Pit Stop in Paradise

By Richard Mineards   |   June 20, 2019
Mayor Cathy Murillo with Sean Dooner, Paradise Pit mayor, and riders

Rod Lathim, Santa Barbara director and producer, has been celebrating an 18-year motorcycling tradition, The Paradise Pit, an all-volunteer event supporting nearly 3,000 riders and crew of the California AIDS Lifecycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The annual ride came through our Eden by the Beach last week and the Paradise Pit, which was set up near the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, served complimentary ice cream, fresh fruit, and baked goods to the ravenous participants.

This year the ride raised more than $16 million for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, with Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy the top fundraiser garnering nearly $250,000, including sponsorship from Rod.

“I did the ride in 1998 and it changed my life,” says Rod. “Every year since then, except one that got rained out, I have organized the Paradise Pit in honor of the riders and their huge efforts. 

“Two years ago, I passed the baton to Sean Dooner, who is now the coordinator, but I continue to work the pit every year. The riders are hot, tired, and sore, but their spirits are soaring. The Paradise Pit has become an iconic part of the ride.”

Rod Lathim and AIDS Lifecycle rider Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy

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