Bike Rally Leadership

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

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Composing of the current and the previous years’ Bike Rally Co-Chairs, and PWAs Executive Director, Philanthropy & Communications Director, and Special Events Coordinator, the Executive Committee provides oversight and leadership to the annual goals and performance.

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 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.

Co-Chairs

Todd DTodd Davies

2016 & 2017 Co-Chair

13th year on the Bike Rally

I am very excited to be coming on board as a co-chair for the 18th Annual PWA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally. This will be my 13th year with the Rally and I look forward to working with everyone to continue our goal of raising funds for PWA. When I joined many years ago, it was from a desire to give of my time to a worthy cause and support my friends who were dealing with HIV/AIDS. Although this goal has not changed – we still battle the stigma and disease – it is heartening to see how many people have joined us along the way to work towards our common cause. Every year the enthusiasm we see, both on the Ride and from the communities we pass through, is infectious and helps us move forward towards our common goal. A big thanks to those who have helped me over the years and I look forward to working with each and every one of you over the next 2 years.

Ted RTed Robinson

2017 & 2018 Co-Chair

9th year on the Bike Rally

I rode in my first Bike Rally in 2009 to honour a friend who couldn’t do it himself. I’ve ridden every year since then because in honouring my friend, I found a village where I knew immediately I belonged. I am humbled to have been entrusted with the responsibility of co-chairing the 19th and 20th bike rallies, and I am so excited to work with my friend Todd Davies , the thoughtful, dedicated and generous people on this year’s Steering Committee, the staff at PWA, and the entire Friends for Life Bike Rally community as we do what we can to make sure PWA can continue to do its vital, beautiful work. It takes a village to raise a child, for certain; it also takes a village to sustain each of us as we live our lives. I’m proud and grateful to be part of this village.

cochairs@bikerally.org

Community Engagement

Billy-CBilly Curtis

Community Engagement Lead

4th year on the 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 three 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 Nephrology and other departments in several areas in the Northeast U.S., from as far north as New Jersey and south as Washington D.C., both areas highly impacted by this disease today. 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. It seemed like the appropriate move to take another step in my contribution to this year’s rally and join the Steering Committee, to continue to help make this ride as amazing as it has always been and will be in the future. 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.

community@bikerally.org

Food Crew

Leadership, KarenKaren O’Conner

Food Crew Co-Lead

10th year on the Bike Rally

I joined the Friends for Life Bike Rally as a way to celebrate the life of one of my dearest friends. The opportunity for a personal challenge, the bonds of friendship, and most important the chance to give back have enriched my life is many ways. Our Health is a gift – one we must never take for granted. I started out as part of the food crew and found my niche on the rally. This will be my 10th year on the ride and 9th year on Steering Committee as Food Co-lead. Each year my journey is different but always full of joy, remembrance and new friendships. It is an honour and privilege to be part of a group of dedicated committee members, PWA agency staff and the Bike Rally participants who truly understand what a difference we can make.

Pat LPat Lucas

Food Crew Co-Lead

11th year on the Bike Rally

I’m a 11-year Bike Rally veteran, having joined the team in 2006. My introduction to PWA and the Bike Rally was when I was invited to see a friend off on Departure Day 2005. Although at the time I knew absolutely no one living with HIV/AIDS, I was so moved by this singular experience that I signed on as a member of the Food Crew the following year. To date I have no regrets about that decision! This year, I am honored to be Co-Lead of the Food Crew. The sense of community, fellowship, lifelong friendship and the sheer optimism of everyone involved in the Bike Rally I encounter compel me every July to start dusting off my camping gear. Roll on F4LBR19!

food@bikerally.org

Fundraising

Eli EEli Elsasser

Fundraising Co-Lead

8th year on the Bike Rally

This will be my 8th year joining the exceptionally caring community of Riders and Crew who challenge themselves to support people living with HIV. As a member of the Media and Communications Committee for 6 years, I managed the Bike Rally website. This year I am partnering with Michael to co-lead the Fundraising Committee. Each year I have ridden, my greatest reward has been to raise funds for PWA, surpassing the minimum required to be counted among the Top Fundraisers each time. You can do it too. Your friends, family and colleagues want to support you. Michael and I are there to help you reach and surpass your fundraising goals.

