Overnight tents lined the Oglethorpe quadrangle and dotted the campus landscape this weekend.
What was all the commotion about? More than 800 cyclists descended on campus this past weekend to kick off the 32nd annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG), a not-for-profit dedicated to providing affordable, family-oriented, quality bicycle tours in and across Georgia, with an emphasis on bicycling safety, fun, and education. BRAG, the largest participatory bicycle ride in the Southeast, also benefits the Special Olympics of Georgia.
Early Sunday morning, the cyclists began a 7-day, 391-mile journey to Savannah. They will continue to camp out along the way, including in college towns like Oxford and Milledgeville. A family event, BRAG hosts riders as young as a year old (in a carrier) to cyclists in their eighties. The band of riders pedal on every type of cycle imaginable: top-of-the-line carbon-frame bicycles, two and three-passenger bikes, and recumbent bikes.
And though they may travel hours a day, BRAG’s riders also have plenty of entertainment on the way to their destination. They travel on rural backroads through small Georgia towns, taking in the food, entertainment, and culture. You might say it’s a vacation on wheels—all for a good cause and a good experience.
This year, BRAG is sponsoring another DREAM TEAM, a group of middle school students from cities across Georgia from low-income families, who have been selected to participate in the ride. They’ve received bicycles, helmets, shorts and other accessories, complimentary meals and waived registration fees. The students are assigned adult mentors and coaches who help them through this rigorous ride. If the Dream Team members complete BRAG, they can keep their bike, helmet and other accessories. More than 100 students from Georgia middle schools are proud BRAG Dream Team alumni.