Despite oppressive August heat, more than 1,100 cyclist joined the ranks of the Covington Century Bike Ride on Aug. 2.
The riders, depending on which ride they participated in (30, 50, 80 or 100 miles), traversed winding roads through Newton and Walton counties. Riders from as far away as Kentucky made the trip to be a part of the largest fundraiser for Project Adventure Kids in Covington.
According to Project Adventure's Donna Auchenbach, more than 150 volunteers along with staff and children from PA pitched in to make sure the ride ran as smoothly as possible. Volunteers performed many jobs from preparing food to running rest stops to manning the registration booth.
"We even had the fire department set up lighting at the starting point at 5 p.m.," Auchenbach said. "It is incredible how the local communities came out to help us." Auchenbach said fundraising totals are not yet available because donations are still being received from the riders, but initial receipts look promising.
"So many cyclist brought school supplies and so many more people didn't bring stuff but they said they would send it when they returned home," Auchenbach said. "This year everybody realized that they are finally making a difference. It was really about the kids this year."
Auchenbach said many community organizations played instrumental roles in the bike ride. The Covington/Conyers Cycling Club (C4) helped to plan and work the ride. They also helped to teach the 30 Project Adventure children that participated in the ride.
Cycling coach Robert Wilhite was on hand to offer up advice and words of encouragement for riders.
Ray Miller and the North Atlanta Riding Club (NARC) brought 150 riders to the Covington Century.
Auchenbach said several other groups helped as well, including Conte's Bike Shop in Conyers, Newton County Ham Radio Group, police and fire departments in Newton, Morgan, Jasper and Walton counties and the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Group.
The ride was coordinated by co-event directors Debbie Young and Lisa Cianco.
PA will host its next cycling event on Sept. 7, the 35th Annual Wilson 100 Bike Ride.
Auchenbach said PA is still looking for riders to participate in its new Cycle Therapy program. The plan is to have rides for the children once a month. For more information, call Auchenbach at (770) 490-8817 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.