BRAG cycles through town
By SARAH LUNDGREN The Brunswick News
Brunswick was taken over by bicyclists Friday, and the campus of College of Coastal Georgia took on the appearace of a tent city with the arrival of more than 1,000 riders with the annual Bike Ride Across Georgia.
Finishing the second-to-last leg of the journey - 69 miles - they rode under the Bishop Arch at College of Coastal Georgia with hands in the air in a sign of victory and to the sound of cheers.
Many bikers slept overnight in the tents or inside the gym before starting on the last leg to St. Marys today. Some had stayed in hotels or with friends.
Zac and Chylon Thatcher have made it a family affair.
At the end of each leg of the trip, Chylon's husband and Zac's dad and the family dog were waiting for them with the family RV.
Sitting in fold-out chairs in front of the recreational vehicle Friday, the family was chatting with other bikers and families, exhausted yet happy.
"He makes this possible for us," Chylon Thatcher said, pointing to her husband. "In the mornings, we get up and ride and then we find him parked wherever so we can shower and eat."
The 359-mile ride began in Cordele on Monday and included Tifton, Douglas and Waycross.
Zac Thatcher said the weather had been perfect all of Friday, though that was not the case Thursday.
"(Thursday) it rained the whole, entire time," he said.
That was during the time Tropical Storm Andrea was passing through Georgia.
The family was happy to have made it to their destination in Brunswick and was looking forward to cleaning up and heading to First Friday in the downtown area. But they were really looking forward to today's journey to St. Marys - the end of the road.
"We just love to ride," Chylon Thatcher said. "We have so much fun. I've done Alabama once, Florida twice... it all depends on how much time you have. There's a lot of planning involved.
"I cry almost every time we finish because I'm so happy to have the ability to do this. It's mind over hurt," she said.
Tom Thatcher said most of their friends can't understand the family's love for the long rides, but he knows they aren't alone.
"People think we're crazy. They'll say, 'You're taking a week vacation to do what?' But some people come down from Ohio, New York," he said. "They'll fly down just to join the race."
* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at email@example.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.