Tour de Friends

House Staffers Participate in Ride to Fight HIV and AIDS

Posted May 13, 2003 at 2:41pm

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