BRAG 2022: Recumbent Bicycle Group Ride Report
We always enjoy the comfort and efficiency of our Cruzbike recumbent bicycles, but riding with a group of Cruzbike friends for an entire week from the north west side of Georgia to its south east coast through beautiful small towns, farms, forests and fields left me with a huge smile on my face and a month later I am still enjoying the memories.
For Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) Jim, Robert, our intern Eric, and I joined some of our Cruzbike family members for a week long ride averaging 55 miles per day of riding. We traveled from Columbus GA to Brunswick GA through Thomaston, Perry, Dublin, Hazelhurst and Jesup. Each of the small towns opened their arms to us with live music, lots of good food, small town charm and shopping.
What was especially unique and wonderful about this year was that the Cruzbikers were the cool kids! Our faster riders and even our not so fast riders, enjoyed passing lots of uncomfortable looking traditional cyclists down and up hill. The Cruzbike tent at the end of each riding day was the place to be for laughter, conversation, beverages and snacks.
We are going to do it again! Our plan for 2023 is to do the Florida Bicycle Safari April 15-20, 2023. Register here!
Six days of riding in beautiful North Florida. All six days will be based at the Suwannee County Fairgrounds in Live Oak, Florida. Delicious meals will be catered. Sag stops with plenty of nourishment and hydration to keep you pedaling. Live music and beer at camp location. Entertainment galore!
Some of my favorite memories from BRAG:
- Starting together the first day with a bunch of Cruzbikers. My heart is always filled with joy when I get to see a bunch of us together with our bikes
- Sitting under the giant tree at the Thomaston Civic Center after our first big day of riding.
- Peach ice cream on the way to Perry! Soft Serve in the waffle cone with bits of peaches! Walking through pristine downtown Perry.
- Two beautiful nights in Dublin where we had some terrific meals and I spent $75 dollars at the farmers market on I don’t know what.
- Seeing our wonderful intern Eric take to the Cruzbike and ride 25 miles on his first real ride.
- Realizing that Robert really was ok after I saw him fly 10 feet in the air.
- Riding in train of five V20s on the last day for about 30 miles to the finish!
- Spending time with each of you, whether on the road or under the tent.
Experience the fun and enjoy these submissions from some of our Cruzbike crew:
It’s so much more fun to ride with like-minded people. The morning group photos are a joy. I especially liked having chairs, cold drinks, and camaraderie at the Cruzbike canopy at the end. Knowing the value of this, I gladly gave my spot to the next incoming rider. I don’t usually join pace lines, but riding with Jim on that final day was super exciting. The shared photo album and chat group are very helpful. I put together a nice video summary that is up on my YouTube page (Biking Matt) here:
A poem from Paul Lacey:
So here we were in 2022
From as far away as Missouri or Katmandu
Well maybe not that far but it was a drag
driving from my house to the beginning of BRAG
Turned out it was well worth the long drive
Because a trip like this makes you feel so alive
riding on bikes that soar down the road or gravelly lane
This fun and excitement keeps one from going insane
I annoyed poor Rick and made Maria pay for a cone
Surrounded by friends one was never alone
So lets get started and talk about each day
As we mounted our Cruzbikes and biked away
Before we started some had a bit of a fuss
When Larry and others had troubles on the bus
Four hour trip ended up lasting many an hour
Honestly it would have left my mood quite a bit sour
Then Ken found out those camping indoors had no bed
With no mattress of his own ‘Go get one’ I said
But Karen was prepared as she brought her own camper
She would do an out and back on her bike she would scamper
On our first day we twisted and turned all over the place
Maria Rick and others took a wrong turn and the route they did misplace
They were just making a donut run is what they said
Nope just a leader whose group members were mislead
The next day the hills were not too hard to find
But my new V20C did not seem to mind
I passed many an upright going up each hill
And scream past them downhill oh what a thrill
We stopped in a town that packaged peaches and ice cream
Bikes, fun folks, a cute town, we were living the dream
Eric the boy wonder or should I say the man intern
Followed us with ice and well wishes at every turn
Several of us ate at a nice restaurant in town
After dilly dallying awhile the rain came pouring down
We got back to camp and it was a mucky mess
But on a week long bike trip one would expect nothing less
Angela lost her voice for a while
All she could do was nod yes or no with a smile
She was the only who brought a Q45
A neon yellow bike with colorful signs she did ride
I tagged along with Jeff and Robert most of the time
When Robert decided to do a 180 on a tarmac of grime
Scared me so bad I figured when I stopped and looked around
That poor Robert would be plastered askew on the ground
But he popped up from the fall like this was no big deal
Not like he had just managed a stunt that sent him a reel
His bike did suffer from this calamitous feat
As his wheel was bent and the spokes did not meet
Fortunately Jim had a backup plan as there was the T50
Its not built for speed but both Eric and Robert thought it was nifty
It may not be the fastest of the Cruzbike set
But it proved to ride well, expectations were met
On one of our rides we got to see a lettuce farm
No dirt used, only water, does the environment no harm
Great big leafy lettuce being grown in a building of heat
Get me some blue cheese dressing it is time to eat!
