Mayors to join bike ride

COVINGTON - Covington Mayor Kim Carter and Conyers Mayor Randy Mills will join cyclists from all over metro Atlanta on March 11 in Georgia Ride to the Capitol to promote bicycling.

Officials and cycling enthusiasts will unite for the event, sponsored by the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association, the Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Bikes to raise awareness of the benefits of bicycling as an important form of transportation, a beneficial economic development and tourism tool, a way to maintain health and fitness and a sport and family activity.

More than 2,000 riders participated in the 2007 event, including mayors from Atlanta, Roswell, Decatur, Marietta, Sandy Springs, McDonough, Lake City and Locust Grove, as well as numerous city council and county commission representatives.

Carter said she enjoys cycling and is happy to support a worthwhile cause.

"I'm riding because I think it's a good cause. It promotes bicycling as an alternative form of transportation. It promotes good health and well-being. How could you not want to participate in that?" Carter said.

Covington is not part of the Metro Atlanta Mayor's Association but was extended a special invitation to participate, Carter said.

This is the first year the Covington-Conyers Cycling Club will be represented in the ride.

"We're ecstatic to have mayors Carter and Mills join us for this event," said club President Maurice Carter, husband of the Covington mayor. "We are fortunate enough to have progressive leaders who appreciate the quality of life and understand the important role of cycling as transportation, recreation and fitness."

Covington riders will leave at 7 a.m. from the Newton County Historic Courthouse on the Square. The ride is 43 miles one-way from Covington to Atlanta.

They'll join with Conyers riders at 8 a.m. at Conte's Bicycles and Fitness Equipment at 1927 Ga. Highway 138 N.E.

Riders will pass through Olde Town Conyers at 8:15 a.m., where they will stop for a photo and brief address from mayors Carter and Mills.

At 10 a.m., the riders are expected to reach Decatur, where Carter and Mills will join the ride to the Eastlake MARTA station and then on to the Capitol, where they will be greeted by state Sen. John Douglas and state Rep. Doug Holt.

Either Gov. Sonny Perdue or Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will speak, along with Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

"It's not just about promoting cycling in this area. I also feel we want to make sure we promote Rockdale and Newton counties as part of that," Carter said of the local participation.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.