SMART Ride Gone, New Ride Launches

Photo via SMART Ride, Facebook.

When SMART Ride Founder Glen Weinzimer announced the annual HIV/AIDS benefit would end with the November 2023 ride, he said part of the decision was because he didn’t want the legacy event to continue on as a lesser version of itself.

However, SMART Ride veterans and benefitting agencies weren’t ready to lower the kickstand. Within weeks, they started to take matters into their own hands. Team Key West Mile Markers filed articles of incorporation so they could keep fundraising. Executive directors of beneficiaries began discussing among themselves on how to keep the community engaged.

They weren’t sure how or what the new event would look like, but it was an imperative to continue. In recent years, they raised more than $1 million per year. Those funds aren’t easily replaced.

While Weinzimer believed the teams and agencies had grown and become savvy enough to fundraise on their own, he never publicly endorsed a new ride.

That changed during the final check presentation ceremony on Dec. 14. Due to the logistical challenges that go into an event of this size, many thought nothing would happen in 2024. However, the agencies announced a one day, 100-mile ride through the keys is set for November 23, 2024. SMART Ride was a two-day, 165-mile ride from Miami to Key West.

“They’re family,” Weinzimer said of the organizers. “They give people a reason to make a difference. Their stories are real stories. Their wins are real wins, their losses are real losses.”

“Ending it for me was the right time. It has to be reimagined to continue to bring people in.”

On Sunday, it was enough to celebrate history. Details of the new event will come over the next few weeks.


SMART Ride Ends; Our Continuing Coverage


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