Bicyclists riding against AIDS

On Monday July 21 and Tuesday July 22, the 6th Annual Paradise Ride is scheduled to be held across Hawaii.

Bicyclists from all over the world are set to join Kauai bikers for a Westside ride through Poipu to Hanapepe.

Each rider in the event has raised at least $2,500 for Malama Pono on Kauai plus other AIDS agencies on Oahu and Maui. Funds raised help with the rising costs of HIV prevention and AIDS care in Hawaii.

Six Kauai cyclists have formed “Team Kauai” for training and fund raising. They are: Keoki Gosselin of Wind Deva, Wilcox Nurses Aide Edmon Battulayan, Kauai Community College instructor Jerry Hirata, Wilcox Hospital RN Ken Sherlock, Pharmacist Terry Taylor and St. Francis Home Care RN Ken Jopling.

Jopling said that on Paradise Ride, 2000 he met John Foust, a “Positive Pedaler,” bicycling for the exercise to boost his immune system in the fight against AIDS.

He and his partner Robert had planned to ride together, yet in 1999 Robert lost his battle with AIDS, Jopling said.

“He had encouraged John not to cancel his ride in Hawaii. We first met as John opened a box and cast some of Robert’s ashes into the winds of Makapuu Point on Oahu, our first rest stop. This ceremony was repeated on each island as the week continued.”

“With tears in our eyes we were reminded why we do this ride: the fight against AIDS is not over until no one dies and no one becomes infected with HIV,” he said.

The Paradise Ride has become the largest AIDS fund raiser in Hawaii, raising more than $1 million in five years.

The Kauai course winds down Kaumualii Highway past the Tree Tunnel to Waha Road to Kalaheo and on to Hanapepe on July 21 and back along the same route to Lihue on July 22. The riders plan to overnight at Salt Pond Beach Park in Hanapepe.

The event organizers are asking drivers to please slow down and share the road with the bikers who will be coming in from around the islands and the world.

Salt Pond Park overnight as Malama Pono hosts this community of caring cyclists on Kaua’i.

Volunteers are needed for the event, including people to prep the bikes for the cyclists arriving on Aloha Airlines, provide rest stops, serve meals and ensure safety along the route.

Malama Pono is welcoming local cyclists, and volunteers, to join on the Kauai route of the Paradise Ride and to help with the logistics of the event. For more information call Jessica at Malama Pono at 246-9577 Ext. 34 and request a Kauai Rider packet.

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