Volunteers Make It Happen!

The Bike Rally started as a volunteer driven event and to this day, that tradition continues.

Over 45 volunteers – Executive Committee, Steering Committee, and Team Leaders – commit an average of 40,000 hours annually to make it happen.

PWA provides staff support and together they plan and execute an event that profoundly changes lives.

2016 Steering Committee

STEERING COMMITTEE

The Steering Committee is responsible for the overall planning and execution of the Bike Rally working closely with the support of PWA. The Committee comprises of 12 subcommittees with up to 2 Co-Leads on each. There Rider focused, Crew focused and overall event subcommittees. The Committee meets monthly, beginning shortly after returning from Montreal each year. The Bike Rally is driven by dozens of dedicated volunteers, both in the spotlight and behind the scenes.

Chair

StephanieStephanie Pearl-McPhee

2019 Chair

8th year on the Bike Rally

This year marks my 8th year on the Rally, and it seems I get in a little deeper every year. I initially became involved as a result of family and peer pressure, and now I can’t imagine a summer without it.  I’m a slightly dumpy writer, knitter, and the mother of three adult daughters and one charming grandson, and it’s only in the last few years that I consider myself a cyclist, which is a little weird, considering how much I ride my bike.  This year I’m looking forward to my role as Chair and celebrating our amazing Rally’s 21st anniversary.

brcochairs@bikerally.org

Community Engagement

Natasha Blair

Community Engagement Lead

4th year on the Bike Rally

I’m really excited to be returning to the Bike Rally for my fourth ride and what an extra special year it will be! I’m joining the Steering Committee for the first time to work on deepening Community Engagement. This is a crucial role designed to raise the profile of the Friends for Life Bike Rally and the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation by enhancing engagement in Toronto and throughout the communities we pass through along the ride. Participating in the Bike Rally, for me, is soul rejuvenating. I tell everyone, there is nothing like the inclusiveness of the Rally with everyone working towards a common goal. It’s a very unique experience and indeed I have made many “friends for life” who are much more like family to me now. I am really looking forward to our 21st year together and supporting all the riders and volunteers that dedicate so much of their energy to this worthy cause.

community@bikerally.org

Food Crew

Sarah Welsh 

Food Crew Lead

2nd year on the Bike Rally

I am so excited to be apart of the PWA Bike Rally for a second year.  I am joining the steering committee for the first year as a Food Crew lead.

food@bikerally.org

Fundraising

Samuel Lapidus

Fundraising Crew Co-Lead

2nd year on the Bike Rally 

This will be my second year raising funds and riding on the Bike Rally. I am really exited to be part of this wonderful event once again and even more so to be on the Steering Committee. Last year the fundraising I did was extremely rewarding and I am looking forward to helping other riders and crew achieve their fundraising goals.

Ian Toone

Fundraising Crew Co-Lead

5th year on the Bike Rally

This year will be my fifth year participating in the Friends for Life Bike Rally. I moved to Canada from the U.K. in 1994 and after over 35 years working in international banking, I retired in 2014. I live with my partner in Leslieville and have four children and five grandchildren and have a passion for travel, photography, tennis, and of course cycling.

Media & Communications

Christian Roy

Media & Communications Co-Lead

2nd year on the Bike Rally

My name is Christian Roy. My first Bike Rally was a transformational experience and impacted how I want to dedicate my personal and professional time. The idea of being part of the Steering Committee came to me at the Big Meeting in June 2018, before my first Bike Rally. On day two of the Bike Rally, I knew I wanted to participate in planning it, and on day four I asked when the call for action would take place. I am thrilled to contribute to this wonderful initiative as Media and Communications Co-Lead and help PWA improves the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Zachary Zulauf

Media & Communications Co-Lead

2nd year on the Bike Rally

My name is Zachary and I am looking forward to starting off my second bike rally as a co-lead of the communications and media committee.

