May 5, 2003

Cyclists hit Ga. roads for VRC

By Stephanie Sonnenfeld

Team Emory Vaccine members are back in the saddle again and ready to ride their way across northeast Georgia to raise funds for AIDS research at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC).

This is the fourth year an Emory team has participated in such a ride, the most recent being a 540-mile European jaunt from Amsterdam to Paris last summer. This year’s ride—the Action Cycling 200—is a two-day, 200-mile ride from May 31–June 1 that takes riders on a scenic round-trip ride from Atlanta to Athens. All funds raised will go solely to the VRC, unlike previous rides where funds were shared with other research facilities.

To date, 10 people comprised Team Emory this year, representing all facets of the University, said Joe Miller, a graduate student in biological sciences and veteran of the three previous AIDS rides. This year’s team is the first to be largely made up of return riders, added Miller, who also serves as Team Emory’s captain.

“Having accomplished the European ride, we weren’t about to say no this year,” said Susan Hunter, who participated in last year’s ride along with her husband, interim Provost Woody Hunter.

New riders—of all experience levels—are welcome to join up until the week before the ride, but riders aren’t the only people needed to build a team, Miller and Susan Hunter emphasized. Crew members and volunteers assisting in everything from route logistics to sideline support are encouraged and welcome.

Riders must pay an $85 registration cost and agree to help raise at least $500 in donations by May 30. Crew members have a $45 registration fee and a $250 fundraising minimum. Volunteers are asked only for a few hours of their time and are not required (but are strongly encouraged) to raise funds.

The team’s goal is to raise $100,000, and the Hunters said they hope to equal their personal goal of $30,000 from last year. The Hunters said they aim to raise this year’s group goal to $135,000, about the same amount collected from the European ride. To date, such rides (run through varying nonprofit organizations) have brought in about $3 million for the VRC, said Miller, adding that Emory riders have raised about $300,000 collectively.

Other fundraising efforts include one from Showcase Photography School, which is hosting an “impromptu” photo show.

All proceeds from the $5 entry fee (per image) will go to Team Emory. Photos will hang from May 12–June 30 at the school (1135 Sheridan Road). For more information, please contact the school at 404-965-2205 or at

Additionally, the team has hosted a bake sale and is planning a May 17 yard sale (donations will be accepted) on Haygood Drive. On May 15, the team will have an open house at the VRC (which is adjacent to the Yerkes Research Center).

Raising funds isn’t the only challenge associated with this ride; there are the physical demands of preparing for a long-distance ride.

The physically demanding rides aren’t easy. During the European ride, team members battled chilling temperatures and cold rain. On the upcoming ride, they will deal with hot, muggy summer weather, which could mean severe sunburn and dehydration.

“You have to think about it in this way, ‘I’m out here doing my little bit of mileage, raising this little amount.’ But, all of the ‘me’s’ together have provided several millions of dollars for AIDS research,” Hunter said.

For more information on joining Team Emory or to find out more about the upcoming open house or yard sale, contact Miller at or or Hunter at For more information on ActionCycling 200, visit