Imagine growing up with physical conditions related to being overweight? Being called horrible names or ridiculed? This is what the “Spring Forward and Ride” theme represents for the bicycle ride for many bikers on Saturday. The bikers represented the “The Neighbor Next Door Foundation, Inc., which Lavance Brown and Eboni Chillis are the manager and the co-manager respectively. Mr. Brown stated “The goals of this foundation is to provide an outlet to healthy habits, uniting the local community, increasing communication about healthy eating, and raising the awareness concerning the importance of healthy living.” Obesity is the number two cause of preventable death in the United States with at least 60 million Americans overweight. Mr. Brown added “This Spring Forward and Ride is our pledge to combat this epidemic.”
The bikers rode from the Civic Center to the Auchumpkee Covered Bridge in the Salem Community. The bikers rode through the rough terrain of Hwy. 19 South along the side of traffic, including the uphill challenges of the highway. Many of the bikers had a strong beginning with a weak finish due to the 16-mile long ride. According to David McKinley, an employee of Gordon Junior College on his second annual bike-a-thon, “When biking and going down a steep hill, it is the power to weight ratio that takes effect against such fierce wind.” He also participated in the ‘Audax Atlanta” an old French style bike riding club, which biked from Athens to Evans back to Athens in 19 ½ hours with a total of 248 miles bike rode, considered as a 400K.
The bikers that participated were Allen Tigner, Jock Tigner, Carl Trice, Robert Smith, Josh Colbert, Billy Howell, Mario Releford, Lavance Brown, and Eboni Chillis.
Mario Releford stayed in the lead the whole time during the bike road until the turn on Allen Road, and that is when David McKinley shot by him like lightning. Releford commented, “Smooth sailing, but recommend riding to Butler and back next time.”
Eboni Chillis stayed in the rear most of the ride, but she did not give up. She completed the ride with a smile and commented, “Tough but exhilarating!” This is her first ride ever and she was awesome to hang in there with the guys.
Carl Trice commented, “Each one teach one and keep it real!”
Josh Colbert gave support to the press for great coverage and commented “Speak out against childhood obesity and we would like people to continue to support displaced families.”
McKinley summed up the bike ride with “It was a very relaxed and casual ride with a great group of guys and girl. It is great to meet people cycling especially since Upson County has such great roads. More people should get into cycling.”
The motto for the Neighbor Next Door foundation is “Unlearn…Live Healthy.” Unlearn bad eating habits. The foundation believes change occurs when a distinct behavior is altered and it is a two-fold fight providing families a way to combat the epidemic. This foundation also place individuals into quality housing one neighbor at a time.
Lavance Brown, the manager of the foundation summed the beautiful bike ride for the causes the foundation support as “Today was an awesome day which makes the cause greater for childhood obesity. One neighbor at a time is the key to bring awareness to the community and ask everyone to join our fight against obesity to help save generations. We will do it again and thanks for everyone support!”