Off the Clock:Carrera Uses His Bike to Raise Money and Awareness
Posted: October 6, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By Ryan Call
In every AIDS/HIV charity ride he enters, Lloyd Carrera bikes with a picture of his brother pinned to the back of his jersey. As he passes other cyclists, they read the words beneath the photograph: In Memory of My Brother Larry. Often these riders tell him later that his brother’s picture helped them through one last mile or up that final hill.
Carrera’s brother died 14 years ago after a yearlong struggle with the disease. During the week before his brother’s death, Carrera, of the Disability Resource Center, helped his mother care for Larry.
“When someone dies in your arms, when you’re right there to his last breath, it does something to you,” says Carrera. “It remarkably moves you, even to the point where I still feel a part of him with me.”
For the next few years, Carrera wasn’t sure how to deal with his grief. “It was almost like I put it aside, like I didn’t want to think about it because it was too painful.” That all changed one day when he passed an AIDS ride poster. “I realized this is something I needed to do.”
Since then, Carrera, who is the coordinator of American Sign Language Interpreting Services, has participated in two area rides: the 2002 Washington, D.C., AIDS ride and the 2003 Tour de Friends. He also was the top fund-raiser for the 2004 AIDS Walk. Unfortunately, financial problems closed down both benefit rides, and although the AIDS Walk satisfied his need to help, it lacked the fellowship that Carrera sought in a typical ride. So he went online and found AIDS/Lifecycle 4, a 585-mile ride in California. Carrera was interested, despite the fact that he had only cycled in two four-day rides covering 360 miles each. “[The idea] scared me half to death. It still does,” he says with a laugh.
Last summer, Carrera and more than 2,000 other cyclists biked from San Francisco to Los Angeles in seven days. The riders raised $6.8 million, which went to the ride’s cosponsors, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV/AIDS services of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.
Lloyd Carrera on his bike trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Photos courtesy Lloyd Carrera
With only one 40-mile “rest” day and several long 98-mile days, the ride proved to be a challenge, but not impossible. “I was delirious at times. I was crying. I thought I was going to die. But I wanted to do my best,” Carrera says.
In addition to raising money, Carrera also wants to raise public awareness. He is featured in a documentary called “The Ride,” which follows four cyclists as they participate in AIDS/Lifecycle 4. It will air as a miniseries this November on LOGO, a California-based channel for the gay and lesbian community. Carrera is also trying to organize a screening of the documentary in the Washington, D.C., area.
A production crew and cameraman followed Carrera through his days during the ride. Carrera remembers poking his head out of the tent one morning and finding the camera in his face. “I’m hoping that part isn’t on TV,” he says.
As for next year’s AIDS/Lifecycle 5 ride, Carrera expects to be there, but he hopes to have some company. “My goal is to take a team from Mason. I think that would be wild if I could get an interest going among some of the kids here.”