From the State House to the shores of Provincetown, there’s nowhere that Carl Sciortino, Executive Director of the AIDS Action Committee, won’t go to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. On September 17, Carl will be strapping on his helmet and joining hundreds of dedicated riders and crew members for the 14th Annual Harbor to the Bay (H2B) bike ride.
Carl’s passion for AIDS advocacy long predates his leadership position at AIDS Action Committee. He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 2005 to 2014, when he stepped down to become AIDS Action’s Executive Director. While in office, Carl championed many bills that helped those living with HIV and those at risk in Massachusetts, ranging from expanded HIV testing to insurance coverage for people with HIV-related lipodystrophy.
Carl is also no stranger to charity bike rides; before he began riding for H2B, he was involved in the Boston to New York AIDS Ride, which ended in 2002. Still, Carl wondered if he was in for a challenge with H2B’s 125 mile long route from Boston to Provincetown.
“I signed up for my first Harbor to the Bay in 2014, not knowing for sure whether I could complete it,” he laughed. The secret to his success turned out to be the group training rides organized throughout the summer for H2B riders.
“I really loved the summer training rides,” Carl said. “At first, I thought those training rides would be a chore, but really, it’s a chance to ride your bike around a beautiful city and suburbs and see our area from a very different perspective. It makes Harbor to the Bay not just a one day ride, but a whole summer of opportunities to connect with the community.”
Carl encourages new H2B riders to not be intimidated by the length of the course. “If you start to get tired, just think ’10 miles to the next pit stop’ and keep going,” he said. The pit stops along the way provide riders with a chance to rest, refuel, and chat with other riders and crew members, and they serve as a way to mark your progress. “Worst case scenario, there’s always a van that can take you to the end!” Carl reminds us.
One of Carl’s favorite parts of H2B is the sense of camaraderie and excitement that’s apparent right from the early morning starting line gathering in Copley Square. “There’s a very moving opening ceremony that really acknowledges the whole point of this: to end the HIV epidemic in our communities and support those who are living with an affected by the virus,” he said.
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