Michael-CMichael Cress

Fundraising Co-Lead

14th year on the Bike Rally

This will be my 14th year on the Friends For Life Bike Rally – 11 years as a rider and three wonderful years volunteering.  I am excited to be on the Steering Committee co-leading Fundraising with Eli.  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 their fundraising goals.

fundraising@bikerally.org

Media & Communications

Patric-SPatric Senson

Media & Communications Co-Lead

6th year on the Bike Rally

Patric is really excited to be back involved with the Bike Rally after a two year absence. He’s had a long connection with the Bike Rally, having ridden 5 times, twice as a team leader, and is a previous Media and Communications Co-Lead on the Steering Committee. His hope for the 2017 Bike Rally is to make sure that Riders and Crew get the information they need, when they need it, and that they’ll always feel connected to what’s going on. That and have fun with his Co-Lead Steven, as we explore new and interesting things to share about the Bike Rally and its amazing community. If you’ve got a story about the Bike Rally or your connection with PWA, let Media & Communications know, and we’ll make sure it’s shared!

Steven-JSteven Jackson

Media & Communications Co-Lead

10th year on the Bike Rally

I have been an off and on volunteer for the Bike Rally since year three. Starting in the production of a film of the Rally, I participated on both the Rustlers and Food Crew. In 2014, I returned to school to complete a post-graduate program in Arts Administration and Cultural Management at Humber College and in the past year, I have worked at Crow’s Theatre, TAPA, Canadian Opera Company and the Toronto Shambhala Centre. I’m hoping to use these skills towards the Media & Communications area of the Bike Rally.
media@bikerally.org

Participant Engagement

Gilbert-LGilbert May

Participant Engagement Co-Lead

5th year on the Bike Rally

I love that participating in the Bike Rally gives me an opportunity to support PWA; that cycling, something that I enjoy very much, can be so noble. From my very first training ride in 2006 and continuing through every kilometre of four bike rallies as a cyclist and eventually as a team co-lead, participating in the F4LBR has meant being embraced as family. I support the Bike Rally in large part because of the sense of inclusiveness and belonging that it generates, the feeling that we’re one big family working towards a bigger goal. As this year’s co-lead in participant engagement, I look forward to helping everyone find that spirit of family.

engage@bikerally.org

Recruitment

Leadership, MattMatt Lamb

Recruitment Co-Lead

7th year on the Bike Rally

This is my seventh year on the Bike Rally and I’m super excited to be a member of the Steering Committee leading the Recruitment Committee with Pato Vera-Rodriguez. I’ve been a Team Leader three years (twice with my husband and once with Steve Yeates) and last year my father and I rode together! The Bike Rally is a special experience and I hope you will join us fundraising for PWA. I have met so many wonderful Friends for Life over the years and I’d like for you to meet them too!

Leadership, PatoPato Vera-Rodriguez

Recruitment Co-Lead

8th year on the Bike Rally

This will be my 8th year riding. I originally joined for the physical challenge but over the course of the 6 days I built amazing friendships and slowly realized that the same amazing people that I had come to know were some of the people that need the services from the PWA. It was that moment I realized that I had a reason to ride. The bike rally has become such a huge part of my life over the last few years. As soon as my work schedule steadied, I jumped at the opportunity to join the steering committee. I’m honoured to take on the role on the recruitment team and can’t wait to meet the new riders.

recruit@bikerally.org

Rider Team Lead

Leadership, StephanieStephanie Pearl-McPhee

Rider Team Lead Co-Lead

6th year on the Bike Rally

This year marks my 6th 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 mother of three adult daughters and it’s only in the last two years that I consider myself a cyclist, which I guess is a little weird, considering how much I ride my bike. This year I’m looking forward to reprising my role as the Co-Lead of Rider Team Leads (together with Cameron McLean) and I think it’s going to be a fantastic year.

Leadership, CamCameron McLean

Rider Team Lead Co-Lead

5th year on the Bike Rally

This will be my 5th year as a Rider on the Friends for Life Bike Rally, and second year on the Steering Committee. The week of the Bike Rally has really become the highlight of my year. Cycling, camping and eating are three of my favourite things in the world, and I cannot imagine a more entertaining, interesting and devoted group of people to do it with. I’m grateful for this opportunity to act as Co-Lead of Rider Team Leads together with Stephanie, and looking forward to doing what I can to support PWA and everyone involved in the Rally.

teamleader@bikerally.org

Road Support Crew

Leadership, David HDavid Hughes

Road Support Crew Co-Lead

9th year on the Bike Rally

Very late one evening in 2001 it seemed like a sensible idea to accept a challenge from a friend and join a small group of cyclists riding to Montréal the following summer in support of an organization I knew nothing about, PWA. In July 2002 we left Nathan Phillips Square in the pouring rain and I wondered what on Earth I had signed up for. Seven rides later (accompanied by my wife 5 times and my daughter twice – we’re still working on my son!) the Friends For Life Bike Rally has become a big part of my, and my family’s life. As a member of the Road Support Crew last year, it was gratifying to assist Riders on some very long, hot days. I am really pleased to be the Co-lead of the Road Support Crew again this year with Paul Dawson, and look forward to building on the success of previous years’ rides and making the experience a great one for the Riders.

