What is the Hill Country Ride for AIDS?
The Hill Country Ride for AIDS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and the largest fundraiser in central Texas for HIV/AIDS services. A family-friendly and festive bike ride through the beautiful hill country, the Ride raises funds that are given directly to nine local nonprofits who help those in our community affected by HIV/AIDS. In the past 20+ years the Ride has raised over $10 million. The Ride was voted “Best Ride” in Austin for two consecutive years and is a beloved community event with an amazingly loyal, supportive community following.
The HCRA is a ride not a race, and all levels are welcomed and celebrated. Participants choose the distance that best suits them: 13, 27, 46, 75, or 90+ miles. All routes are fully supported with exciting, helpful volunteers in a fun, party-like atmosphere. JoyRides, fundraisers and socials throughout the ride season connect participants to the cause and one another. Riders participate individually or start a team with friends, officemates, family members, classmates, or congregations.
For 20+ years, the Hill Country Ride for AIDS has developed a community of kindness that fully supports its participants, volunteers, supporters, and the beneficiaries it serves. $430,000 was raised in 2020, and with the continued help of our valued partners, we hope to raise even more for those in need in 2021.
Who are the beneficiaries that receive funding from the HCRA?
Our beneficiaries include: allgo, ASHwell CARE Program, Community Action, Friends of the David Powell Health Clinic, Out Youth, Project Transitions, Vivent Health, and Waterloo Counseling Center.
Who runs the HCRA?
How can I become a supporter of the HCRA?
How many people participate?
We typically average about 600 riders and more than 200 volunteers.
How long is the Ride?
We have five riding distances for you to choose from: 13, 27, 45, 75, or 90+ miles. This is a ride, not a race – so there is a distance for everyone!
What has the Ride accomplished so far and why is it important?
In addition to making it possible for people to see their children’s graduations, birthdays, and keeping families intact, there are practical reasons caring makes sense:
What and when is Kick Off?
Our annual Kick Off Party officially begins the Ride season and usually takes place the last week in January. It is an opportunity for the Ride community to come together and celebrate the accomplishments of the past year along with an infusion of excitement and vigor for the new Ride season set to begin. This year's Kick Off Party will depend on what stage of risk our community is in relating to COVID-19. More details to come.
What and when is the Cocoa Social?
The first official JoyRide of the new Ride season, the Cocoa Social is a laid-back, supported but casual ride in early February and consists of a light and joyful bike ride and hot cocoa with the ride family! We provide the marshmallows!
When is the Ride?
April 24th, 2021. For a more detailed look at Ride weekend, click here.
Where do the events take place?
Friday Night Opening Ceremonies is on the Friday night before the Ride and takes place at the First United Method Church’s Family Life Center. The Ride is at Krause Springs. In a virtual year, these events are observed differently. In 2021, Friday Night Opening Ceremonies will be conducted on Zoom. 2021 Ride Day will NOT be held at Krause Springs. However, the HCRA will offer a DIY (your own pace and time) ride route that includes our Mile of Silence red flags and goes through Pease Park in downtown Austin. Full details will be sent out to registered participants.
Where is Krause Springs?
The Hill Country Ride starts and finishes at beautiful Krause Springs, just west of Central Austin, close to the town of Spicewood, TX.
What are the directions to Krause Springs?
Let’s keep it green. All participants and visitors are encouraged to carpool, if possible.
Where can I go online for more information?
What opportunities are there to volunteer?
There are many opportunities to volunteer for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS. You can volunteer throughout the year as needs arise, or during the busy weeks before the ride, or on the dedicated days of the Opening Ceremonies and Ride Day. Please see the How to Participate page for details! You won’t regret becoming a part of our Community of Kindness!
Where can I sign up for the ride?
You can sign up by clicking the Register button at the top of this page or on our home page.
How much does it cost to ride the Hill Country Ride for AIDS?
It depends on participation type
Why is there a Registration Fee in addition to a minimum fundraising amount?
