RIDE 101

Why did the Ride for AIDS Chicago change its name to Ride for Life Chicago?

We changed the name because our mission and the people we serve represent more than AIDS and more than HIV, and because the landscape of HIV care and services connects with many health concerns and all aspects of our lives.  

For 17 years, the Ride has been a powerful fundraiser, generating nearly $5 million to provide care and services for people affected by HIV across the city of Chicago. Today, those services - and the clients and community members- intersect a broad range of issues, lived experiences, and health concerns. TPAN and our community partners are empowering ALL lives affected by HIV, not just AIDS, and we are proud to recognize all the ways in which our Ride participants and volunteers impact our community. 

We address mental health issues, need for primary health care, unemployment and housing needs, at-risk LGBTQ youth, the needs of older adults, and the importance of treatment and disease prevention. We ride, volunteer, and donate to fight poverty, isolation, lack of social support, and a range of health challenges like HCV, addiction and substance use, and the still-powerful stigma of living with chronic illness. 

We are excited to rename the Ride for AIDS Chicago, to ensure that it reflects our purpose, our full range, and its powerful impact: every mile, every dollar, and every volunteer helps save lives. 

Welcome to TPAN’s Ride for Life Chicago - Empowering lives affected by HIV.
Give. Ride. Go further. For life.

What’s the best way of contacting my TPAN Development Staff members when I have a question?

You can email or call us at any time! Meet our Ride for Life Chicago support team and access our contact details HERE.

We have numerous channels for sharing information with our participants, including Facebook and our ongoing events calendar, if you have a question that needs personal support or if you need more assistance, please call or email us directly!

How can I learn more about TPAN’s work — to help my fundraising and advocacy through the Ride?

We have powerful statistics, client stories, and resources to help you share the story of TPAN's mission and work. 

If you have any questions, would like to visit TPAN, please contact us! We'd love to hear from you and support your advocacy!


What is a Legacy / Virtual Rider?

NEW THIS YEAR: In response to the COVID 19 crisis we want anyone to be a part of the Ride for Life Chicago, regardless of where you are or your physical ability!

A Legacy/Virtual Rider is a participant not cycling the Ride, yet who is part of our team and advocacy/fundraising experience. 

Virtual Riders are a part of our success and mission to save lives, with all the online and off-road experiences of this year's Ride for Life Chicago. 

Virtual Riders are asked to raise a minimum of $500 and will have all the online tools and resources of your teammates. Learn more HERE or contact your TPAN staff with questions!

What do I choose if I’m unsure of completing 100 or 200 miles?

We listened to the feedback of our Ride participants who wanted a more accessible way to experience the Ride for Life Chicago as a cyclist.

For 2020, we've rolled out the 1-Day/50-Mile Rider and "50/50" 2-Day/100-Mile Rider options -You can DOWNLOAD our "Many ways to join" flyer and share with friends, teammates, and co-workers. 

The peer-led training program is designed to prepare riders for tackling 200 miles. Sometimes situations arise that deter training, but if by the event date, you do not feel ready for 200 miles, you are able to move to the 100 mile rider experience. Speak with a Team Captain or TPAN Development if you have concerns during your training. 

What does it mean to join Crew?

Our Crew members are an essential part of the Ride for Life Chicago! They support cycling participants on training rides,they are an important part of our community visibility and team experiences. 

You will receive all the same staff support for your fundraising as your cycling and Legacy / Virtual Rider peers.

Cew members can Register as part of a Ride for Life Chicago team or as an individual. 

Would you like to speak with one of our Crew Teams Captains to learn more? Have questions about how to join Crew? Contact us!

Do I need to register if I want to volunteer on the Ride weekend?

You can volunteer to support our partricipants in a route/water station, to make our Day 1 kick-off or our final Closing Ceremony celebration a success, and to help check-in our cyclists at important check-points. 

You do NOT have to register on this site if you want to give your time & energy in these other ways. Check out our online volunteer sign-up form and be sure to check Ride for Life in your interests!

Is there a deadline for registration?

The sooner you register as a participant (Rider/cyclist, Crew member, or Legacy/Virtual Rider), the more time you have to surpass your fundraising goal, experience the fun and support of Ride peers and teams, and be a part of the overall Ride journey in advancing our mission. 

Register TODAY to get started! 

If I choose to sign up for the 100-mile option what should I expect?

100-mile Ride participants can enjoy the same training and fundraising experience as the 200-mile Rider or even Crew! Both Riders and Crew train together on weekend training rides. Both the 100-mile & 200-mile riders will follow an 18-week training plan. 100-mile riders have a progressive training plan that gradually increases in mileage, preparing riders for cycling 100 miles. 

Any participant may choose to move from the 100 to 200-mile distance and vise versa. Talk with TPAN's Development Team about mileage and participation options that may work for you.

