Newton County is preparing for plenty of two-wheel action this week as the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia kicks off on June 8 in Oxford at Oxford College.
Members of the Covington-Conyers Cycling Club (C4), led by President Maurice Carter are busy planning events for children to participate in on Saturday, before the riders head out on their week-long ride.
In April, Carter and the Covington Police Department held their inaugural Bike Fest with the help of Bea Jackson at the Washington Street Community Center. Children learned about bicycle safety while enjoying a day's worth of activities.
Carter said he hopes to translate that success into the B.R.A.G. event as a bike parade for children is scheduled on Saturday at 6 p.m.
"We actually looked into doing a parade during Bike Fest but with the logistics and the availability of the police, we weren't able to do that," Carter said. "We told the kids we would do it during the B.R.A.G. weekend and Bea (Jackson) said the kids have been looking forward to it ever since."
With the help of Conte's Bicycle Shop in Conyers, Bike Fest volunteers gave away 25 bikes, 50 new helmets and 50 safety lights to the children who attended. The children also learned about bike safety and had their bikes tuned up. Carter wants to keep involving the children and has even extended an invitation to Project Adventure Kids.
Lisa Ciancio has confirmed that between 10-15 riders from teamAdventure, Project Adventure's cycling club, will attend and make the ride from the center to the square in Covington. In addition, teamAdventure plans to participate in the Covington Century bike ride on August 2.
"They've got a coach that is going to work with them and they have been working on their bikes to get ready," Carter said. "In fact, they'll have a highly respected coach working with them that morning before the parade, preparing them for the ride."
Carter says he is pleased with the community's involvement and hopes to continue raising awareness for bicycle safety. He is especially hopeful that children will continue to attend bicycle events.
Children wishing to participate must arrive at the Washington Street Community Center at 5 p.m. Police will escort the riders to the square starting around 6 p.m. Mayor Kim Carter plans to ride along and will speak in the square after they arrive.
The parade is open for anyone who would like to participate and Carter encourages more than just bike riders to attend. After the mayor speaks, there will be a bike decorating contest followed by a free concert.
He also hopes the community will come out on Sunday morning to send off the riders participating in the B.R.A.G as they ride through downtown Covington on their way to Griffin.
"My goal is to get a large turnout and get the community involved and show the B.R.A.G. representatives we are involved," Carter said. "I encourage everyone to come out for the Saturday and Sunday and enjoy the festivities."