ROSWELL, Ga. — Cyclists are lining up again for a rare chance to ride on a major highway. The 11th annual Ga. 400 Hospitality Highway Century bike ride is slated for June 30 and allows cyclists to travel on a closed-off section of Ga. 400 without fear of being hit by a passing car.
From 7-7:30 a.m., the southbound lanes of Ga. 400 from Holcomb Bridge Road to Northridge Road will be closed, rain or shine, to accommodate riders. Almost 2,000 riders from across the nation are expected to participate this year.
Organizer Eric Broadwell said the best part of the event every year is the smiles and reactions of the riders.
“When people finish, they are just ecstatic and beaming,” he said. “They say, ‘Wow, riding on Ga. 400 was such a thrill, and the people I met and rode with were awesome’... It just gives us joy to know we can bring an experience to people’s lives that makes a lasting impression while helping our community.”
The ride is held each year to bring people to Roswell and raise awareness about cycling transportation options and safety.
One of the main benefits of the activity is that it’s low-impact, Broadwell said.
“Us runners from the 80s and beyond have worn our knees out, and cycling helps your knees,” he said. “Ever notice the spin bike on the sidelines of a football game? It’s the first treatment if a football player injures his knee.”
This year, the ride will benefit Emory Heart and Vascular Center.
“Many people have had heart issues, including myself, and one of the lead doctors at the center is an avid cyclist and has help many of us,” Broadwell said. “The Emory Heart Center is newly organized last year. We hope to raise $10,000.”
The center combines four specialties under one roof: cardiology, vascular surgery, cardiothoracic surgery and cardiac imaging. Dr. Angel Leon, professor of medicine and chief of cardiology at Emory University Hospital Midtown, will join in the ride.
“The Ga. 400 Hospitality Highway Century ride includes many of our doctors and patients, as well as some of the most accomplished athletes in the Southeast and across the nation,” Leon said. “We are honored to be selected as this year’s charitable recipient, which demonstrates Emory’s commitment to our community, our athletes, and to providing the most advanced, discovery-based cardiac care in our region.”
The Ga. 400 ride got its start after a former Roswell mayor approached Broadwell about creating such an event. Century rides span at least 100 miles and are considered a milestone for many cyclists.
A group of organizers met with Sandy Springs City Council and the Georgia Department of Transportation to flesh out the idea. And the rest, Broadwell said, is history.
Route options vary from 9 to 100 miles. This year, the routes are all new, except for the 9-mile route. The previous 45-mile route, for example, is now 44 miles and goes up two of the three climbs known locally as the “Three Sisters.”
After the ride, participants can enjoy food, drinks and live music from bands such as Garrett Douglass, Collusion, Martin’s Landing Band, Sawgrass Blues Band and Rob Symonette.
Registration is currently $50 and will go up to $55 on June 12. Children must be at least 12 years old to participate and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
For more information, donations, route maps and to register, visit ga400century.com.