Hundreds of cyclists will pedal from Miami to Key West over two days from Friday, November 19 to Saturday November 20 as part of “The SMART Ride,” an annual fundraiser benefitting Florida HIV/AIDS charitable organizations.
Held in-person for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual event, now in its 18th year, is expected to attract between 400 and 500 solo riders, as well as multi-person teams, making it the second-largest AIDS bicycle ride in the country and the largest in the southeastern United States.
Cyclists will pedal 165 miles through South Florida and the Keys, following the scenic Florida Keys Overseas Highway and Heritage Trial routes. They will depart from the University of Miami’s Watsco Center at 1245 Dauer Drive in Coral Gables at sunrise, pedaling approximately 100 miles to Hawks Cay Resort, on Duck Key, where they will stay overnight before departing for the finish line at Key West High School the next morning. Rest stops will be available approximately every 15-20 miles.
Following a private closing ceremony at Key West High School, post-ride celebrations will be held at various LGBTQ venues throughout Saturday afternoon and evening.
Since its inception, The SMART Ride has raised more than $12.5 million, with 100% of proceeds going directly to various HIV/AIDS service organizations throughout Florida, including the Keys-based service organization A.H. of Monroe County.
“This year will be even more exciting than usual since it will be the first time in two years that SMART Ride will happen in person,” event organizer Glen Weinzimer said in a statement, noting that riders were forced to raise money through individual treks last year due to the pandemic. “It will be very exciting to see all our participants back together again, making a difference.”
Registration for the ride is currently open, and costs $135 per ride. All participants will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event.
To register, or for more information on The SMART Ride, visit www.thesmartride.org.