On the last day of our rides Jeff and I joined a fast pace line
I jumped in behind David Barbara and Maria and it was fine
A group of V20’s scooting at high speeds passing all in sight
I could not stifle my smile try as I might
Then icing on the cake after we all finish our tour
Larry goes and breaks a record a huge effort I am sure
So BIG thanks for the chips drinks and camaraderie
Jim Maria Eric and Robert you made it the best for me!
As a newcomer to the Cruzbike community, there has been such a warm welcome, wealth of knowledge and tolerance of my limited experience. It sure makes it fun to jump in and learn new stuff. I really appreciated the willingness of the Cruzbike team and many other riders to have some intentional talks about issues confronting our nation and affecting our daily lives. I bought the Q45 for comfort on a future cross-country trip to sight-see, meet people and spend my next phase of life visiting places I haven’t yet been. This was a good pre-trip test, to see if 40-60 miles per day is feasible, if I can handle camping on my own and if I can pare down my gear to haul on the Q45. I think it is the perfect bike for the job, whether I do one State at a time or take off on the long haul adventure. In my head, I can hear John Lennon singing “I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round” as I pedal down the road. Happy cruz-ing.
I have been to every Cruzbike Retreat since the first one near Portland on Jul 22-25, 2016. This year Cruzbike decided to break the mold and have their yearly get together during the 2022 BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia). All I can say is it was a stroke of guinness! Instead of getting 3 days together we got to hang out with each other for a whole week! What a blessing it was!
The Tribe this year was: Jim and Maria Parker, Robert Holler, Jeff Moore, Ken Holzhausen, Paul Lacy, Rick Mueller, Angela Allard, Karen Empie, Dave Wall, Barbara Gaylord, Ray (& Salli) Morris, Tony Hollaway, Mathew Fyie, me (Larry), and honorary member: our intern Eric Sheetz. We also met up with fellow Cruzbike fanatics Hardy and Connie Swinson who just happened to live close to one of our stops! That adds up to 18 Cruzbikes!
Photo above: The group on first day - without Dave and Barbara (who joined mid-way)
Photo above: The “old folks” club at the finish! Congrats guys - you showed what young really is
I chose not to give a play by play of the week but just a few choice memories of my favorite Cruzbiker’s of the week. (That's everyone by the way!)
Jim Parker: Always one of the strongmen of any ride - And just as strong as ever, ready to chase down anybody and everybody on an upright bike and show (and tell) them about the virtues of a Cruzbike - a salesman and technician extraordinaire - always smiling, alway generous, and always ready to share his love of Cruzbike with a stranger. Your friendship is special to me Jim! Loved that peach ice-cream with you!
Maria Parker: The Physical, Mental and Spiritual leader of our Tribe - she is kind of like our Mama Bear! Part mom, part friend, part machine on her Cruzbike. She can always ride with the big boys if she wants: and can put most of them in their place if she so desires! Maria is always the one who brings us together and keeps us together; joyful and fulfilled. And wow - she is physically stronger than ever from what I’ve seen! - I’m thinking she is ready to tackle another World Record very soon on her new V20C. You know how much I love ya Maria!
Robert Holler: THE MAN who knows EVERYTHING about bikes, especially Cruzbikes. People with bike problems just seem to gravitate to him naturally. It’s like a gravity thing I think!. Fun loving, always encouraging and ready for any adventure is Robert! Yes, and then there was the miraculous 360 flip he performed on the open road on his S40. The bike flipped a full circle in the air, Robert landed on his head, the headrest and seat broke on the S40, but Robert jumped up, brushed his scuffed up arm off and rode the T50 the next day like nothing happened! This man has no kryptonite!
Eric Sheetz: I affectionately call him the Tribe’s Hoss (you know, from Bonanza if they ever do a remake - Eric will be the new Hoss for sure). A hulk of a young man, a hearty eater who can down 32 oz of applesauce in a single sitting! Seriously though: One of the most easy-going, kind, and well spoken 19 year olds I have ever known. A joy to be around – and a Cruzbike natural to be sure: who just picked up the T50 on the first day and started riding it. Then he rode it 22+ miles just as fast as us on Vendetta’s during the break day. His arms are bigger than my legs (really) and I can’t wait to see what he could do on a V20! Eric, you are worth your weight in gold and it was great to meet you. (P.S. I am standing on my toes in the photo below.)
