Ride organizers try to avoid conflicts with first day of school

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride will begin earlier in the morning this year to avoid a conflict with motorists on the road because of the first day of school, organizers said.

The six-day, for-profit cycling event to raise money for research into an AIDS vaccine will start at 6 a.m. on Aug. 20. Riders will travel 510 miles down the Richardson and Glenn highways and must each raise $3,400.

''If we're not out of town by 6:30 a.m., then the traffic lights are going to take back over, so the bicyclists will have to wait for the traffic lights,'' Lt. Dusty Johnson of the Fairbanks Police Department said Wednesday.

Police received a few complaints last year when the ride started later than the 6:30 a.m. designated time at the Carlson Center.

Riders bicycle to Delta Junction on the first day.

Pallotta TeamWorks is the company putting on the ride. The AIDS Vaccine ride is one of many events Pallotta puts on every year to raise money for charity.

Last year's AIDS Vaccine Ride brought in $8.2 million, half of which went to AIDS vaccine research, according to the company.

The rest of the money went to cover salaries, advertising, ride expenses and a fee the company collects for putting on the production. Riders had to raise at least $3,900 each to be in last year's ride.

According to the Pallotta Web site, 2,182 riders from across the nation are signed up for this year's ride, short of the goal of 3,000 registrants but more than the total number of riders from last year.

The Alaska ride is competing with two other Pallotta vaccine rides debuting this year. One is in Montana between Missoula and Billings and the other is from Montreal, Canada, to Portland, Maine.

Pallotta TeamWorks, which has existed since the early 1990s, raises money for AIDS and breast cancer charities with walks and bike rides across the nation.

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