Bicyclists who tour the state as part of the annual BRAG ride seem to have a love affair with Carrollton — and the city seems to love them right back.
That’s evidenced by the number of people you may have seen riding their bikes around and through Carrollton, as the city once again plays host this week to the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) event.
Having arrived in town in trickles and in groups on Tuesday, there were hundreds of bicyclists in temporary residence in the city on Wednesday, many of them concentrated on the city’s school complex. Carrollton is the only city where BRAG riders will stay two days along the tour’s weeklong 225-mile weeklong journey that began June 5, at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, and is scheduled to end June 12 in Columbus.
The layover in Carrollton takes place during the “Big BRAG” tour, the largest event on the group’s calendar. As local bicyclists come out to meet and greet others from across the state, some 1,200 BRAG bicyclists fan out across the city, headed out to local shops and other destinations, bringing an economic boost to the city.
“We love Carrollton!” said Kevin Morley of Savannah.
“You have such impressive facilities here, like the schools, the high school football, and baseball stadiums, the amphitheater, and so many other things,” he said, “and the folks around here have been so kind and generous. Carrollton is a phenomenal place!”
“And your GreenBelt, wow! What a gem it is!” Morley said of the 18-mile shared-use paved path for pedestrians and non-motorized users that encircles the city.
Other riders commented on the variety of restaurants and shops available on and around Adamson Square.
“We went to Longhorns because we wanted steak on Tuesday night, but Wednesday we plan to eat at one of the local restaurants downtown,” said Glenn Dyer of Dubuque, Iowa, “because we hear there is a wide variety of great food.”
If the BRAG riders love Carrollton, the feeling is mutual, if for no other reason than the event’s economic impact on the city. According to Jonathan Dorsey, executive director of the Carrollton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, BRAG is a much-welcomed event here.
“We find that visitors staying here overnight spend at least $100 per day, probably more when you add in eating out in our restaurants,” Dorsey said from his office at The Depot on Bradley in Carrollton.
“People have asked us about everything from where laundromats can be found to where you can buy postcards, and, of course, about restaurant recommendations,” he said.
Buses provided by the Carrollton City Schools offer shuttle transportation to and from local hotels and restaurants and the BRAG site on the Carrollton High School practice fields where scores of tents were set up for rental. Other riders brought their own tents and camping gear that was forwarded head with luggage in rental trucks.
Thursday morning, the bike caravan leaves Carrollton and heads through Roopville, Centralhatchee, and Franklin, en route to Senoia for an overnight stay. LaGrange will host the group Friday before the riders arrive at their final destination in Columbus on Saturday.