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50 riders clad in red took on 25-mile loop through the capital to raise money for charity

Today is World AIDS Day – and to mark the occasion, Porn Pedallers yesterday organised the inaugural Ride The Ribbon which saw around 50 cyclists ride a 25-mile loop around London to raise money for the charities Terrence Higgins Trust and Positive East, which work with people living with and affected by HIV.

Billed not as a sportive but as “more of a celebratory parade,” the ride started and finished at Victoria Park in East London, with riders from the club, which draws its membership from people working in the adult entertainment industry, joined by well-wishers (and, for part of the route, this road.cc journalist together with dog in bike basket).

The ride took place under clear, blue skies but the temperature was distinctly chilly as it set off at 9am and made for a colourful sight, with the riders encouraged to follow a ‘red glam’ dress code, and there were plenty of red capes, wigs and even tutus on display.

Splitting up into groups – some needed to be back at the start by Noon for the annual 10-kilometre Red Run in Victoria Park – the riders ranged from seasoned veterans of Porn Pedallers’ regular trips to Flanders and elsewhere on the Continent to people riding a bike for the first time, the route took in a number of landmarks of the London LGBTQ scene.

Those included Old Compton Street in Soho, home to bars including the Admiral Duncan where three people were killed in a bombing targeting the gay community, and the headquarters of both Stonewall and the Terrence Higgins Trust.

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At its westernmost point, the route took in the former site in Ladbroke Grove of the London Lighthouse, a centre and hospice for people with HIV and AIDS often visited by the late Princess Diana; the building is now occupied by the Museum of Brands, which among other things, made for a welcome coffee stop in its cafe.

Afterwards, Porn Pedallers founder Chris Ratcliff said that while Ride The Ribbon had been “conceived as a novelty sidebar” to the Red Run, the interest it generated “proved there is sufficient interest to spin off a dedicated cycle event.”

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He said: “The buzz on Twitter alone about Ride The Ribbon has been phenomenal with donations flooding in over the past week.

“This will see PPCC smash their 2019 target of £15k for Terrence Higgins Trust, bringing in the running total raised since mid-2018 to £25k.

“I think it’s important that we as an industry, producers and performers, give something back,” he continued.

“Ride The Ribbon is about educating people about sexual health, about dispelling myths and fighting HIV stigma.

“The scientific progress in HIV treatment over the past 30 years is staggering and something to be celebrated.

“The news that someone living with HIV on effective treatment, who has an undetectable viral load, can’t pass it on is game-changer and a message that PPCC are committed to championing.

“This was evidenced by the turnout from both riders and supporters along the route despite a chilly start from Victoria Park.”

He added: “The feedback has been amazing which means Ride The Ribbon will be back for World AIDS Day 2020, though I think everyone is probably dreaming right now of a balmier Summer ‘Pride Ride’.”

You can donate to Porn Pedallers’ fundraising for Terrence Higgins Trust and Positive East here on Virgin Money Giving or text RTRGIVE to 70085 to make a £5 donation from your mobile.

Porn Pedallers hit the headlines around the world in March this year after the club lost its licence from British Cycling, which cited UCI regulations that ban licence-holders from being associated with pornographic products.

> Porn Pedallers to carry on riding – despite being stripped of British Cycling affiliation

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Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.