasn’t ready to make then. Little did we know that such an investment would have paid off.

We got a pair of trainers, which are devices that attach to the rear wheel of a bicycle and essentially turn it into a stationary exercise bike, so that Sha and I could keep cycling. We would use these from 3 to 6 times a week as the winter went on. We got a handful of Spinervals videos that lead you through some very demanding workouts in anywhere from 45-90 minutes.

As March rolled around, we started riding outdoors again. We rode with a group of other AIDSRiders every Saturday and Sunday, going from 30 to 70+ miles per day. The group was led by Bobby Mac, an inspiration himself, who has trained hundreds of riders for AIDSRides over the years. This is where the experience started to take shape.

Most of the people who participate in these rides are not hard-core cyclists to begin with. They are ordinary people who want to do something dramatic to help a cause that they believe in. Many people aren’t sure of themselves and have never attempted anything like this before. As the weeks progress, people start to transform. They get stronger. They ride farther than they ever have before. They ride a little faster. We all go through it together, week after week, and develop very strong bonds with each other. Bobby Mac has said that the training rides, and everything else leading up to the event, are the AIDSRide and the event itself is just the victory lap.

EAVR training photos