I registered but forgot add myself to a Team — What do I do?

You've registered and decided to join a team or create a team? Simply contact TPAN Development for assistance with updating your registration.

What’s the benefit of being on a Team in the Ride for Life Chicago?

Both the team and individual participation options offer a great experience of fundraising and advocating for TPAN. When it comes to fundraising, teams can offer an additional level of support. You'll have a team Captain to help guide and support your fundraising efforts. 

Can I register as a single rider/participant?

Anyone may register and participate as an individual rider, without joining a team. If you change your mind or find the team that's the right fit for you, we can assist you in joining a team later! 

What if I register and can’t make the event weekend?

In situations like this, we recommend considering the new Legacy Rider participation option. We can assist you in reaching your goal and updating your Ride participation role.  


How can I get help with my fundraising?

Your TPAN Development team are here to help!  Every Ride for Life Participant will have the opportunity to create a personal fundraising plan and strategy with one of our team memberrs, and Ride participants who join as part of an official Ride team will have the mentoring and peer support of your experienced Team Captain and teammates.

Would you like a one-on-one call or meeting to talk about fundraising strategies and assistance? CONTACT us and we'll make that happen!

Are you looking for inspiration and stories in how to ask for donations and talk about our shared mission? Be sure to read more about the work you make possible HERE.

Are you familiar with our newest ways for donors to be a part of the Ride for Life Chicago and TPAN's mission? Review how donors can support our cause HERE.

Have you read about ways in which donors can become a sponsor of your Ride participation or Team? Get familiar with our SPONSORSHIP program HERE.

What’s is the Advocate Circle? How can I become part of it?

The Advocate Circle is TPAN’s recognition circle for individuals who raise $2,000 or more per year to support our lifesaving mission. Advocate Circle members are TPAN’s best champions, fundraising to expand care and services for our community. 

If you raised $2k or more in last year’s Ride, YOU are already an Advocate Circle member - Thank you! You can become a member or renew your Advocate Circle recognition this year, whether as a cycling Ride participant or remote Legacy/Virtual Rider.  

What are the benefits of being an Advocate Circle member through the Ride for Life Chicago?

Enjoy perks like waived registration fees and invitation to our annual thank-you reception, special gift bonus when you renew your $2k plus achievement, and receive recognition in our Ride for Life Chicago Closing Ceremony & in TPAN’s annual report! 

Watch your Ride fundraising progress bar on your personal Ride for Life Chicago page to see when you join the Advocate Circle. We are extremely proud and grateful for the many people advocating for TPAN and our programs, and we want to celebrate our best champions.

I’d like to host a fundraiser for my Ride or Team! What things should I be thinking about?

Creating your own fundraising event is a great way to get the people around you engaged with your participation in the Ride. The first thing to think about when planning a fundraiser is how you can best convey the mission of TPAN and the Ride for Life Chicago

This can be a simple as:

  • Host a virtual house party! Be transparent with your invitation - let them know it's a party for a cause! A simple wine party, with remarks from you or a TPAN Development team member, can invite friends to become your donors and sponsors.
  • Host an online fundraiser with our new Integrated Facebook Fundraising tool! 
  • Partner with your teammates or a fellow Ride participant to co-host an event at a friend's home or at a local business.

If you plan to host a fundraising event, there are a few questions and resources you should be thinking about:

  • Who am I inviting and asking to support our cause? Have I thought about all my contacts, like fellow alumni, former co-workers, neighbors, or even peers from my sports club or professional networking association?
  • How will you make "the ask"? Have you thought about how to tell your story? What will inspire your guests to give? Would you like a partner or TPAN staffer to help you or join you in making the ask?
  • How will people donate? TPAN can provide you with basic tools like official donation envelopes or color-printed donation forms, and our website is still the best and easiest way for people to give.

How does Facebook fundraising work?

IMPROVED THIS YEAR:  The Ride for Life Chicago is integrated with Facebook fundraising, giving you an easy, fun way to invite donations to support our mission and surpass your fundraising goal! 

We recommend you begin by reading the basics and How-To overview at

To set up:

  • Log into your Participant Center
  • Be sure that you’re on the Home tab of the Participant Center
  • From there, you’ll see the blue Facebook button on the right side of the Participant Center.
  • Click the Facebook fundraising button and your fundraiser will be immediately set up!

Important things to know:

  • The Facebook link is only available once.  
    • This means that once you establish your fundraiser through the Participant Center, you won’t be able to set up a new linked fundraiser until the next event year (2021). 
    • Once your linked Facebook (FB) fundraiser is set up, you really shouldn’t have a need to close it. 
  • After you’ve set up the linked FB fundraiser, you’ll see the MORE options under the DONATE button. 
    • Click here and you’re able to EDIT your fundraiser. 
    • It’s a great idea to set the expiry of your fundraiser for September 8th or even September 30th! 
    • You can also make any other edits to the text or header image here.

