Cycling with a philosophical bent

Cornellians on wheels were a big part of the Southern Tier AIDS Program’s 19th Annual AIDS Ride For Life Sept. 9.

The AIDS Ride For Life is a fully supported 102-, 90-, 42-, 25- or 15-mile bike ride beginning and ending in Ithaca and, in its 85- and 102-mile variants, completely circles Cayuga Lake. The ride benefits STAP, a nonprofit committed to reducing HIV/AIDS transmission and heroin use in the Finger Lakes.

Team Sage, made up faculty from the Sage School of Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences (along with a few other philosophy faculty from other schools), was the top team fundraiser, bringing in $11,912, and the top overall individual fundraiser, also part of Team Sage, was Nicholas Silins, associate professor of philosophy, with $5,151.

The Cornell Undergrads team, made up of 23 Cornell undergraduate students, brought in $6,176. Many other Cornellians participated on teams or individually. A significant increase in Cornell student participation in this year’s ride was due to STAP lowering the fundraising minimum for riders under 21 and promoting the event on campus.

Gretchen Ritter ’83, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a cyclist herself, was a member of Team Sage. She offered a simple explanation for the philosophy school team’s fundraising success, noting that one of the other teams was sponsored by a local brewery. “What did we have to offer? Plato and Aristotle. That just shows you what’s superior,” she said with a smile. “I’m extremely proud of them, and it just shows that knowledge is power.”

“I applaud all those who raised money for this good cause,” Ritter said.

The 2017 ride included 330 registered riders and 33 teams, along with 290 volunteers who staffed the annual ride. More than $200,000 was raised. The ride will mark its 20th anniversary next year on Sept. 8, 2018. Check out for more details.

STAP is dedicated to providing comprehensive HIV/AIDS services in the Southern Tier of New York, and, as part of its Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, more than 300 lives were saved with Narcan kits distributed by STAP staff. 

This story also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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