2009-02-19 / Front Page

Lincolnton will roll out the red carpet for BRAG riders

The annual Bike Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) will return to Lincoln County on June 13, bringing thousands of cyclists back to town.

The bicycle riders last passed through Lincolnton during the early 1990s.

Plans are for the riders to use the Lincolnton Clubhouse as a rest stop, entering the city from the Metasville Road.

"We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to drop by the clubhouse and welcome these visitors to our community," said Sherry McKellar, executive director of the Lincolnton- Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce. "It is our goal to leave the bicycle riders with a lasting impression of Southern hospitality at its best in hopes that they will return one day and stay a little longer."

For 30 years, thousands of bicyclists have been gathering in the Georgia summer to complete the crossstate cycling trek known as the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia, according to Ride Director Vicki D. Thompson.

"BRAG is a social ride, not a race," she said. "Cyclists of all ages from all walks of life participate in the event."

This year, the 381-mile ride starts June 6 and will take riders from Hiawassee across the state to Clark's Hill Lake, with overnight stops in Dahlonega, Mt. Airy, Athens, Elberton, and Washington (June 12).

"Riders travel at their own pace along a set route that follows scenic roads, with minimal automobile traffic," said Thompson. "At the end of each day's ride, most riders pitch tents at a local high school. Others roll out sleeping bags in gyms, while others choose to stay at local motels.

"During the afternoon and evening, BRAG provides activities such as movies, games, talent shows, and other entertainment."

The event will culminate with a ride across the Little River Bridge spanning Clark's Hill Lake and an "Endof the-Road Meal" at Savannah Lakes Resort and Marina in McCormick, South Carolina.

Cyclists ride approximately 50 miles a day. Those who are not satisfied with the daily mileage of 50 to 60 miles can choose the "hammerhead" options that add miles and bonus bragging rights to each day's route.

In fact, the race's motto is: "You Can't BRAG if You Don't Ride."

In other comments, Thompson urged local residents to consider taking part in BRAG: "This is the best vacation that you'll ever come back to the office bragging about. You will definitely remember it for the rest of your life.

"Also, you'll see parts of Georgia you've never seen before and you'll be in the best shape of your life."

The BRAG 2009 sponsors are PowerAde; Chick-fil-A; Advil; Café Campesino; Southern Linc/Southern Company; Jameson Inns; Ken Rosskopf, attorney; REI; Free-Flite Bicycles; Cycleworks; SuperValu; Alavert; and Aquaphor.

A not-for-profit corporation, BRAG is a member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association.

For more information about BRAG and other rides, call 1-770-498-5153 or visit the following website: www.brag.org.

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