If you're prompted to confirm the non-profit beneficiary of your Facebook fundraiser, you’ll search for “TPAN” (@tpanchicago). 

Most importantly: after your Facebook fundraiser concludes, you’ll see that the donations you’ve invited via Facebook appear in your Ride for Life Chicago fundraising progress bar. 

I just had a fundraising event! What’s my next step?

What is a Sponsorship and what are the new benefits this year? Can I meet my goal with sponsorships?

Who do people make checks payable to?

Donations paid by check may be made out to “TPAN”. 

What’s the fundraising requirement? What if I’m worried about meeting it?

Cyclists joining as 100 or 200 mile riders  (both 1-Day and 2-Day Riders) raise a minimum of $1,200.

Cyclists joining as a 1-Day/50-Mile Rider raise a minimum of $1,000.

Virtual Riders and Crew members raise a minimum of $500.

Peer support in fundraising efforts to meet your overall team goal. Having Legacy / Virtual Riders on your team is another way to share team support and have partners in your fundraising. 

Remember: Ride for Life Chicago donations paid over 2-12 months (as a monthly recurring gift) will be credited to your fundraising goal in full.

We invite each Ride participant to reach to Advocate Circle level or higher!

We are here to help! If you would like to schedule one-on-one support or talk with a TPAN team member about ways to advance your fundraising, contact us.

What is the Pledge/Recurring Gift option? How does it help me meet my fundraising goal?


Donors can increase or spread out their contribution to our effort by setting up a monthly recurring donation over 2-12 months. Their TOTAL gift over time will be fully credited to your fundraising progress, as long as their gift is set-up through the website with an active recurring gift paid with credit or debit card.

How does this impact you as a fundraiser?

  • If you have a donor considering a contribution of $50, would they increase their support to $100 if paid as $10/month over 10 months?
  • Is there an individual or small business owner who might consider becoming a Ride for Life Chicago sponsor at the $500 Partner Level, if they fulfill their gift with monthly recurring payments of $42/month over 12 months?
  • Do you have a personal champion moved by your Ride commitment who would join TPAN's Leadership Circle of major donors with a monthly recurring donation to the Ride for Life Chicago of $100/month over the year? 

Do you have questions about how to ask a donor for a pledge and recurring gift payment? Contact our TPAN Development team or check out our Ride for Life Chicago Sponsorship Packet for more ideas!  We are here to help. 

How does someone make a donation?

What do I do with CASH donations?

Handling of CASH donations - whether from friends, colleagues, or from a fundraising event you or your team has hosted - is very important, and we ask you to take a few easy steps to ensure that they are safely transferred to TPAN and that all fundraising is approprioately recognized in your progress.

  • Provide all your cash donors the opportunity to be RECEIPTED for their gift. Few may ask for this, but it's important to offer it. You can keep these donations separate by placing them in a TPAN donation envelope (ask your TPAN Development staff about these) or keeping the cash with your donor's information, like a simple business card.
  • COUNT your cash with a witness, teammate, or friend.  Whenever possible, it's best practice to have your cash donations doubly counted by a fellow team member or witness before you turn in cash.
  • EMAIL US to confirm your transfer of cash donations - whether dropping off at TPAN or transferring via check or online gift processing. It's important for us to know if these donations are your personal gift or contributions from others, so we can credit them properly. (Note: don't worry about this step if this is fundraiser event cash - see below!)
  • IF your cash donations are result of FUNDRAISING EVENT, you only have to fill out the simple online form found at It takes just 2-3 minutes. Then wait for follow-up email from us the next business day. Easy.

Where does the money go? How does TPAN put this support into action?

Your fundraising and all contributions support lifesaving care and services for more than 2,000 people every year. 

Click HERE to read more about how your donations impact lives in a profound way.

Read more about TPAN's innovative and comprehensive care HERE.

What digital content and resources are available to help me with my fundraising?

Digital resources and content are available for quick download here. 

What’s the difference between my GOAL and the minimum?

Your GOAL is the amount you've personally targeted in your fundraising! Your goal should be aspirational (aim high!) and challenging, because a stretch goal can help inspire your friends, colleagues, contacts, and teammates to give. People want you to succeed, and we recomend you set a goal that's higher than the minimum and perhaps higher than your first estimate. You can amend your goal (set it higher as you secure more donations, for example). 

The MINIMUM is the required amount every cycling Ride participant commites to raising when you register. This year, the required minimum is $1,200 per cyclist. The suggested minimum for all Crew members and Legacy / Virtual Riders is $500.

