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Fear and Laughing on the Bike Ride Across GA

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In the darkness, I could hear screaming coming from a tent not far off from my own.

Through the haze of shattered sleep and confusion, came another, more terrifying sound, a thwacka-thwacka-thwacka end-of-the-world din. It sounded as if a military helicopter was landing on top of the now-cursing voice in the ether. It was a sound I knew all too well.

“Oh my god what the hell man!!!” my friend in the adjacent tent yelled in panic. He was a rookie.

I pulled my head down into my sleeping bag hoping that I would be spared.

Suddenly there was a whoosh, and the thwacka-thwacka-thwacka sound cranked up by the tent next to mine. I could here the slash of liquid against flimsy nylon tent material.

“Oh my god what the hell man!!!” my friend in the adjacent tent yelled in panic. He was a rookie.

Thwacka-thwacka-thwacka

“Just ignore it. It will go away.” I yelled over the din, remembering at the last second to add, “in a while.”

“In a while?,” he shrieked. “What the hell is it?”

“Sprinklers,” I mumbled. I let out a sigh as I pulled my head back into my sleeping bag.

It was our own fault this happened. When sharing the grounds of a high school with nearly a thousand other camping cyclists, you tend to want to get away from the denser crowds of tents – and the early risers. Our group is always the last awake and the last to put our gear on the truck, and the last thing we want is to be woken early by riders sporting a more gung-ho morning outlook than our more motivationally-resistant group.

Of course all of this is a moot point if you camp near pop up sprinklers that go off at 5:30 in the morning.

If you don’t see the humor in all of this, than The Bike Ride Across Georgia may not be for you. But if you like laughing with friends about the morning’s sprinkler debacle over beers at a Mexican restaurant in a small Georgia town after having ridden 60 miles, then, truly, you will have a blast on BRAG.

BRAG is Much More than a Bike Tour

Simplicity is what seems to be the heart of what is both fun and funny about BRAG. You only have a few big responsibilities for the week: get your gear packed and on the truck before it leaves, ride your bike, stay sorta clean, and figure out where you’re going to eat dinner. That leaves lots of room for weird things to happen.

You can also find yourself struggling at times to accomplish one or more of these basic responsibilities, especially at the end of a long, hot sixty mile ride. But no worries – there are plenty of friendly BRAG riders around to offer assistance should you need it.  

The experience of the ride is a lot more than just riding your bike and camping. Along the way, there are BRAG sponsored parties, tons of cool sights and activities, and some fun events put on by the riders themselves, like the infamous Moonbase show.

A Great Vacation Bargain

Another thing that makes BRAG a great vacation option is affordability. If you don’t take advantage of the pampered camping options (I think they somehow avoid camping near sprinklers) then the whole week will only set you back around $350 for the ride and then whatever you spend on food and drinks along the way.

The only other major expense to consider is the cost of getting you and your bike to and from the start and finish points of the ride. There are affordable shuttle services available, so try to work out the logistics before you register – carpooling and shuttling cars with friends could save you all a bit of money, time, and inconvenience.  

One other expense we would highly recommend is the coffee service. You pay for a bracelet that entitles you to free hot coffee and other drinks in the morning. If you are with a group of people, everyone will rise and pack at different speeds so the coffee tent is an ideal place to meet and prepare yourself mentally for the ride ahead.

Bring the Right Gear

Choosing the right gear and packing for BRAG is a huge topic just by itself. Because this deserves deeper consideration, we have created a detailed Packing List and Gear Guide specifically covering what you will need for BRAG, and how best to pack it. If you have signed up for BRAG and it is your first time on the ride, this is worth a read.  You will be living out of a bag for a week, so any tips on how to keep things lightweight, compact, organized, and dry can go along way in keeping you comfortable and the ride as fun as possible.  

Of course, ridiculous things WILL happen, and it will usually have to do with something getting wet that shouldn’t be getting wet (as in the example of the sprinklers above). But if both you and your gear can handle the calamity, the outcome will just be a good laugh.

Be Prepared
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Lastly and most importantly, make sure you and your bike are prepared to ride sixty to eighty miles a day for a week. It can be a lot of strain on both body and gear, so train for at least three months in advance and get your bike serviced before the ride starts. The big plus here is that BRAG is definitely the type of vacation where you can come home in much better physical shape than you were before your vacation started.

The Bike Ride Across Georgia is wonderful and healthy way to spend a week. You get to meet a lot of great people, see some beautiful small Georgia towns, and get to ride your bike all day! Just be prepared for lots of laughing – you definitely need to have a good sense of humor to ride, camp, shower, eat, and party with a thousand other smelly cyclists.  

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