Leadership, PaulPaul Dawson

Road Support Crew Co-Lead

6th year on the Bike Rally
This will be my 6th year participating in the Bike Rally, and every year the personal rewards and memories made keep getting better and better. I started in 2011 on the 13th year of the ride on Food Crew. The following year I moved to Road Support, and have never looked back! Over the years, I have developed strong friendships with many participants, and have also been blessed with the opportunity to help out and give back to PWA and the clients they serve. Volunteering on the Bike Rally has been a wonderful experience for me, allowing for personal growth and a chance to do my part to ensure our Riders have the guidance and support needed to make the journey from Toronto to Montreal.

Once again, I will be taking on the Co-lead role for Road Support for the 19th annual Bike Rally. I look forward to the exciting times and new challenges which lie ahead. I am also happy to be working again with my Co-lead partner, David Hughes.

roadsupport@bikerally.org

Rubbermaid Rustler Crew

Leadership, BobBob Beerman

Rubbermaid Rustlers Crew Co-Lead

10th year on the Bike Rally

I have been volunteering with the Friends for Life Bike Rally since 2007. I believe in giving back to my community and I enjoy participating with the Friends for Life Bike Rally. I have always worked with the Rubbermaid Ruslters. I have met and worked with many amazing people over the years, and I am looking forward to the 2017 Friends for Life Bike Rally.

Leadership, BrentBrent Everett James

Rubbermaid Rustlers Crew Co-Lead

16th year on the Bike Rally

The 19th Annual Friends for Life Bike Rally will be my 16th year with the Rubbermaid Rustlers since 2001, and after a couple years away from involvement in coordinating, my tenth year on the Steering Committee. I’m excited to be back, and look forward to working closely with Bob Beerman again and building a great team for 2017! This incredible event is extremely rewarding, both personally and spiritually. The energy of the Rally and excitement of the Participants each year remind me why I returned after my first year. I continue to participate with inspired passion, thoughts and memories of dear friends, and the anticipation of new bonds and friendships! Here’s to 600 kilometres of smiles and cheers to the Bike Rally family!

rustler@bikerally.org

Sponsorship

Tim-LTim Ledger

Sponsorship Lead

9th year on the Bike Rally

This will be my 8th as a rider and 5th year as part of the Steering Committee. I’m excited to be back as Sponsorship lead and looking forward to helping the Bike Rally continue to support those in our community living with HIV/AIDS. Along with all the volunteers and PWA staff our sponsors are a very important part of making the Bike Rally a success.

sponsorship@bikerally.org

Training & Support

Leadership, WalterWalter Dimini

Training & Support Co-Lead

16th year on the Bike Rally

People often ask me what keeps me coming back to the Bike Rally. Though I’m happiest when I’m on my bike and never get tired of the scenery along the way I have to say that it’s the people that keep me coming back. I think that the Bike Rally is testament to the human spirit. To be part of something where egos are parked and primary consideration is given to the collective well-being is truly amazing. And to have so much fun along the way and still be helping PWA reach their goals makes it even more amazing. To quote Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Nora-KNora Kelly

Training & Support Co-Lead

2nd year on the Bike Rally
After hearing stories from previous participants over several years, I finally registered and completed the 6-Day Ride this year! It was a truly transformative experience. The Bike Rally is a great way to support the work of PWA – to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around HIV and AIDS. I am excited, and grateful for the opportunity, to be taking my participation up a notch this year by working with my co-lead Walter to help riders prepare for the physical rigours of the ride. As both a longtime distance runner and cyclist, I also bring experience as an instructor and coach preparing runners for endurance events with advice on fuelling, road safety, etiquette, hill training and dressing for the weather.

training@bikerally.org

Wellness

Margaret-MMargaret McCormack

Wellness Crew Co-Lead

9th year on the Bike Rally

This is my 9th year on the Bike Rally and every year has been a little different but always amazing. I have been so fortunate to be able to take part and to meet all of the wonderful people that make up the ride. A bit of background – I am a Registered Nurse and I currently work for the Connecting GTA Program – developing the first regional electronic health record. I look forward to meeting everyone. Drop by for a chat – even if you don’t need our assistance!!

