February 16, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 07
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Tuesday, Aug 11, 2020



Tour De Life by Beau Burriola
A new ride
I opened another one of the never-ending stack of boxes I packed hastily when I moved out of my apartment. I really suck at packing, so I usually end up with boxes full of stacks of loose papers, rolls of undeveloped film, bits of wadded or unmatched clothing, old greeting cards and random dishes; all thrown in together and without much organization or method involved.

In the bottom of an old box, next to two condoms and a broken colored pencil, I found my old AIDS ride journal, a collection of letters, personal stories, and pictures that folks sent me when I was training every day for the European AIDS Vaccine Ride, almost five years ago to the day, and also right when I began writing this here column in this here queer fish wrapper. The journal's cover is stained with marker, ink, some random scratches, and a few pages are stuck together with what I think may have been lube, but seeing it had me sitting on the cold, dirty floor of my storage room for almost an hour, flipping through memories.

I've become comfortable with my boring routine, even after I've promised I never would again. I've changed a lot personally and professionally. I became an activist, then I stopped. I became a speaker, then I stopped. I found purpose, then embraced comfortable apathy. It must be human nature to do exactly the opposite of what we should, but whatever the reason, I forgot about so much of it. Back then, I did the Ride to come to terms with testing positive. I got a lot from it. Since then, I've busied myself with less arduous tasks, and& I've become sort of boring. If I've been happy, I haven't had that spark I had five years ago. I've become an HIV-positive person who forgot about HIV.

I brought the journal up to my apartment and sat it on my bookshelf for a week, where I could see it every day and remember. I remembered people I hadn't thought of in years, feelings I hadn't felt since my life became as tossed and disorganized as that box, and promises I made to myself that ended with the finish line. When the week was over, it was time to act. I got on the phone and within the day, the wheels were set in motion.

This year, I'm recommitting myself to my first cause. This year, I'm going back to where I started in an effort to rediscover the road I was on before. This year, I'm going to Montreal for the AIDS Vaccine Ride. But this year, I'm going to do something differently. I'll be riding with two of the kickassest people I know: Robert Kester, a damn good friend and principal scientist with Roche, and Jamie Pichot, my best friend and all around breast-cancer awareness princess. With a team by my side, I'm going to share the experience like I wished I'd done the first time.

Now that the forms are in and the team is all ready to go, I'm hoping that you will visit the next few weeks to check our progress. I'll have information up on all three of us up and hopefully your stories and letters, too - so start sending 'em in. Also, new this year for all the other AIDS riders out there, I'll be happy to post your picture and your story, too. If you're riding this year, send along what you like, which ride you're participating in, and a little bit about yourself and I'll post it up on the site.

Now that this is done and there is a huge stack of boxes left to go through, I wonder what's in the next box.

Beau Burriola is a local bike writer determined to keep future journals wrapped in plastic. E-mail him at:
visit Beau at

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