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Community should really around BRAG riders

Courier editorial

POSTED: June 6, 2011 1:25 p.m.

Next Friday, more than 1,000 physical-fitness enthusiasts will coast into Hinesville on bicycles. Some will be advanced riders striving to beat their own best times; others will be families just looking to get some exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. Whatever the case, the 32nd annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia tour, which concludes Saturday in Savannah, has chosen our city for its second-to-last stop, and it’s time to make those cyclists feel welcome.
The BRAG participants, most of whom will camp out at Snelson-Golden Middle School, likely don’t know it, but Hinesville has been preparing to receive them for many months now.
The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce has been working for nearly half a year in conjunction with several local entities, organizations and residents — including the Hinesville Police Department, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the city of Hinesville, Snelson-Golden administrators, OMI, the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, the United Way and many others — to prepare for the cyclists’ arrival.
Plans have been carefully sketched out and put in place. From entertainment to food to sleeping accommodations, the local BRAG welcoming committee has worked to ensure participants’ needs are covered.
It’ll be nice to see the community come together to make our overnight guests feel at home. There certainly will be no shortage of things for riders to enjoy. Whether they choose to dive into the pools at the YMCA and the LCRD, flip through books at the library, watch movies, eat at local restaurants, explore the downtown area, do some shopping or take advantage of the planned activities at Snelson-Golden, the cyclists are sure to enjoy their stay in our city.
Local residents are encouraged to line the road leading to Snelson-Golden on Friday morning and greet the BRAG participants with signs, cheers and applause as they make their way to the overnight camp. It’s not every day 1,200 visitors drop by with the intention of sinking thousands of tourist dollars into the local economy; let’s make the most of the opportunity and do what we can to make them want to return someday. After all, Hinesville’s motto is “Home for a day or a lifetime.”
The financial boost to local businesses will be nice, but BRAG riders also bring something else to the table — their energy and dedication to leading healthy lifestyles. What better way to start the summer than by mingling with a crowd of fun-loving, athletic folks? They’re setting a great example for people everywhere by exploring all the state has to offer while staying active. Georgia residents should take note and use the downtime that often comes with summer to check out area attractions and implement a fitness routine. There’s no better time for a fresh start and you never know what you’ll discover in your own backyard.

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