Bill-SBill Smith

Wellness Crew Co-Lead

10th year on the Bike Rally

Hi Everyone, this is the start of my 10th year on the Friends For Life Bike Rally. I was a member of the Wellness team for 2 years and have been a Co-Lead of Wellness 6 times and a Rider twice. I bring my experience of working as a Paramedic for the City of Toronto to assist all the amazing Riders and Crew that will be making The Friends For Life Bike Rally 2017 the best ride yet!

wellness@bikerally.org

PWA Board Representative

Nancy Pryce
Nancy Pryce

PWA Board Representative

7th year on the Bike Rally

I hold a seat on The Board of Directors of PWA as Board Secretary, this is my second year on the Board, previous to that I was co-lead for the Fundraising Committee on the Friends for Life Bike Rally Steering Committee. 2017 will be my 7th year as a Crew Member for the Friends for Life Bike Rally, each year I get just as excited as I did my first year. PWA is a wonderful non-profit organization that assists in the survival and enriches the lives of so many infected and affected with HIV and AIDS.

boardrep@bikerally.org

TEAM LEADS

As a rider in PWA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally, you have the chance 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.  As posted in the last Bike Rally Bulletin, team selection will be open between January 11th to 13th and every rider that registers before January 11th will have the option of choosing which  team they will join.  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.  Scroll below to read their bios and learn more about them.


Barrett M Brandon H

Barrett Morrison & Brandon Hamilton

Barrett Morrison: I am so gosh darned excited to be a team lead for the first time this year, my third on the Rally, especially since I get to do it with my amazing partner, Brandon. Having done this a couple times in the past, and loved it, I feel ready and happy to answer questions and assuage any fears.  The Bike Rally is an amazing experience in itself, but what makes it incredible are the people who do it. Come join the team, it’s going to be a blast.

Brandon Hamilton: This is my second year on the bike rally and I’m very excited to be a Team Lead this year. My partner and Co-Lead Barrett was key in helping me through the ride and this year I’m excited to pay it forward to my team making the ride as smooth and fun as possible! Join us for a life changing adventure to support an amazing charity!

Perry d Dianne H

Dianne Hind & Perry de Man

Dianne Hind: I have participated in the PWA Bike Rally for Life for 2 years. I felt blessed to have had Robb Walker and Ted Robinson as my team leads helping me on my journey.  Now that they have new obligations within the PWA, I felt it was my time to step up and help this very important organization. I am still a newbie with the bike rally but if you are on my team, I will help you with training; advise when I can; and provide motivation in any way possible! I look forward to riding with you!

Perry de Man: It took me three years to get up the nerve to sign up. As soon as that first day was over, I was hooked and signed up for year 2 in Montreal. And here I am, a 55 year old CPA, participating in my fourth Bike Rally, and looking forward to being a Team Lead.

Rodney R

Rodney Rousseau & Rob Micacchi

Rodney Rousseau: I’ve met so many amazing people through the ride and feel so fortunate to have found a community through this experience. As a PhD Candidate in Immunology I spend my days doing HIV research, and as a gay man living with HIV I spend much of my free time is doing HIV work through my position on the PWA Board of Directors, and other community organizations, but nothing quite compares to the sense of meaning that comes through being a part of the bike rally.

Rob Micacchi: Every year I have participated in the Rally has been completely unique, shaped by weather and the people who make up the event.  Each year feels different but the same.  I am drawn to this Rally for the challenge of the seemingly impossible task of cycling to Montréal, all the new personalities and how they mix with each other, raising money for a good cause, and spending the middle of the summer outdoors for a week.   This will be my 5th year on the Bike Rally, and I am excited to be co-leading with Rodney Rousseau.

Matt     Steve Y

Matt Lamb & Steve Yeates

Matt Lamb: I’m excited to return to PWA’s Friends for Life Bike Rally for my 7th year. The physical challenge and helping PWA with the support of friends and family brings me back year after year. It is an amazing feeling to arrive in Montréal after all we’ve accomplished. Last year my dad rode with me and he signed up in November to do it again this year! This is my fourth year team leading and I’m thrilled to be leading again this year with Stephen Yeates. Every year the ride is an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Every year is a fun new adventure and I look forward to sharing the experience with you!