Jeff Moore: My good friend and fellow V20 rider. It was amazing to see Jeff reach new levels of agility, comfort and speed after adjusting his slider and handlebars after a couple of days. Another gentle soul whose pleasant disposition always brings a smile to everyone he is around. I know he will be riding his V20 making more friends and Cruzbike converts for many years. It was great riding with you Jeff and I look forward to more.
Ken Holzhausen: Another long time Cruzbike friend who rides a V20. We have attended many retreats and events together - Ken even rode the Blue Ridge Parkway last year with myself, Maria and Jim. Also known for having the most radical and fastest Quest ever configured. And another Strongman of the tribe ready to chase down and ride with pretty much anyone. Ken is another Cruzbike rider with tons of cycling power and experience but also with such a gentle and peaceful disposition. It was so great to spend time with you my brother.
Paul Lacy: I think I met Paul last year at the Cruzbike retreat in Indiana. Another exuberant Cruzbike ambassador - on his bright red new V20C (I’m so jealous) - This man loves to go fast and pass everyone, and he did! Paul - the energy and enthusiasm you brought to the week was infectious and I thank you for the memories of riding together and proclaiming Cruzbike to the BRAG riders! I know we’ll ride together again!
Angela Allard: The bubbly and joyful lady on the neon yellow Q45 - Angela is a rock on her Q45 and I don’t think she ever met anyone she could not have a deep conversation with about something meaningful. I love your passion for all the causes you support. Always smiling, happy, friendly, and ready to spread her love and concern around to everyone - A Cruzbike ambassador if I ever met one. p.s. I just loved your “husky” voice you had for a few days, but I hope you are better now!
Rick Meuller: I met Rick last year at the Cruzbike retreat in Indiana. He graciously offered to share his hotel room with me after my first horrible night on the floor with the air mattress. Rick rode his S40 pretty much as fast as most of us rode our V20s during BRAG. He also got a heavy dose of high tech by learning all about Garmin GPS and power meter pedals during the week. Rick is strong on his S40 and has his eye on a new V20C as soon as he can get one - then he will be a rocket. He has tasted the speed and there is not going back now. I am selfishly looking forward to helping him get it all set up perfectly for speed. I have an inkling once he gets going and starts training and applying himself he will be faster than me next year. One of the highlights of my week was getting to know Rick better as roomies. He is the best Cruzbike brother one could hope for.
Congrats on your retirement after 42 years of firefighting my good friend.
Karen Empie: Another new Cruzbike friend on her Quest. Karen’s exuberance for fellowship made her another rock of the Cruzbike tribe this week. She always had a smile on her face - ready to help in any way she could. Even though she rode just as much as everyone else she was always there with us taking great pics and videos of us as we took off each morning. I wish you the best of luck in your business venture Karen and can’t wait to see all your pictures and videos once you get them sorted.
Dave Wall: When I grow up I want to be like you Dave! Dave proves that 70 is the new 30! Another fast and powerful V20 rider who can ride with the fastest of them. He helped lead the fast group into Brunzwick on the last day with Jim and Matthew! Dave and I have ridden together on several other weekly events and retreats. He always shows up with the most gracious and giving attitude. A master influencer. Dave, one day I am going to show up at your door and ask for a ride in your Quatrovelo!
Barbara Gaylord: Dave’s other half - they are always together and always riding! Barabara rides her beautiful Vendetta (V1.5) - and what a beautiful bike it is! A real flagship of Cruzbike and arguably still the best looking Cruzbike around! Secret: Barbara is part of the reason Dave is so fast - he has to chase her down as she is also a rocket on her Vendetta!. Always cheerful and willing to share. Barbara - I know you will get a V20C now and not get Dave’s leftovers! I am pretty sure you already know the color you want!
Ray Morris: Yes, another new brother who felt like a lifelong friend after only a day together! Ray’s love of life and enthusiasm for riding is only exceeded by his generosity towards others. Ray, it was so great to meet you (and Salli) and ride with you, and eat with you! I know we’ll be lifelong friends - you and Salli must visit me at Hilton Head next time you come to Savannah.
