Continuing to “change lives,” Saturday’s Beautiful Backroads Century will generate needed funding for Hickory Log Vocational School. Serving as the event’s primary beneficiary, Hickory Log received about $20,000 in 2016.
“The guys look forward to the bike ride each year,” said Wendy Allen, who assumed her duties as Hickory Log’s executive director Jan. 27. “Several enjoy going and assisting with the bike ride by socializing with the riders, serving the meal or assisting in the meal tent. Once August is over, the guys automatically start talking about the bike ride.
“Hickory Log received approximately $20k from the bike ride last year. ... The bike ride sustains us financially for almost 27 days of the year. So, without the bike ride, it would be like being financially desolate the entire month of February. Beautiful Backroads Century organizers, Anheuser-Busch, the volunteers and the riders probably have no true idea the impact they make on our guys’ lives and our ability to survive as an organization. A one-day event can and does change lives.”
Located at 3680 Highway 411 in White, Hickory Log — a personal care home that provides shelter and training for intellectually and developmentally disabled men — was established more than four decades ago to meet the needs of Bartow County residents who before had to use out-of-county facilities.
“Seventeen years ago, Jim Edwards, an Anheuser-Busch employee, started the ride using his own money,” said Missy Bagwell, who is directing the ride along with Amruth Reddy. “He was an avid bike rider who would meet riders from the local and Atlanta area on the weekends and ride in the community. Anheuser-Busch was gracious enough to offer the facility to be used for the headquarters for the ride. Employees from the brewery helped host the ride and local community groups manned the rest stops.
“Hickory Log Vocational School was selected as the primary beneficiary and has continued to be for 17 years. Jim once served on the board of Hickory Log and knew it was difficult for a facility of this type to get continued support throughout the year. The ride has raised over $250,000 for Hickory Log over the last 16 [years] and a small portion of the funds also go to the community groups who have been helping with our rest stops. Those groups include local churches, youth groups, Boy Scout troops, varsity school sports teams, JROTC and community activist groups.”
The 17th annual Beautiful Backroads Century will depart at 8 a.m. from the Anheuser-Busch’s Cartersville brewery, 100 Busch Drive. The cost to enter is $60.
“We expect to have 1,300 riders this year,” Bagwell said. “The riders have the choice to ride 15, 34, 44, 64 and 100 miles that travel through Bartow and Gordon [counties]. The scenery is beautiful. The ride is well marked, supported by SAG drivers and local police from both counties. There are six different rest stops throughout the ride. After the ride, the bicyclists get to experience a hot meal, live entertainment, a raffle every hour from 11 [to] 3 p.m. and best of all, a chance to sample Anheuser-Busch products.
“The forecast for Saturday is beautiful, so please come out and enjoy the ride. [Registration] begins at 6:30 and the ride starts at 8 a.m. The guys from Hickory Log and their director, Wendy Allen, will be at the brewery all day, so we encourage you to come out and support this great cause.”
For more information about the bike ride, visit http://bbcbikeride.com.