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Through AIDS Ride, Sharon Temple President Keeps Brother's Vision Going

Harbor to the Bay ride is Saturday.

Saturday, Randy O'Brien will carry the vision and photo of her older brother Michael Tye on her bicycle 125 miles, from Boston to Provincetown.

The Tye family's Harbor to the Bay ride supports the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The event has raised about $2.4 million -- all toward the cause -- since its inception in 2003, says O'Brien, an Easton resident and the president of in Sharon.

This year's ride expects to raise $450,000 and draw 400 riders and 80 volunteers, she says. There are three ride options: 125 miles from Boston to Provincetown; 68 miles from Boston to the Sagamore Bridge; and 68 miles from the Sagamore Bridge to Provincetown.

Michael Tye envisioned the ride after participating in a two-day AIDS awareness ride over 400 miles for six years, O'Brien says.

"As the rides continued and the years went on, only 30 percent of the dollars went to the actual charities, and he just couldn't believe (it). 'How can I ask people to give me money to a charity when 70 percent of it is going to marketing or in somebody's pocket?'" O'Brien says.

"So, he had a vision with some other people to create this ride."

However, Michael never saw the first ride.

He died of compilcations from multiple myeloma cancer on June 2, 2003. The first Harbor to the Bay ride was Sept. 13.

"My brother Mark rides Michael's bicycle that Michael rode in his rides, with his picture on his bike," O'Brien says.


What was that first year like, where your brother had just died a couple of months before?


It was very emotional.

I will never say I'm a rider or a cyclist. The picture on the bike, that's the inspiration.

Yes, I trained. But we always felt that he was smiling down on us. He was the reason we had the most gorgeous weather.

My father surprised us at one of the water stops. I remember seeing him and stopping and almost bicycling him over. As we embraced each other, it was just an amazing, amazing event.

The most incredible closing ceremonies took place.

What they did was they had medals for the riders.

My father and my brother's partner rolled in a bicycle without somebody on it, remembering those who are gone. It was incredible.


I take it you two were close?


We were very close.

I particularly remember him taking me skiing when I was younger. And there's a seven-year age difference.

He was really close to our kids. He was a wonderful uncle.


How has the race changed over its nine years?


We have more riders and more tiers, and we've raised more money.

But it hasn't changed, because it's a grassroots ride. People volunteer. They do anything and everything to make it happen.


Has the awareness of AIDS changed since the ride started?


That's a good question. I don't know the answer to that.

I think there's more awareness of AIDS that's out of this country than what's going on in this country.

Our goal with this ride is to remind people it still is a problem. It still needs people to assist, support and find a cure locally as well as in foreign countries.

There's so much you can give to. But it does seem that there was a point where there was much more awareness.

Carol Rose September 15, 2011 at 06:15 PM
What a beautiful and informative article about the ride and its Cause. Thank you for doing it. Carol Rose, Michael Tye and Randy O,Brien's sister


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