I am a writer and an animal lover. I am a fan of good humour, good food, and karaoke. I’m usually sporting a toque in the winter and a sleeveless top in the summer. If you want to easily spend an extended period of time with me, talk with me about the cosmos or the nature of reality.

Get the gist?

See you on the road!

media@bikerally.org

Participant Engagement

Simon Lysnes

Participant Engagement Lead

12th year on the Bike Rally

It is remarkable how time flies when you’re having fun!

Marking my 12th year participating in PWA’s Bike Rally and enjoying the camaraderie, good will and personal growth it brings.

While this will be my first year on the Steering Committee, over the years I’ve connected with so many inspiring people and hope to further my commitment to the ride.

I’m excited to further engage our community and bring enthusiasm to the PEC role.

Look for me on training rides & events – and don’t be shy sharing your ideas!

engage@bikerally.org

Recruitment

Warren D

Warren Duffy 

Recruitment Co-Lead 

8th year on the Bike Rally

I’m excited to be returning to the Steering Committee to help recruit as many riders as possible for 2019. This will be my 8th year riding and for all the new riders and crew joining us you’ll soon see why so many people return year after year.

 

 

 

 

Gary van der Meer

Recruitment Co-Lead 

6th year on the Bike Rally

When I first came to the Bike Rally in 2000, I was looking for community. After a number of years of long-distance solo cycling trips, I was excited to meet and get to know other cyclists. I found community and I loved it. I stayed for two years, then got interested in other forms of community. I came back in 2015 because a friend invited me. And I haven’t left because, this time around, community is even more important to me, and because I am more connected to the cause we are supporting. As I learned more about HIV/AIDS, and the importance of the programs and services provided by PWA, I realized it’s now my time to do the inviting. I want to invite you and support you as you have a fantastic time: 1. The cycling is great. 2. The people of the Bike Rally will become your people. 3. The work we support is amazingly significant for people you will come to meet and know. 

recruit@bikerally.org

Rider Team Lead

Matt Lamb

Rider Team Lead Co-Lead

9th year on the Bike Rally

Matt Lamb

This is my ninth year on the Bike Rally and I’m super excited to be returning to the Steering Committee leading the Rider Teams with Chris Staruch. The physical challenge and helping PWA with the support of friends and family brings me back year after year. I’ve been a Team Leader for the past five years and the last two years I co-lead the Recruitment Committee. We have an amazing group of Team Leaders this year. No matter what team you are on, you will be in good hands. Team Leads commit a lot of time to making the Bike Rally safe and work hard to make sure you have the information you need and have a good time.

The next time you see a Team Lead, please thank them for all that they do and if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to Chris or me.

Chris Staruch

Rider Team Lead Co-Lead

4th year on the Bike Rally

I am very pleased and excited to be co-leading this year with Matt Lamb.  In 2013 I was introduced to the Friends for Life Bike Rally where I was amazed by the sense of community, organization and support.  I returned the following year as a Team Leader, and in 2015 I co-lead Training and Support, along with being a team leader. The 20th anniversary was a fantastic rally where I had the pleasure of working with the wellness crew, where I saw the bike rally from a completely different angle. I look forward to making the 21st Bike Rally better than ever before and arriving to Montreal Pride in fashion… On our bicycles.

teamleader@bikerally.org

Road Support Crew

Michael Cress

Road Support Crew Lead

 roadsupport@bikerally.org

Rubbermaid Rustler Crew

Rex Shettlewood

Rubbermaid Rustlers Crew Lead

4th year on the Bike Rally

2019 marks my fourth year of involvement with the PWA, in capacities ranging from Front Office Volunteer, Bike Rally Assistant and 1-Day Rider.  On all accounts, this time has been filled with invaluable memories, sound friendships and personal growth.

This year, I am thrilled to make my contribution to our cause as Co-Lead of the Rubbermaid Rustlers, building on the legacy of immediate past Leads (Bob + Brent) and working alongside some of the most passionate and energized teammates imaginable.

