I came out in the late 1980s, only a few years after the Dallas Voice began publishing, and have followed news of our community in its pages ever since. I eagerly sat down with the Voice’s 25th anniversary issue the weekend it appeared, looking forward to remembering events and people from the years the Voice and I had shared.
To my surprise, the article that ultimately got my attention wasn’t about an event from the past, but rather a challenge to be part of an event in the future. It was the first installment in this Lone Star Ride Journal series.
So instead of giving me a leisurely look back, that 25th anniversary issue of the Voice launched me forward to a new goal and challenge.
At the time, I was already trying to bike regularly so as to get more exercise, and I was feeling a strong desire to do something for the LGBT community as well. It seemed that the Lone Star Ride was a good fit.
Even so, when I signed up for the ride, I wasn’t sure I could actually bike 160 miles over two days or raise money doing it. But experienced riders and crew all said "Yes, you can do it!"
Instead of listening to the doubts in my head, I plunged forward, started biking more on my own and participated in group training rides. Now, several weeks and 275 miles later, I know that I can do this.
I enjoy the sense of accomplishment when I complete increasingly longer rides and put more miles on my bike each week. I’ve faced my discomfort in asking people for money and started fundraising. I’m committed to raising all the money I’ve pledged for the groups Lone Star Ride supports and completing the 160 mile ride.
And when I’m riding this September, I will remember friends I’ve lost to HIV/AIDS that I would have enjoyed sharing this experience with.
And it’s not too late for you to join in. The Lone Star Ride has room for more riders and for crew members to support us as we pedal across North Texas this September. Or if someone you know is riding and asks for your financial support, I encourage you to be generous.
I know we can’t all ride a bike for 160 miles, but one thing I’ve learned since joining the Lone Star Ride, in addition to the importance of padded bicycle shorts, is that we can all benefit from setting new goals and challenging ourselves to do something we didn’t think we could do.
Furthermore, the LGBT community has many needs, and each of us has something to contribute if we make a commitment to support some of the many worthwhile organizations in our community.
During its first 25 years the Dallas Voice has reported the great progress the LGBT community has made, in spite of many obstacles, through the efforts of numerous individuals. So whether it’s riding a bike for two days, working a pit stop along the ride, or something else entirely, each of us can get involved and help make our next 25 years of history.
The Lone Star Ride Journal will appear weekly in Dallas Voice through Sept. 25, the Friday preceding the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS on Sept. 26-27.
For more information on Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, or to donate to Team Dallas Voice, a Team Dallas Voice member or any other rider or team, go online to LoneStarRide.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 10, 2009.