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May 24, 2005 > Ride for life

Ride for life

by Lance Dwyer

In a couple of weeks Newark Police Captain Lance Morrison will embark on the most physically challenging feat of his life. Although he has run multiple marathons and completed long-distance swimming competitions, this June, he knows his body will be sore in ways he never thought possible.

But just as the pains in his muscles will reach heights once foreign to him, the sense of gratification he will feel will also reach a new level.

Months ago, Morrison was approached by Newark Police Chief Ray Samuels about participating in a 585-mile bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles over a six-day period to raise money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Morrison said that Samuels probably thought of inviting him because he knew Morrison was "crazy enough" to participate in an event of this nature but more importantly, Morrison had always demonstrated a deep concern for humanity.

Although he has spent years serving and protecting his community, Morrison considers this to be a unique opportunity to more directly benefit society.

"This is something we can get a lot of satisfaction out of and feel like we're really accomplishing something," said Morrison.

Morrison, always on the lookout for ways in which he could be involved in a cause of this magnitude, says that participating in a 585-mile bicycle trip would have been the last thing on his mind.

"I used to be a paper boy in Newark when I was young," said Morrison. "My memory is of always just wanting to go home. I swore off bikes ever since then."

The severity of the cause, however, was reason enough for him to go back on his childhood vow.

"It's a horrible epidemic," said Morrison. "[AIDS is] the disease of our era. Since the 80s it's done nothing but explode."

A commitment of approximately 1,800 riders set to make the trip is to raise $2,500 each, though both Samuels and Morrison have their sights set considerably higher.

Both men have been working vigorously in order to make the trip successful - furiously pursuing collection pledges and bicycling over one hundred miles each week.

Initially, Samuels and Morrison began training by riding their bicycles during their lunch hour but realized immediately that the trip would require far more extensive training. Last weekend, the pair biked from San Francisco to Petaluma and back-a 102-mile trip completed in just over six hours.

Morrison said the workout was grueling to say the least. He quipped, "I quickly found out that I'm the other Lance, not Lance Armstrong." To complete the trip, he will have to repeat that same workout five more times. Morrison said he is not training to "acclimate" but to simply "survive" the trip.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation bicycle ride benefit begins on June 5 and ends on June 11. Riders will cover roughly 100 miles each day for nine hours before setting up camp.

Although dreading the physical exhaustion he is about to experience, Morrison knows it will all be worth it in the end. "It's not about us 1,800 people doing this thing," said Morrison. "It's really the cause that I hope people understand. There's a huge epidemic and it's not slowing down, it's gaining speed and it attacks all of us."

Anyone wishing to make donations for either Ray Samuels or Lance Morrison can write checks to AIDS/LIFECYCLE and mail them to the Newark Police Department at 37101 Newark Blvd. 94560 or visit Samuels' website at or Morrison's website at

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