There are many things that we offer our Riders during the Ride. These include a cool t-shirt, three delicious meals at Krause Springs (breakfast tacos – yum, sandwich lunch – double yum, and BBQ, hot dogs, and burgers for the cookout –triple yum!), and sustenance galore at all pit stops (water, nuun, and snacks for refueling). We also are required to rent trucks to deliver goods to Krause Springs and surrounding pit stops, in addition to tents, tables, chairs, and, of course, insurance. Plus, don’t forget about law enforcement! Your Registration Fee helps offset these necessary costs AND allows the donated dollars to benefit the nine non-profit agencies that provide care and support to Central Texans with HIV/AIDS.
I’ve never raised this much money. I’m not sure I can do it.
No one likes to ask for money, but when people learn you're riding miles and miles through the Hill Country, they will WANT to support you and this great cause. A majority of people start out thinking they can’t raise this much, yet even though each rider is required to raise only $500 (or $250 for first-time riders), the average rider raises close to $1,000! It’s easier than you think, and we have special fundraising volunteers who will help you raise your money. When you register for the Ride, you will be given access to your own page on our web site, your personal Ride Center. There, you can set up a Personal Page, use our suggested email messages to start asking your friends for support, install our Facebook applications, and use our iPhone application to fundraise on-the-go. If you're ever worried that you won't make your goal, we're here for you. We'll help you throw a Pedal Party and will brainstorm with you to find untapped resources. It's so much easier than you think! Check out our fundraising tips!
What if I don't make my minimum – can I still ride?
The Hill Country Ride for AIDS' mission is to raise funds for 9 local beneficiaries assisting those affected by HIV/AIDS in our community. To do this we do require participants to raise $500 (or $250 for first-time riders). This is how participants have managed to raise over $10 million in 20 years. But please know that in 19 years, we've not had a single person who was charged for the balance of their requirement. This is because folks find that when they send the provided emails to their friends and family or post a request/link on Facebook, they easily meet their goal. The Ride office is very active in assisting the participants by offering fundraising tips and suggestions. Riders find that momentum builds when people start giving, and exceeding the requirement comes much easier than they expect.
I’m not a cyclist, I don’t know if I can ride this far...
We offer a variety of distances and plenty of comfort stops along the way. Most of our riders are not serious cyclists. Most have never done anything like this before, so you're in good company. The Hill Country Ride for AIDS is a RIDE, not a race. It's an honor to finish toward the end - there are that many more people there to cheer you on as you complete the Ride! Our free training program can lead all levels from first time riding to being able to ride this far, and have a lot of fun in the process. “We went through beautiful country, the number of miles between pit stops was perfect. I didn’t train much, but it was just perfect.” –Jenny Royal
I’m not a serious cyclist - how can I train with other people like me?
We have different levels of riders and different mileage offered at all of our weekly JoyRides. It's helpful to know that on Hill Country Ride JoyRides, you'll never be left behind. Click here to see a schedule of our JoyRides and other events, and here for links to Facebook events for our JoyRides.
What kind of support is offered on Ride Weekend?
The Hill Country Ride is a fully supported, recreational bike ride. There is a "pit stop" about every 6-15 miles on each route. Each pit stop has snacks for refueling, Gatorade, water, and bathrooms! You won’t ever be lost thanks to our sign crew who puts signs up to guide you along the way, and our route support crew are along the route to make sure you don't miss a turn! We also have SAG (Support and Gear) vehicles constantly driving the route that can pick you up if necessary, give you water, and even advance you to the next pit stop. The Hill Country Ride has the world’s best volunteer crew! Each member is there to help make the ride a safe and wonderful experience for everyone.
When are the Rider Orientations scheduled?
It used to be mandatory that each Rider attend an orientation session, but these meetings are no longer required. However, we want to make sure we provide as much safety and ride information as you would like. We strongly encourage all first time Hill Country Riders to come to an orientation session. We share important and helpful information, and you’ll love meeting other first time riders! You will be in and out in less than an hour. Orientation Schedule coming soon.
What do I need to bring with me on Ride weekend?
Click here to view a list of what to bring with you on Ride Day.
What are the rules/policies on Ride weekend?
Click here to see the Hill Country Ride policies.
Can I dress up or decorate my bike?
Uh...yes, please! The spirit of the HCRA is all about our riders having fun and celebrating the amazing work they've done to change the lives of people in need. Go ahead...wear a costume, decorate your bike, have a theme for your team! As long as it's safe (and legal), we want you to express yourself and our love for each other.
