Until recently, Patrick Hamilton, his husband William Bullens, and their friend Eric Ellis didn’t even own road bikes, and weren’t distance cyclists by any means. But come June 2, they will set off on a 545-mile ride, AIDS/LifeCycle, to raise money to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Patrick Hamilton & William Bullens
Patrick Hamilton & William Bullens

According to AIDS/LifeCycle’s website, “It’s a life-changing ride—not a race—through some of California’s most beautiful countryside. AIDS/LifeCycle is co-produced by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation and is designed to advance their shared interest to reduce new HIV infections and improve the quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS.” Thousands are involved in raising funds through the event.

“We are a brand new team,” Hamilton said. “The three of us got to talking about the ride and decided to do it. None of us have done the ride before. In fact, none of us even had road bikes. But we have each heard that those who do the race call it ‘life changing.’ So we decided to create our team and do it!”

William Bullens
William Bullens

“We thought it would be a great experience personally,” he explained. He added, “We are also deeply committed to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We all have loved ones that have been impacted by the disease, so this ride is a great way to raise critically needed funds for HIV/AIDS-related services and bring to light the fact that HIV/AIDS is still a devastating disease in our society, particularly the LGBT community.”

They are clearly repping for Nashville as well: “Our team name is the Honky Tonk Angels. We wanted something fun that represented us and Nashville!”

Patrick Hamilton with his bike
Patrick Hamilton

Not having road bikes wasn’t the only obstacle the new team faces. And Mother Nature isn’t helping! “None of us are cyclers at all! William and I own a pair of mountain bikes that we ride to Five Points area to visit the bars! [LOL] We are riding around Nashville when the weather allows, cross training at the gym, and praying for warmer weather and no rain soon so we can train even more. That is honestly one of our biggest challenges right now!”

The team has big milestones to hit, but bigger goals. “We each need to raise a minimum of $3,000 to participate in the ride, but we have each set a goal to raise more than that. As a team, we hope to raise $10,000 or more.”

Help these local advocates show California what Nashville is made of! You can choose which one(s) of them you’d like to support at their TEAM PAGE. Alternately, select:

Patrick Hamilton

William Bullens

Eric Ellis

 

For more on efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic here in Middle Tennessee, check out O&AN’s coverage of Nashville CARES!

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