MILLEDGEVILLE — The Bicycling Club of Milledgeville (BCM) has organized middle Georgia's first ever Gravel Grinder event.
The Red Clay Ramble routing features at most 16 miles of paved roads. Riders will experience dirt and gravel roads winding through great scenery, challenging hills and very little traffic Saturday, Aug. 17.
The BCM, in conjunction with Southern Bicycle League and New Belgium Brewery, is excited to bring this unique cycling event to the community. This new annual ride will be a premier event for Georgia, as well as a compelling draw for cyclists and fans throughout the southeast.
More than 75 applicants are entered, with another 50 to 100 enthusiasts expected by the ride date. Bicycle lovers from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have signed up.
If successful, next year's ramble will feature a race component.
“We are very excited about this event because it is the first of its kind ever held in this area,” said BCM President Tom Glover. “There are out-of-state riders as well as nationally competitive riders coming, so we have been pleased at the level of interest out there. If all goes well, we plan to make this a true Gravel Grinder race next year with a full 100-mile century competitive option, while keeping the non-competitive options as well for those just wanting to ride.”
Glover is excited about the economic boost potential. Folks in town for these rides spend money.
“As these events grow, we look to have 400 or 500 people coming into town. That's a fair amount of upper-middle class people spending money and getting exposure to our community,” Glover said.
The Red Clay Ramble offers four routes: 14, 21, 33, and 65-mile options.
Pre-registration is $35. All pre-registered attendees will receive a T-shirt.
On-site registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 17, with the ride starting at 8:30 a.m.
The ride will start and end at Trish Ann's Antiques & Tea Room in Haddock, Ga.
The 33- and 65-mile routes feature rest stops and snacks, while the 14- and 21-mile routes do not. While any bike is capable of making the ride, cyclocross, gravel grinder, touring or mountain bikes are recommended.
After the rides, the BCM will host a meal in conjunction with its club Summer Bash social event. All riders are encouraged to hang around for food, festivities and cold drinks needed after an August day on middle Georgia dirt roads.
Food serving begins at 11:30 a.m. for riders, with the club social lasting from 1 to 4 p.m. for members, friends and riders.
There will be a barbecue meal, with vegetarian options as well, as well as New Belgium beer, water and soft drinks. The musical guest will be The Fall Line Ramblers.
The after party and social bash are free for Red Clay Ramble riders and club members. There is a $10 cover charge for all non-riders or non-club members to help cover food and event costs.
After-ride parties set BCM events apart. Glover said the club differentiates itself from the other guys.
“There is only so much you can do with routes. Everybody has pretty countryside. By partnering with folks like the Deep Roots Festival and Central State Hospital, it's really starting to shine a spotlight on us and the rides we are putting together,” the BCM president said.
The Red Clay Ramble should offer that overall physical and social experience.
For more information, contact Erin Simmons, secretary for the Bicycling Club of Milledgeville at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.mvillebikes.com for route details.
Trish Ann's Antiques & Tea Room is located at 102 Bowen Hill Road, Haddock, Ga.
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