Where can I buy or rent a bike? What kind
of bike should I ride?
We recommend our bike sponsor, Bicycle Sport Shop. And be sure to talk to other riders. You are also welcome to ask our community of riders on the Hill Country Ride Facebook page; ask if anyone is selling a bike or knows of a bike you could ride. Bikes come in as many shapes, styles, and sizes as automobiles! Some people ride road bikes (thinner frame, skinny tires), some ride mountain bikes (larger tires, more upright configuration). We recommend you choose the type most comfortable for you, often the bike you are most used to riding. Hybrid bikes, a cross between road and mountain bikes, may also be a good option.
What ages can do the Hill Country Ride?
Anyone 8 years and older is welcome to ride in the Hill Country Ride. The fund raising requirement is $100 for anyone 8-17 years old. Children of all ages are invited to join you at Krause Springs for a fun day of recreation and celebration. Click here for more information about all the Krause Springs activities to choose from.
Do I have to ride with my child?
YES, if you have a child under the age of 18, you or another Registered Rider MUST ride with your child.
Are pets allowed at Krause Springs?
No pets are allowed at Krause Springs, even if your pet is the cutest, most wonderful, best behaved animal since Lassie. Sorry, NO exceptions! :(
More Questions? Don't hesitate to Contact Us!
What is a team?
Any group of two or more riders is a team!
Do I have to be on a team in order to ride?
No, there is no requirement to be on a team, but we encourage you to consider joining a team since it’s a great way to meet new people, get your friends, family, co-workers to join you on the Ride, and raise even more money to help people living with AIDS
If I do want to form a team, does it have to be sponsored by a corporation or other business?
No, although corporate teams are a great way to raise money to help those living with AIDS since many corporations match individual and team fundraising efforts. Any group including families, friends, co-workers, congregations, clubs, associations and anyone else who wants to ride as a group is welcome to form a team!
If I do want to form a corporate or company team, what is required of my company?
Nothing is required of your company other than having cool employees who are willing to form a team to participate in this great adventure and help so many others in the process. If you do form a corporate/company team, however, please ask whether your company has a matching policy for charitable fundraising. Many companies have such policies and if yours does, by filling out a simple form, you can double your team’s fundraising efforts and double your help to the community.
I’m not a conformist – if I’m on a team, do we all have to wear matching jerseys?
That’s your call – many groups feel that it builds team spirit, but it’s certainly not required. Our teams focus much more on unity than uniformity so nonconformists can still fit in and have a great time on a team!
If I’m on a team, does my team have to stay together on our bikes during the ride itself – what if I’m faster or slower than my teammates?
No worries – just like the Ride itself, teams are made up of riders and runners of all ability and experience levels. Each team member should go at his or her own pace. There is no need to go along with your teammates unless you’d like to. The only requirement is to have fun and be safe!
Friends of mine are forming a team and want me to join, but I can’t afford a bike – is there any way I could still do the ride?
Of course- many of our riders don’t have bikes of their own, and still pedal up and down all those hills on ride weekend to help those living with AIDS! If you have a gym membership, you can train for the ride by attending spin classes. Running is also good cross training to get your biking muscles ready to pedal. And there are several great places in town that will rent you a high quality road bike at a reasonable rate for ride weekend. Feel free to call the ride at 512-371-RIDE for more ideas and suggestions.
If I join a team, does each member of the team still have to raise at least $500 (or $250 for first time riders)?
Yes – the minimum fundraising requirement is the same, whether you ride as an individual or on a team. This is how we are now the largest fundraiser for AIDS in Central Texas, and how we are able to help so many people in our community who are living with HIV and AIDS. But don’t be intimidated – it’s easier than you think. When you tell people what you’re doing, they will WANT to support you and this great cause. Most people start out thinking they can’t possibly raise this much money, but then go on to raise even more than the minimum. Every year, the average participant has raised over $1,000!
I’m really interested about building a team, but I’m not sure how to get started – are there any resources to help me?
You bet – we’re here to help you be successful and accomplish your goals. We have special volunteers who are happy to help you recruit riders and raise funds by working with you. Please contact the Ride at 512-371-RIDE for help and ideas.
Join us! You’ll be glad you did!