By mid-afternoon Friday, June 25, the trickle of cyclists approaching the Lee Bridge from Riverside Drive had become a flow. By twilight, some 1,700 riders from up and down the East Coast had set up camp on the playing fields behind John Marshall High School on the Northside. The riders had begun their ride in Raleigh on Thursday to raise funds for, and consciousness of, AIDS programs through the Tanqueray's American AIDS Ride. After arriving at the makeshift tent city, scores of cyclists took advantage of free massages, consumed a pasta supper and turned in early. At 6:30 the next morning they would pedal toward Washington, D.C. For Richmonders and fellow cycling team members Lynn McAteer, Susan Osofsky, Frosty Owen and Kathy Benham, joining the ride meant fund-raising efforts (they raised $16,000 among them) and meeting on Saturdays since winter to train. "Even in miserable weather," moaned McAteer. But they agreed their efforts were worthwhile as they proudly showed off their bikes. "It has been extremely emotional," said Osofsky. A highlight of the day's ride for many participants had been the warm welcome offered in Chester. Ten children turned out with hand-written signs of encouragement and invited the riders to sign their names on a fence. The local children's' efforts honored a cousin who had died of AIDS.
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