“A huge majority of our residents, probably 90 percent of them, can’t pay the amount to stay at Hickory Log,” said Greg Flowers, executive director of Hickory Log, an assisted living home that provides shelter for developmentally delayed men and teaches them independent living skills. “United Way helps cover some of that difference but the fundraiser that the bike ride does is huge in a way because all of our expenses keep going up but the amount of money that we take in doesn’t go up. ... So that really helps out.”
Located in White, Hickory Log was established in 1970 to meet the needs of Bartow County residents who before had to use out-of-county facilities. Currently, the nonprofit serves 19 residents, ranging in age from 30 to 75.
“They’re all developmentally disabled in some sense,” Flowers said. “They learn how to take care of themselves and the home, and they learn vocational skills plus they have on-the-job training at some other places. Basically, things we take for granted — getting up, brushing our teeth, taking a shower, cleaning, making the bed — most times they have to be instructed on these every single day. But what we do is we try to enrich their lives spiritually, mentally and physically.
“I think the most rewarding thing is the comments from the parents. They kind of get into a set way of dealing with things that tends to encourage negative behaviors a lot of times. When they come to us, they’ve got all these other people that are taking care of their responsibilities in a positive way. They start doing the same thing and in turn they leave with more independence. When they go home and visit with [their] families, [their relatives] always come back and comment on how much better they are today. A lot of times if you go and you start doing stuff for people all of the time then they start expecting it instead of doing for themselves. What’s great about here is the responsibility and the structure of Hickory Log gives these people a chance to do something and then be rewarded for it.”
Registration already is under way for the Beautiful Backroads Century that will be held Sept. 15 at 8 a.m. Along with presenting the bicycle ride, Anheuser-Busch’s Cartersville brewery — 100 Busch Drive — will serve as the offering’s starting and ending points. The event will wrap up with a meal and entertainment for all participants and a beer sampling for cyclists 21 and older.
With entry fees set at $40 per cyclist, on-site registration will begin at 7 a.m. for the rain-or-shine ride that will include 14-, 31-, 48-, 66- and 100-mile routes.
“Jim Edwards was an employee at the brewery,” said Sarah Husser, who is organizing the event with several people, including Edwards. “He’s actually just recently moved, but [when] he was at the brewery ... he noticed all of the [cyclists] that would start out and meet at the brewery and start their rides [on a daily basis].
“So it just kind of seemed like a natural fit. ... And [then] he knew about Hickory Log and wanted the ride to benefit them. So that’s kind of how it all started. As far as the multiple charities now — because the ride has grown so much, we’re able to give back to the [organizations helping with] rest stops, like the churches ... [and] the Boy Scout troops that help with rest stops. We’re able to make a donation to them for their help [with] working the ride,” she said, adding the ride’s participants increased from 166 cyclists in 2001 to about 1,400 last year.
For more information about the Beautiful Backroads Century, contact Husser at 706-296-7103 or visit www.bikebbc.com.