bike ride across Georgia 2019

bike ride across Georgia, 2019 trip review

by Angela Crow, 2019



BRAG has been around for 40 years, and I’ve crossed the state nine times since 2000, coming back this year, 2019 to celebrate its fortieth anniversary.

If you’re looking for a ride where you will rarely be alone on a stretch of road because you can always see riders ahead of you, and if you like a route that will change radically from mountains to coastal plains over the course of the week, ride BRAG.

You should be warned, however, that even in the first week of June, Georgia is hot. If you decide to ride, and you want to escape the heat, you either need to train for a pace of between 15 and 20 mph, and plan on early fast rides, or know how to embrace the heat if you ride at slower paces.

New Event Management

BRAG changed event managers in 2016, and three years later, they seem to have kept the smooth functioning parts: excellent rest stops and SAG car drivers; efficient organization at the stop over sites. The subcontracting services are a mixture of old and new approaches. The coffee company remains the same, a great local-to-Georgia store. The tent service in 2019 was provided by Pork Belly, an organization familiar to those who ride RAGBRAI.

They’ve added food trucks and eliminated a breakfast and dinner sign up option which was typically in school cafeterias. This change ranks as a perk for us. They’ve also added access to beer at the camping site, also a welcome addition

tough routes

2019 seemed to be the year that the route coordinator decided to test the will of the riders, lining up five days with mileage over 75, regardless of the elevation. In the past, we would have the option of a 55 mile route in the mountains, 65 on the flats, with a “hammer head” extended loop, one that might add 20 miles to the ride for the people wanting more of a challenge. Multiple day rides, in Georgia’s heat, with high mileage routes is tough. 

My advice for older riders based on the 2019 routes? If you’re in the kind of shape where you know you can ride multiple days at 75 miles per day whether in the mountains or flats, and you’re speedy, able to avoid the heat in the middle of the day, you’ll enjoy this ride (based on 2019 routes). I thought this ride with this heat was just on the edge of  “not worth it.” 


Great scenery/great southern ride: It’s an early in June, typically mountain to coast ride. I love seeing the landscape in Georgia, enjoy seeing the changes in landscape as the ride moves across the state. If you’ve never seen Georgia, this ride is worth it for the views, and the experience of the deep south.

A ride you can enjoy traveling solo: If you’re looking for a ride where you can feel comfortable camping alone, the community climate is friendly. I would feel fine with registering for this ride on my own and would recommend the tent service which gives you familiar tent neighbors, and a shade space where you can meet people or hang out without being bothered, depending on your preferences. Plus you’ll have access to a crew of people who may be able to help you more than the ride coordinators if you have difficulties. I would recommend this service over hotels unless you need the creature comforts of a hotel.  

I’ve never done these trips alone — always riding with a friend, but I’ve met people riding solo who function well. 

Plenty of company on the road: On some state rides, you can find yourself riding for miles on your own. If you want to see other riders throughout your ride, if you don’t enjoy feeling alone on the road, then you might find this ride perfect. The ride numbers vary, but there are probably at least 700 riders, and because the ride organizers encourage an early start, you’re moving together over the route, you’ll see other riders but not feel like you’re surrounded/boxed in by other riders.

Ride Organization: Predictable (in a good way) 85% 
Price: $350 (pre-pandemic rates ranged between $175 and $1200)
Distance and Elevation: HARD 
Weather: HOT 
Quality of roads | Traffic | Safety:  Not great; safety in numbers helps with Georgia car and truck drivers.

Route: a marked route, (GPS and Marked signs on the road)
SAG SUPPORT: vehicles on the route, providing help for riders in difficulty
REST STOPS: fuel food, shade, and toilets every 15 – 20 miles. Bike mechanic at some stops.
OVERNIGHT CAMPING: indoor camping in gyms and hallways of schools (with air conditioning) or outside tent camping for 7 nights.
ENTERTAINMENT: Coordinates bands, social activities, and beer trucks.
CHARGING STATION: charging station until the lights are out (generators off).
BIKE MECHANICS: BRAG subcontracts with a bike shop — repairs at shop prices.
SHOWERS: warm showers either in gym locker room or from shower truck

Charter bus ride: 
Bus ride available at the start and end of the ride, carrying riders and their bikes/luggage from the start and end points.
Tent Service: for around $500 (for two), a pitched tent, air mattress, luggage delivery, shade tent, cold sodas and snacks and morning coffee.

Hotels: rooms available with luggage delivery.
Food facilitation: food trucks at the camp site and shuttle to town restaurants.