Bicycle enthusiasts across the state are preparing for the annual Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee, which will kick off its 23rd year with a seven-day ride beginning Sept. 8 and will feature a loop through some of Middle and East Tennessee’s most beautiful landscapes.
Originating at Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville, Tn., this year’s route will feature a combination of rolling hills, valleys and some flat terrain. Cyclists can expect to experience beautiful, rural Tennessee scenery and interesting back roads along the way, including visits to several Tennessee State Parks such as Harrison Bay in the Chattanooga area.
“Highlighting the scenic Cumberland Plateau, this year’s BRAT will have more climbs than last year’s route,” said Ryan Forbess, director of the Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee. “In terms of effort level, the 2012 BRAT will include a balance of some long-distance rides and some shorter distance days – designed to challenge our expert cyclists, while accommodating recreational riders."
Riders will camp overnight at four Tennessee State Parks along the route, including Cumberland Mountain, Standing Stone, Pickett and Harrison Bay state parks. The city of Kingston will host one overnight stay at Fort Southwest Point. As part of this year’s BRAT ride, one layover day is planned on Sept. 12 at Cumberland Mountain State Park, giving cyclists an opportunity to sightsee – including nature hikes and canoeing. Back by popular demand are two three-day ride options, which are available for those who aren’t ready for a weeklong tour or have limited vacation time.
The event will begin with check-in at Cumberland Mountain State Park starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, followed by a rider’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. In celebration of Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary, a special presentation about the parks’ unique history will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. On Sunday, riders will be introduced to the route with a scenic 74.6-mile ride to Standing Stone State Park. Other details include:
· Costs for riders range from $395 for the full, seven-day ride to $60 for a single-day rider. The optional three-day ride is $225. There is a non-rider charge for those using alternative transportation, which is $200 for the seven-day ride and $100 for the three-day ride.
· All costs include accommodations and food, excluding single-day riders.
· Each registered participant will receive a commemorative 2012 BRAT T-shirt.
· Daily mileage ranges from 70 miles on the first and longest leg of the route to 52 miles on the final day.
“While the BRAT is not a race, it is a significant ride that requires preparation,” Mr. Forbess advised. “Even experienced riders appreciate the support staff we offer along the route that can provide assistance and transportation for those who encounter problems or simply can’t complete that day’s mileage. Our goal is to provide an outstanding experience for participants of all ages.”
The 23rd Annual Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee is sponsored by Tennessee State Parks, Grand Fondo Cycles, REI, the city of Kingston, Nineteenth Creative, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Monterey Depot Museum, Hub City Bicycle Company, Byrdstown-Pickett County Chamber of Commerce and Keep Tennessee Beautiful. A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit the Cumberland Trail Conference and the Tennessee State Park Rangers Association, both non-profit organizations.
For registration information or more details about the 2012 Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee, please visit the main webpage at www.tnstateparks.com/BRAT or www.thebrat.org. Visit the Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee on Facebook. Riders with questions are encouraged to contact Ryan Forbess via e-mail at Ryan.Forbess@tn.gov.