Cycle of Life
Independent Study staff member is gearing up for two fund-raising
bike rides this summer
They say that once you learn to ride a bicycle,
you never forget. That's good news for Michael
Boterman, a staff member in Independent Study (IS)/@access
who, until recently, hadn't been on a bike since he was
a kid. That's all changed since he found himself signing
up for not one, but two fund-raising bicycle rides this
It all started when a colleague in IS suggested that her
officemates form a team and participate in a 75-kilometre
ride for multiple sclerosis in Niagara Falls at the end
of August. Although horses have been Boterman's preferred
mode of recreational riding for many years, he agreed to
join the team, figuring there'd be plenty of time to get
back in the bicycle saddle again in time for the MS ride.
The stakes got a little higher, however, when a friend
of Boterman's who rides in the annual Friends for Life Bike
Rally, a 660-km trip from Toronto to Montreal to raise funds
for the Toronto People With AIDS (PWA) Foundation, suggested
he participate in that ride as well. The six-day rally begins
July 29, so before he knew it, Boterman, who doesn't even
own a bicycle, was hitting the road on borrowed wheels,
in serious training for the gruelling ride that lies ahead.
His current regimen includes riding 40 kilometres every
other day, biking to the University from his home in Rockwood
a couple of times a week and making longer-distance treks
on weekends. He also works out twice a week with weights,
under the guidance of a personal trainer. Over the next
few weeks, he'll be picking up the pace until he's eventually
riding up to 50 or 60 km a day.
Needless to say, Boterman has had to abandon his horseback
riding for awhile. But he still manages to squeeze in some
time for his dog and for the occasional part-time work he
does at a restaurant in Milton and as a cater waiter in
His determination to go the distance for the Friends for
Life Bike Rally reflects not only his love of a challenge
but also a personal interest in the cause it supports. Seventeen
years ago, he was diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV). Today, he shows no symptoms of the virus, thanks
to a daily cocktail of three drugs, complementary therapies
such as Vitamin C and ginseng, exercise, and regular visits
to a massage therapist and chiropractor.
In a way, says Boterman, his participation in the bike
rally is an investment in his own future. "There may
come a time someday when I have to draw on the resources
this ride supports."
Since 1987, PWA Toronto has been promoting the dignity
and self-sufficiency of men, women and children living with
HIV/AIDS. The organization provides services such as advocacy,
medication coverage, financial aid, assistance with affordable
housing, treatment resources and outreach programs in schools,
agencies, media, hospitals and community groups.
PWA Toronto raised more than $162,000 through the bike
rally last year and hopes to raise more than $500,000 this
year, half through corporate sponsorships and half through
About 130 riders will make the trek to Montreal, pedalling
about 110 km a day along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence
River and camping overnight along the way. A crew of volunteers
will accompany the riders, providing meals, carrying equipment
between camping spots and organizing activities and entertainment.
Participants will arrive in Montreal in time to join in
the city's Divers-Cité gay pride celebrations.
To participate in the rally, each rider is asked to generate
a minimum of $2,000 in donations. So far, Boterman has raised
about half that amount. Anyone interested in making a contribution
to his effort can cal him at Ext. 3913 or send e-mail to
For more information about the Friends for Life Bike Rally,
visit the Web site www.bikerally.org.