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Tour de Friends

House Staffers Participate in Ride to Fight HIV and AIDS

For the first time, House staffers can boast their own team for the local summer bicycle ride to fight HIV and AIDS.

A group of 11 staffers is in the midst of training for the Tour de Friends, a four-day, 330-mile bike ride from Raleigh, N.C., to Washington, which takes place June 19-22.

“It’s a combination of riding because it’s a good cause and because it’s fun,” said House Clerk Jeff Trandahl, who is participating in his 11th bike ride for the cause. “It’s a simple way to raise money.”

The team has been gearing up for the ride for more than a month now, individually and with group rides in local areas such as Mount Vernon, Va. Trandahl acknowledges that it’s a lot easier to train and do a ride like this when working with a larger group. Plus, he says, getting outside after excruciatingly long hours is a must.

Working with the House team is Food & Friends, one of the ride’s beneficiaries. The 14-year-old organization prepares, packages and delivers meals and groceries to more than 1,100 people living with HIV or AIDS and other life-challenging illnesses.

Craig Shniderman, executive director of Food & Friends, said the formation of the House team shows that Capitol Hill staffers can take care of the community in a variety of ways.

“The ride is really a way of building the community,” Shniderman said. “It’s not just a fundraiser — people who are leading this nation are making a commitment to ride.”

House Curator Farar Elliott said she is riding because helping out a cause like this is definitely worth some “saddle sores.”

“Biking is all about endurance,” said Elliott. “People living with AIDS are in a constant battle of endurance.”

The Tour de Friends will benefit Food & Friends in Washington, Fan Free Clinic in Richmond, Va., and the Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolina in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

For more information on Tour de Friends or to join the ride, call (202) 742-RIDE or (877) 265-RIDE or e-mail info@tourdefriends.com.

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