I look forward to engaging with you as we work together to raise vital funds in support of all programs and services offered by the PWA as well as do our part in challenging the narrative and stigma that persists to this day.

rustler@bikerally.org

Sponsorship

Glen de Frietas 

Sponsorship Co-Lead

2nd year on the Bike Rally

Ziv Naveh

Sponsorship Co-Lead

2nd year on the Bike Rally

sponsorship@bikerally.org

Training & Support

DempseyDempsey Cruz

Training & Support Co-Lead

6th year on the Bike Rally

What started off as a physical challenge for me six years ago had evolved over time into a genuine passion for community service. The Friends for Life Bike Rally has proven to me that there really is strength in numbers and that anything is achievable when a committed and passionate network of people come together with a true, common purpose. I am humbled to be joining the 21st year of the Bike Rally in my fifth year as a Rider, and the Training and Support Co-Lead in my third year on the Steering Committee. I am very excited to share my experience and skills on training and performance in supporting my fellow riders on their Bike Rally journey!

JordanJordan Simard

Training & Support Co-Lead

6th year on the Bike Rally

Having done the Bike Rally for 6 years now, I am passionate about the power that effective training can provide in helping cyclists reach their goals (like getting to Montreal!). My first year on the Bike Rally was also my first year as a road cyclist, and it really cultivated my love for cycling. As a co-lead for Training & Support, I want to help others grow that same love and passion for cycling, while also providing Bike Rally Participants the support they need to ride safe and strong.

training@bikerally.org

Wellness

Billy Curtis

Wellness Crew Lead

wellness@bikerally.org

COACHES

A Coach is an amazing volunteer who provides additional support to participants by lending their expertise and skill. Participants can book a 1-on-1 session with a coach by sending an email request to them directly.

Fundraising Coach
Michael-C

Michael Cress

Fundraising Co-Lead

15th year on the Bike Rally

This will be my 15th year on the Friends For Life Bike Rally – 11 years as a rider and 4 wonderful years volunteering on crew.  I am excited to be the Fundraising Coach.  Each year I gain more and more from the Bike Rally and I am pleased to be able to give back by helping riders meet and exceed the fundraising goals.

fundraisingcoach@bikerally.org

TEAM LEADS

As a registered rider in PWA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally, you have a limited opportunity to choose whose team you will be part of for the Bike Rally. Your Team Leaders are dedicated to checking in on your training progress, passing on important information for your Bike Rally experience and most importantly, helping to make the Bike Rally a fun and safe event. The Bike Rally Bulletin will alert you when team selection opens (early January). There will be more information in the coming weeks about this but for now, let’s introduce you to the Team Leaders that have volunteered their time this year. Click below to read their bios and learn more about them.

Team A: Ken Allen & Billy Curtis

Ken AllenKen Allen

11th year on the Bike Rally

2018 will be my eleventh year as a rider and my fourth as a Team Lead. I first joined in 2008, thinking it would primarily be a physical endeavor. I had done bicycle touring with my family, and I wanted to see how fast I could ride with grown-ups. I went on all the training rides that first year, learning at last how to ride faster than my kids, but I also found a community that I just can’t quit. I keep coming back, year after year, to live a fantasy week in a supportive world where jerks just don’t seem to exist. Looking forward to being part of an encouraging, helpful and of course, fun team!

Billy CurtisBilly Curtis

5th year on the Bike Rally

I am very excited to be coming on board as a co-lead for the 21st Annual PWA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally. I have been blessed with the ability to be a Rider with the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation Friends for Life Bike Rally for four years since I moved here from the U.S. After hearing about so many experiences from friends and past riders, I knew that I had to contribute my time and effort to such a worthy cause. I have been working with PHAs since I was 18 years old, functioning as a healthcare professional in several areas in the Northeast U.S., and am currently working to get my nursing licence in Canada from Ryerson University. Working with such a community has been beyond humbling and I have gained as much from this foundation as I have given and maybe even more. Since my coming to the Bike Rally, I have volunteered for years as both Team Lead and member of the Steering Committee, and I will continue to help make the Bike Rally be the best it can possibly be! I am grateful for this opportunity and must thank all those who helped guide me towards the growth that has come from being a part of this wonderful organization and fundraiser to help relinquish the stigma and bring light to those in our area living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Team B: Arial Benibgui & Andrew Quinlan

