by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
On June 5, athlete, model, actor, and reality TV star (MTV's The Real World) Scott Herman will set out from San Francisco and embark on a seven-day bike ride to Los Angeles as celebrity 'spokes-rider' for the 10th annual AIDS/LifeCycle, the world's largest annual HIV/AIDS fundraising event.
Leading his six-person 'Team Scott Herman Fitness,' he will pedal 545 miles with over 2,500 other riders to help raise more than $12 million for the HIV/AIDS-related services of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
The week-long ride begins on June 5, the 30th anniversary of our nation's battle against AIDS.
With no experience in distance cycling, Herman said, 'Taking on a new physical challenge is exhilarating - especially when I'm doing it to support a cause I'm so passionate about.' A vocal supporter of the LGBT community and marriage rights, Scott feels a connection to the event because like his online community, AIDS/LifeCycle is all about helping people be as healthy as possible.
Seattle Gay News caught up with Scott to talk about the challenge.
'To be honest, I haven't had much time to train,' he told SGN. 'Between all the horrible weather New England had to offer and preparing for the Tough Mudder Competition I participated in a few weeks ago, I'd say my riding time isn't quite up to par. But hey, I love a challenge!'
Scott takes a no-nonsense approach to LGBT advocacy. He said he supports marriage equality and HIV/AIDS research 'because it is the right thing to do - period.'
'HIV/AIDS is a horrible disease and the amount of suffering those living with it endure who can't afford treatments is preposterous,' he said.
'Being a celebrity, to me, doesn't mean that people should kiss your ass and give you free stuff or pay you thousands of dollars to make an appearance at a bar,' said Scott. 'Being a celebrity means you have a voice, and from where I sit, you have two ways you could use that voice: for good or for evil. I am going to use my voice, which is amplified by how loud I fight for equality in the LGBT community, to encourage others to participate in events like the AIDS/LifeCycle ride.'
Scott will ride with Phillip Schlueter, Adam Ebnit, and Glenn Paladini.
'I have my very own Hermanites,' he joked. 'They are great guys and I am looking forward to riding with them.'
Scott told SGN that he believes you measure a person's character based on their actions. 'It is such a gratifying feeling to help a stranger,' he said. 'You may not be able to do the AIDS/LifeCycle ride, but you should still try to find ways to help others in your own community. You never know, you might make a friend for life.'
The actor and fitness expert says that he is pleased to see the nation rallying behind anti-bullying messages. 'I was bullied a lot as a kid and, to be honest, that is what drove me to fitness,' he said. 'I wanted to look like the superheroes I idolized as a kid so that maybe one day I could save others, too. Now that I am all grown up, I may not have super powers, but I still feel like my wish came true. If I can be the shield that protects our youth from being bullied, then so be it. I know that as more straight allies come to the front lines, our LGBT youth will feel safer in the fight for equality.'
Scott says he loves his LGBT fans. 'I would like to say 'Thank you' for all the support, and as Scott Herman Fitness grows bigger and bigger, I will continue to use my voice to fight for equality in the LGBT community. I wouldn't be here without you, and I am not a man who forgets where he comes from.'
More information on AIDS/LifeCycle can be found at www.aidslifecycle.org.
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