Bike enthusiasts and casual riders alike can participate in a Sunday ride benefiting a good cause.
The seventh annual Best Dam Bike Ride Ever will start at 8:30 a.m. at the bottom of Thurmond Dam on the South Carolina side. Proceeds will go toward the Southeastern Firefighters' Burn Foundation in Augusta.
Riders can choose from five different options based on skill level. The 58-, 80- and 100-mile rides will head through Modoc and Plum Branch before crossing the Georgia border and looping back to the dam through the Phinizy community.
"Being able to say that you rode across three counties, two states and a whole bunch of communities is just awesome in and of itself," said Dawn Gantt, the development director of the burn foundation.
A more family-friendly ride of about 25 miles will go the opposite direction and cover areas of Appling and Phinizy before ending back at the Clarks Hill picnic area.
A 15- to 20-mile scenic trail ride along Bartram Trail is another choice for families and beginning riders.
"It is honestly just a beautiful environment to ride in and people really enjoy it, so we have a lot of repeat riders," Gantt said.
Chain Reaction Bicycles and Allegra Print and Imaging are teaming up with the burn foundation to organize the event.
Multiple rest stops will be set up along each ride for participants to fuel up on snacks and drinks as they travel. Sonic will provide breakfast for riders, and Mot's Pit Cooked Barbecue will serve lunch.
The ride costs $30 for participants. Children 12 and younger can ride free if accompanied by an adult.
Registration will start at 7:30 a.m. the day of the event. People can pre-register by visiting www. active.com or Chain Reaction in Martinez to ensure they receive a goody bag.
More than 300 riders participated last year and about $8,000 was raised, Gantt said.
As long as no severe weather occurs, the ride will go on rain or shine.
"We've been blessed for six years in a row with really good weather," said Phil Cohen, the owner of Chain Reaction. "I hope our luck doesn't run out."
The longer rides will take place on paved roads, so Cohen stresses that riders obey the law and keep an eye out for vehicles.
"The reason we have it on a Sunday morning is because that's the least amount of traffic," he said. "It's just a lot safer."
For information about the ride or registration, call (706) 855-2024.
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