Like any great event, the ACT Ride has its own traditions that make it great. If you've never been on an ACT Ride, the following will help you understand what's going on at certain points. If you've already done ACT Rides, make sure you re-read this and help us carry on the great traditions.
Tradition #1: Last Rider Caravan
- The tail of the Ride is known as Caboose. At night in Camp, everyone gathers together to welcome back all the riders and crew after another successful day.
Tradition #2: Rider Zero
- As part of the Last Rider Caravan, a bike without a rider is led into Camp. Rider Zero represents those lost to HIV/AIDS. It is a quiet moment when people reflect on the day and the people we're riding for.
Tradition #3: Positive Pedalers
- As you ride, you may see riders who are wearing jerseys or have flags on their bikes that indicate they are Positive Pedalers. These are riders with HIV/AIDS. They embody the sense of empowerment.
Tradition #4: Inflatable Animals
- Sometimes you will need a lift as you are riding. Keep your eyes open for vehicles with big inflatable animals on top. You'll see Otis the Octopus and his many friends. While we can all have a good laugh and some fun, they also help you recognize a crew vehicle from other vehicles that may pass you. If you need anything, these are the people you can flag down.
Tradition #5: Popsicle Hill
- You will find a variety of terrain on the Ride. Sometimes you'll encounter long, flat stretches and sometimes you'll be on top of a ridge with a great view. Well, you don't get that view without extra effort. Every year there is a hill that seems to be the granddaddy of them all, a hill that takes your breath away. This hill is deemed Popsicle Hill because at the top riders are rewarded with a popsicle! Enjoy it while you catch your breath and soak in the view.
Tradition #6: Hill Toppers
- Almost all riders struggle on the hills. One of the great traditions, however, is that no matter how much you struggled to ride up a hill, you can help others who come after you. As you're coming up a hill, you will hear people at the top cheering you on. Some will ride their bikes down and ride up with you. When you get to the top, hop off your bike and cheer someone else on. This is a great tradition that provides encouragement and builds community.
Tradition #7: Random Acts of Kindness
- Once we all get to camp at night, after dinner we have nightly announcements, called "Nightly News". During this time, people are asked to share random acts of kindness they have seen or been the recipient of during the day. It's a great reminder of the way the world could be.
Tradition #8: Red Day
- In honor and memory of those we've lost to HIV/AIDS, Day Four is Red Day. The night before the final day, many riders gather to paint their fingernails red. All are encouraged to wear a red jersey or T-shirt. Coming into Madison, riders form a living, breathing tribute as a cohesive community, united behind one cause. We are more visible — one long red ribbon.
Tradition #9: Theme Days
- In addition to our traditional "ACT Day" and "Red Day" we have two other theme days. Participating in the theme of the day provides an amazing sense of community - as well as some fantastic outfits!