Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 17, Ed. 1 Friday, September 9, 2011 Page: 8 of 48
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New friends and a
Ana-Maria Baker started out last
year as a LSRFA cyclist because
she saw it as another way to get fit.
Then she made friends with riders
who were HIV-positive, and her
view of the ride changed
M.M.ADJARIAN I Contributing Writer
The Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS may have
been born in the Dallas-Fort Worth LGBT com-
munity. But as Second-year cyclist Ana-Maria
Baker well knows, the HIV/ AIDS epidemic af-
fects everyone — and you don't have to be gay to
Baker, a revenue management professional for
Hilton Hotels, came to participate in LSRFA the
same way that so many other people do: through
the suggestion of a friend who happened to have
been affiliated with the ride.
"He [the friend] knew that I was into fitness,"
Baker says. "And I thought it would be a good
challenge for me, so I signed up."
Although Baker was a runner and a regular at
her local gym, she was totally new to cycling. But
once in the saddle, she became happily addicted
to the two-wheeled experience.
"It's awesome!" she raves. "With working out,
you can get bored because your body gets used
to it. But every time [I go cycling], it's something
The fact that she was doing something she
adored in service of a good cause made it that
much easier for her to keep up with her new-
found hobby. But it was the relationships she es-
tablished along the way that made her want to
commit to LSRFA long term.
"I made a particularly good set of friends last
year," recalls Baker. "On the morning before the
ride, I noticed they all had the same jerseys on.
And I said, 'Hey, how come I didn't get the mes-
sage about the matching jerseys?'
"One of them made a joke and said, 'Honey,
you don't want to wear this jersey/" she contin-
ues, "[Then I found out] that the jersey stood for
the Positive Pedaler team — my [new] friends
were all HIV-positive."
In the blink of an ove, what for Baker had just
been a fitness event suddenly became much more
"These were people I had gotten to know really
well," She says. " [But] I had [had] no idea that
they were impacted by the disease. It stopped me
in my tracks and made me realize what I was rid-
The event has now become a family affair. This
year, Baker's husband, a paramedic, will be serv-
ing on the LSRFA medical team .
"He's gotten to know some of the friends I
made last year, so he really wants to be part of it,
too," Baker says. "He wants to help out because
he thinks the LSRFA issuch a neat thing."'
As straight supporters of the ride, the Bakers
know they are in the minority. But this fact doesn't
faze either one of them.
"Nobody makes you feel any different because
[ultimately] you aren't," says the sophomore cy-
Her participation in LSRFA has also given
Baker insights that have deepened her under-
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standing of the friends and community on whose well, it just makes me sad for the straight commu-
behalf she — and now her husband — volunteer. nity and how we treat [LGBT people]." ■
"I feel that the gay community is a lot more ac- Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS will beheld Sept. 24-
cepting than the straight community," Baker re- 25. To donate to an individual rider, to a team or to the
marks. "And for them to be so accepting of me — Ride itself'] go online to LoneStarRide.org.
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 17, Ed. 1 Friday, September 9, 2011, newspaper, September 9, 2011; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239184/m1/8/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.