What are some of the best ways to ask for support?

There are so many ways to ask for support! However, these are the two best ways to find support during your Ride experience:

Who are my Ride for Life Chicago support team?

Meet your TPAN Development team members HERE and email us with any questions not answered here or to set up a personal, one-on-one meeting or call to talk about your fundraising strategies.  We are here to help!


I’m not very fast! Is that okay?

The Ride for Life Chicago is not a race! Participants may ride at a comfortable or preferred pace for completing 100 or 200 miles. There are time constraints around completing the entire 100 or 200-mile journey. Furthermore, for the safety of all volunteers, participants of the 200-mile distance will be swept to camp if they are unable to reach camp before dusk on Saturday. 

How often are training rides?

Training rides are volunteer led and will offer Crew member support for new or inexperienced cyclists where schedules permit. We are committed to helping you reach your training goals!

Our schedule is available on the Calendar tab so that you can plan your training experience leading up to the big event weekend.  Click HERE to see any scheduled training rides and/or support events and add them to your calendar!

What if I get lost?

The Ride for Life Chicago route is clearly marked for the event weekend. In addition, riders are provided cue sheets with turn-by-turn directions. If a participant were to stray from the route or find themselves in an unfamiliar location, participant cue sheets include Crew contact information where a Crew team may be reached for directional assistance.

Can I wear headphones while riding?

For the safety of all participants, the Ride for Life Chicago does not allow the use of ear buds, headphones, or any type of music device that may be worn inside or over the ears. Bike mounted speakers are okay, however, Riders and Crew must be mindful of playing loud music through areas in which we ride. 

What if I cannot complete my miles?

If your training gets derailed due to injury, mechanical/equiment issues, or any other reason, you may choose to move from the 200 mile distance to the 100 mile distance. Speak to a member of TPAN's Development Team for guidance with situations like this.  

What if I cannot complete 100 miles?

If your training gets derailed due to injury, mechanical/equiment issues, or any other reason, you may choose to move from the 100 mile distance to a 50 mile distance. Speak to a member of TPAN's Development Team for guidance with situations like this.

Can I switch from Rider to Crew?

Participants are able to switch from Rider to Crew or from Crew to Rider. Please speak with a member of TPAN's Development Team for guidance with situations like this. 

I’m injured and can no longer ride, what now?

There are additional ways to stay connected and engaged even through injury. 

  • Join the Legacy/Virtual Rider participation group - "Ride" from anywhere at any level!
  • Join the Crew and have supportive encouraging experience.
  • Volunteer your support in other ways by contacting TPAN Development.

How many rest stops are on the route?

The official route will have 5 to7 pit stops, including lunch. 

Will there be lunch?

Yes, lunch is provided for all riders, crew, and event staff. .


How can I get training or support to better use my Participant Center?

Absolutely! You may contact TPAN Development to set up a 1-on-1 training, if you have not already received an invitation for a Participant Center walk-thru.

I forgot my username and password. How can I find out what they are?

Remember that your username and password are case sensitive. Click here to find your password. Populate the requisite information and you will receive an email with your username and/or password.

How can I see who has donated to me?

You can view your donors by logging into your Participant Center. 

Please log in to access your TeamRaiser event's participant center.

Once you've logged in, you'll see three tabs along the top of the Overview: Home, Email, Progress, and Personal Page. Click on the Progress tab and to view your fundraising progress and donation history. You may also download a list of your personal donations with the Download personal donation list link just above your Donation History. 

What if I don’t see all my donors in my scroll display?

If you do not see all of your donors in your scroll, first follow these steps:

  • Log out of your Participant Center
  • Exit the Ride website and begin again with a new browser. 
  • If your donor list has not fully restored, please contact TPAN Development for further assistance. 

How long does it take for mailed or hand-delivered donations to appear on my Ride page?

Please allow for 2-3 BUSINESS DAYS for any and all donations, received checks, and delivered fundraising dollars to be fully processed and posted to your and/or your team's fundraising totals on the Ride for Life Chicago website.

This applies for all donations, made online, via mail, and delivered to TPAN. If you have questions about timing or confirmation of receipt after 3 business days, please contact us!  


Where is the best spot for friends, family, and loved ones to cheer me on or support me along the route?

The best spot for friends, family and loved ones to cheer you on is at the Closing Ceremonies of the Ride for Life Chicago. This year's Opening and Closing Ceremonies will take place at a location most participants are familiar with... Winnemac Park

  • Your friends, family, and supporters are welcome to join us for our Opening Ceremonies, beginning at 6:30am
  • All participants will take the route at 7am sharp. 
  • The Closing Ceremonies take place from 1pm - 6pm at Winnemac Park. 
    • Street parking is available, however, we encourage using the CTA to get to Winnemac Park.