Steve Yeates: After more than a decade participating and benefiting as a rider in the F4LBR it’s about time that I took a turn leading a team. The Rally has become a part of my life. The sense of mission and the warmth of the Rally’s culture are palpable. The event itself is unforgettable as a physical challenge enveloped in a space of acceptance and support. I’m looking forward to taking the Team Lead with Matt Lamb and helping guide, mentor, troubleshoot and share in the pleasures and pains – or should I say rains – of #F4LBR19.

Shae BFaye J

Shae Byer & Faye Jose

Shae Byer: 2017 will be my 14th year involved in the Bike Rally, but will mark a return to more involvement in the event for me, as well. My experience of the event has been a long, rich, and life-changing story, and I have felt very privileged to be part of others’ stories along the way. Integral to my continued reason to ride is the support of this agency that I believe in so deeply! I am very much looking forward to getting to know new and “old” participants that I haven’t met, offering support and community, and learning together along the way. Thanks for being part of this big adventure!

Fay Jose: I have been involved with the Bike Rally since 2008 as a crew member, crew lead, steering committee member, rider and training ride support person (when I adopted myself into a team just so I could stay engaged) AND I own the last hill on day one where I have been known to ‘pull’ everyone up it with a megaphone! Such fun! Passionate about PWA and the work that is done and the volunteers who make it happen…this is my cause. Looking forward to sharing the journey with everyone on this year’s ride.

David Homer     Warren C

David Homer & Warren Duffy

David Homer: After being on the Wellness Crew as a Chiropractor for 4 years I decided that it was time to ride. 2011 was the first year. I was a person who never rode a bike; I had serious doubts about being able to get to Montréal, let alone enjoy it. But I said I’d give it a try, I started spinning in December, purchased a bike in March, got on that bike in May and was riding 600 km to Montreal by July. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get hooked. Now I don’t even think about how many km are ahead of me. It’s all about laughing, new friendships, camping, bonfires, riding faster to catch up to someone or slowing down to enjoy the scenery, and most importantly–knowing that I made a difference. The Bike Rally offers an enormous amount of support. You won’t be alone on this amazing journey! I look forward to supporting you on your quest to achieve the reason why you joined PEA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally.

Warren Duffy: This is my 6th year riding in the Friends for Life Bike Rally. I’ve been a Rider, a member of the Steering Committee, and for the first time this year, a Team Lead! During this time I’ve met some amazing people and built strong friendships, on and off the road. I continue to be inspired by the work of PWA staff and volunteers, and the impact the work they do has on the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS in Toronto. I have fond memories from each team I’ve been on over the years, and the hope that David and I have for our team, especially new riders, is that you have a positive and welcoming experience, while having fun raising money for this great cause!

Trevor H     Dallas P

Trevor Hopman & Dallas Pomeranz

Trevor Hopman: This is my 5th year participating in PWA’s Friends for Life Bike Rally, my 3rd as a Rider and my 3rd as a Team Lead. I originally joined the Bike Rally as part of the Starbucks sponsorship but quickly fell in love with the event, the Participants, PWA, and all of my new Friends for Life, including my Co-lead Dallas. I cannot wait to share my passion and the fun year ahead with everyone this year, one kilometre at a time!

Dallas Pomeranz: This will be my second year on the Bike Rally and my first year as a team leader. I never saw myself being a cyclist and after my first year on the ride when people asked me what my hobbies were I was happy I finally had more to say then just “wine, coffee, and Netflix”. Doing the rally with such an amazing group of people, all committed to a common goal has to be one of the most life changing experiences you can have. The people you meet, the challenges you all face together, and the fun of camping with friends and just being on your bike cycling through Ontario and Quebec will make a lasting impact!

Billy C     Tim L

Billy Curtis & Tim Ledger

Billy Curtis: I have been blessed with the ability to be a Rider with the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation Friends for Life Bike Rally for three 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 Nephrology and other departments in several areas in the Northeast U.S., from as far north as New Jersey and south as Washington D.C., both areas highly impacted by this disease today. 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. It seemed like the appropriate move to take another step in my contribution to this year’s rally and join the Steering Committee, to continue to help make this ride as amazing as it has always been and will be in the future. 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.

Tim Ledger: I’m happy to be back for my 8th year on the Rally and 2nd year as Team Leader to help guide a team of exceptional volunteers to an amazing journey from Toronto to Montreal. I’m looking forward to working with Billy in creating a fun experience for new riders as well as returning ones, all while helping the Bike Rally support PWA and those in our community living with HIV/AIDS.