Salli Morris: Salli gets her own shout out even though she did not ride a Cruzbike (yet!) - because she is amazing and part of us now! Salli was like our den mother during the ride. There was nothing she would not do for us if we needed it! Restaurant finder, taxi driver, food picker-upper, SAG (for Robert, and most of all: great encourager. I love you my sister Salli and thanks for praying for me when you did. It touched my heart. Your love for God is infectious and He has you where He wants you and uses you every day!
Tony Holloway: Another multiple Cruzbike retreat attendee and perhaps one of the first group of loyal Cruzbike tribe members. Tony was an expert Cruzbiker long before I even knew what a Cruzbike or a recumbent even was. He also has a beautiful original Vendetta (V1.5) with the big Aluminum boom. Forever helpful and engaging. Tony - always the gentleman too - riding with his wife Joni (even though she has not converted to a Cruzbike - yet - yes there is still hope and we’ll keep praying). Until we meet again Tony.
Mathew Fyie: Another seasoned Cruzbiker and V20 strongman of the Tribe. He is pretty much the tech wizard of Cruzbike.If there is something cool to check out and use on the Cruzbike Matthew is the guy that has tried it and is still using it if it is worthy. Everything from 1x12 SRAM etap setup, to front and rear cameras to a cool “Stick” kickstand, and so much more!. And is he fast? There wasn’t a person on this entire ride Matthew could not chase down - and he proved it every day, especially the last.. Matthew - thanks for all the shared experiences over the years and I look forward to more.
Connie and Hardy Swinson: The best rest stop of the week! Hardy and Connie are Zwift & Cruzbike fanatics. They have a whole room in their home dedicated to it! We were so lucky to be just a few miles from them when we came to Dublin so a group of us rode to their house for a detour and some yummy snacks! Watermelon, Choc chip cookies, homemade bread and honey, drinks, and more! Such gracious hosts as you would ever meet - and of course the greatest of Cruzbike ambassadors. Hardy - Thanks for driving all those hours to support me on my record attempt on Sunday. Love you guys bunches!
Then there is me too (Larry)! Haha - Mostly remembered (I fear) for forgetting at least one thing each day: shorts in hotel, wallet, phone, brake pads, HR monitor, etc - need I go on. I claim it was the stress of preparing and waiting for Sunday’s record attempt. My wife (Gayle) jokingly says she thinks I have early onset Alzheimer's. I don’t think so, mostly because I remember everything and I can’t remember ever forgetting anything either, so there!
I had not meant to write a book, but I guess I did - and it was fun walking through my precious memories while writing this.
BRAG was fun, their organization was a bit disorganized, but being with the Cruzbike tribe more than compensated for it. The shared experiences I had with everyone will fuel my memories and love of riding a Cruzbike for the rest of my life. Every single person from the Cruzbike Tribe that I was with this week is such a fine example of a wonderful human being. All of you are so loving, giving, sharing, generous, etc.
Begs the question: Do you have to be like that to own a Cruzbike, or is a Cruzbike so wonderful it helps change you into the best version of yourself. Me thinks a little bit of both! :)
This was just a little bit of heaven on earth to me - and I thank-you all for sharing it with me. I know I said it to everyone but I will say it again: If you are ever near Hilton Head Island please look me up - we love to have guests and I love to have someone to share Cruzbikes with! :)
I can’t wait to do this again next year somewhere else!
Thanks again Maria, Jim and the whole Cruzbike team for making this happen!
I pray the Lord's blessing on all of you and your families.
Epilogue: I also want to thank Jim, Maria, Robert, Eric, Jeff, Hardy, Ken and Rick for meeting me at 5 dark 30 the next day (Sun) and watching me and cheering me on while I rode around a 1.13 mile loop 89 times. Also all the prayers and thoughts from all who were not there. The heat was on and so was the wind, but I did manage to break 4-hours for 100 Miles and averaged about 25.5 mph. Robert and Jim followed me in the van and recorded my laps, and Maria and everyone else stayed at the start/finish location and cheered me on every lap. I could not have done it without them. I set the world record for the oldest person to ride 100 Miles on a unfaired bike in less than 4 hours at 62y 7m. More later on the forum once certified.
Strava link here.
Thanks again to all who participated this year - we can't wait for 2023!
Hi, I was on Brag this year and saw many of the Cruzbikes. Does anyone know if there is a place to rent them to try out?
Thanks for the kind words. The two of us were thrilled to have all the Cruzbikers drop by during BRAG. A big thanks to all of you who took the detour to visit. We’re motivated to get back outside riding after seeing all those cool bikes. Larry, Major props to you for the record ride after BRAG. Especially after your tough year! Really grateful to have witnessed it. Ride on Cruzbikers Ride On!
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