 Ariel Benibgui

2nd year on the Bike Rally

Last year was my first Bike Rally and to say it was a life changing experience would not be an understatement. Having heard about it from friends for years, I was thrilled to discover that it was all they said it was and so much more. Loved the training, riding, team bonding, and seeing firsthand how the efforts and funds raised by everyone involved benefitted the community. I signed up for the 2019 ride the night we got to Montreal. I’m very excited to be a team lead with Andrew this year and hope to bring the same wonderful, inclusive, motivating, and FUN experience to our team in 2019!

Andrew Quinlan

3rd year on the Bike Rally

This will be my third year on the Bike Rally and I couldn’t be more excited. I honestly wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I first signed up 2 years ago, but I can say that the Rally has far exceeded any expectation I had. I have met life-long friends and made unforgettable memories with a supportive, loving community. I am ecstatic to be a team lead with Ariel and will strive to replicate the fun, silliness and joy that my wonderful team leads exhibited before me. I can’t wait to be part of a dynamic team and collectively raise money for an incredible cause. See you on the road!

Team C: Zena Langendoen & Rodney McKeen

Zena Langendoen

 

Rodney McKeen

 

 

Team D: Steve Yeates & Geoff Gibson

Steve Yeates

14th year on the Bike Rally

Steve Yeates

The Bike Rally is an important part of my life on so many levels. When I started riding on the rally in 2005, it was simply a way to give to the community doing something I did well. It has been much more than that. Becoming a team lead four years ago gave me a much sharper picture of what Toronto PWA does, which has made me more invested in the cause of the Bike Rally. Last year I added duties with Training and Safety, leading winter Spin classes at the YMCA and sharing safety, flat and hill training with Geoff Gibson, who will be my team lead partner this year. I’m really looking forward to sharing this assignment with Geoff, who is  hyper-organized, creative, always laughs at my jokes and never lets me get lost.  I am proud to be part of this group and its remarkably positive and supportive culture.

Geoff Gibson

 

Team E: Niko Pretorius & Steven Paisley

Niko Pretorius

7th year on the Bike Rally

I decided to join my first Bike Rally 7 years ago as a personal fitness challenge. Crossing the finish line in Montreal for the first time was such a monumental personal accomplishment that I knew I wanted to both relive the experience and keep supporting the amazing work done by the PWA. This will be my fifth ride and second as a Team Lead. Steve and I love to create a fun, jovial, and inclusive team environment.  Everyone is welcome!  We are excited and honoured to help lead a team of energetic riders as they prepare for their ride to Port Hope or Montreal, and to share the deeply rewarding experience with them.

Steven Paisley

7th year on the Bike Rally

I am so excited be returning as a team lead with Niko for the 2019 Bike Rally. Last year was our first crack at leading a team and we loved it so much that we couldn’t wait to come back and do it again! I first joined the Bike Rally after hearing what an amazing, rewarding, and challenging experience it is from friends. I was hooked right away! The best part of the Bike Rally HAS to be the community atmosphere among riders and volunteers. I’ve been very lucky to have had wonderful team experiences. This year I’m looking forward to paying that forward by fostering a fun and welcoming team environment and raising the PWA some well-deserved money along the way.

Team F: Natasha Blair & Samuel Lapidus

Natasha Blair

4th year on the Bike Rally

I’m really excited to be returning to the Bike Rally for my fourth ride and my first time as a Team Co-Leader with Sam. I am looking forward to ensuring our team maximizes the experience for our riders across all aspects of the ride, safety, training, fundraising and of course keeping it FUN! Over my three years riding, I was able to raise more $21,000 for PWA and hope I can help ease some of the stress riders experience fundraising by providing some “been there done that coaching.”  Participating in the Bike Rally, for me, is soul rejuvenating. I tell everyone, there is nothing like the inclusiveness of the Rally with everyone working towards a common goal. It’s a very unique experience, and indeed, I have made many “friends for life” who are much more like family now. Look forward to making another new family through this team!

