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Annual bicycle tour to pass through Hinesville

1,200 riders spend about $75,000 in each city

POSTED: June 2, 2011 7:00 a.m.
Photo courtesy of www.brag.org /

Participants in a previous BRAG event enjoy Georgia’s scenery as they pedal to their next destination. This year’s BRAG riders are schedule to arrive in Hinesville on June 10.

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Bicyclists will zip into Hinesville on June 10 as the 32nd annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia tour starts wrapping up its trek across the state, which will stop in several towns.

BRAG bikers are expected to spend around $75,000 per day at various hotels, bars, restaurants, etc., at each city they stay in, Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leah Poole said.

“You’re talking about a big chunk of money that could be lucrative. You’re talking about people that can take off a week of work who have an expendable income (stopping in Hinesville),” Poole said. “It’s exciting to have them while they’re here. It’s a very neat thing to see 1,200 cyclists seeing what a great place Liberty County is and then coming back. For me, that’s the real excitement is them loving it so much that they come back.”

The tour last stopped in Hinesville in 2007, according to Poole.

The ride starts June 4 in Atlanta at Oglethorpe University with overnight stops in various places, including Oxford, Milledgeville, Dublin, Metter, Hinesville and a final stop in Savannah. Riders generally spend their nights in hotels or outside at the camps set up for them in and around school gymnasiums at the various stops throughout Georgia. 

In Hinesville, the bicyclists will stop at Snelson-Golden Middle School. Riders are expected to start trickling in around 8 a.m., but the bulk of riders will arrive between 4-7 p.m., Poole said.

“BRAG is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to providing affordable, family-oriented, quality bicycle tours in and across Georgia, with an emphasis on bicycling safety, fun and education,” according to a chamber news release. “The group of 1,200 cyclists will arrive in Liberty County on Friday, June 10, and will leave in the early morning on Saturday, June 11.
“The chamber, along with numerous community partners, has been working diligently for several months to make accommodations for the visitors.”

The event generally takes a full year to plan, said Vicki D. Thompson, ride director for Bicycle Ride Across Georgia Inc.
“BRAG loves to go where we are wanted. The cities we stop in need to have enough motels for about 250 riders and restaurants to handle those riders who do not want to eat at the overnight site,” Thompson said.

Palmer Dasher, 76, of Flemington, is looking forward to participating in his third BRAG ride, where the daily distance averages about 56 miles. Even after a fall a few years ago at another BRAG event, where he lost his two front teeth after falling near some railroad tracks, Dasher continues to bike to stay in shape.

“I’ve been sort of biking over those years. I just try to stay active,” said Dasher, who also had his left knee replaced last year. “It’s just a ride, so you’re free to proceed on your own pace. It’s not unusual to have families participating because school will be out.”

Dasher plans to stay in the gym, where most of the other riders generally will sprawl out in sleeping bags and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow bikers with BRAG-sponsored ice cream socials and movie nights.

“It’s an interesting ride; an interesting thing to do. It’s healthy and allows you to see some of the little towns and some of the Americana you wouldn’t see from a car,” Dasher said. “It really is fun.” 

 

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