Samuel Lapidus

2nd year on the Bike Rally

This is my second year riding for PWA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally and I am really excited be Team Co-Leading with Natasha. I was so blown away by the complete experience I had last year, not only did I sign up immediately for a second ride, but also felt that I could give back even more by volunteering my time and experiences. This year is going to be fantastic from the socials, training, fundraising and all the way to Montreal. I look forward to sharing in all these experiences with you.

Team G: Glen de Freitas & Gary van der Meer

Glen de Freitas

 

 

Gary van der Meer

 6th year on the Bike Rally

When I first came to the Bike Rally in 2000, I was looking for community. After a number of years of long-distance solo cycling trips, I was excited to meet and get to know other cyclists. I found community and I loved it. I stayed for two years, then got interested in other forms of community. I came back in 2015 because a friend invited me. And I haven’t left because, this time around, community is even more important to me, and because I am more connected to the cause we are supporting. As I learned more about HIV/AIDS, and the importance of the programs and services provided by PWA, I realized it’s now my time to do the inviting. I want to invite you and support you as you have a fantastic time: 1. The cycling is great. 2. The people of the Bike Rally will become your people. 3. The work we support is amazingly significant for people you will come to meet and know. 

 

 

Team H: Marc Montreuil & Dianne Hind

Marc Montreuil

15th year on the Bike Rally

I look forward to being a Team Lead with Dianne Hind for Bike Rally 2019.  So far I’ve been on the Steering Committee and Food Crew once and taken part as a cyclist 13 times.  There have been many highlights over the years but the biggest is the wonderful people I have met who come together to support PWA.

 

Dianne Hind

5th year on the Bike Rally

Dianne Hind

This will be my 5th year riding my bike to Montreal and my 3rd year as a Team Lead. I originally signed up for the Rally to improve my fitness but have become committed to the work the PWA does and feel blessed by the people I have meet through my years on Rally

Team I: David Knox & Dustin Seidler

David Knox

 

Dustin Seidler

3rd year on the Bike Rally

I was born and raised in Saskatchewan and moved to Toronto in 2014 for a change. I was looking for a change in culture, diversity, and to be in a city where I could fully embrace the inner Dustin. Toronto has allowed me to develop into exactly who I have wanted to be. I have been a Paramedic for 10 years. I chose this career as it was a childhood dream to drive something with lights and sirens which further developed(as I grew older) into compassion for others when sick or injured. I am a CrossFit enthusiast and have been doing it for over 6 years now. Fitness is a major part of my life and I thoroughly enjoy being active. I attend yoga classes often and truly enjoy any sense of outdoor adventure. I am an avid World traveller and have been to Tanzania, Thailand, Australia, Italy, England, France, Croatia, Germany, Czech Republic, Hawaii, through a majority of Central America, and many U.S cities. I LOVE the diversity this world has to offer not only with people but also the natural beauty as well. My family and friends are a big part of my life and I cherish them greatly.

This will be my third year riding with the PWA and I am thrilled to be a Team Lead alongside my partner in crime David Knox! The PWA has left a very special mark on my heart and I am happy to be part of such a powerful organization.

 

Team J: Kirill Adarych & Simon Lysnes

Kirill Adarych

 

Simon Lysnes

12th year on the Bike Rally

It is remarkable how time flies when you’re having fun!

Marking my 12th year participating in PWA’s Bike Rally and enjoying the camaraderie, good will and personal growth it brings.

While this will be my first year on the Steering Committee, over the years I’ve connected with so many inspiring people and hope to further my commitment to the ride.

I’m excited to further engage our community and bring enthusiasm to the PEC role.

Look for me on training rides & events – and don’t be shy sharing your ideas!

 

Thank You 2018 Sponsors: