Mid February, amidst that horrible cold low temperatures, the anticipation for the GTGA 2015 grows. It all starts off with some ‘teaser trailer’ update posts on the Facebook Group – the Command Center of all things GTGA. This usually gets the interested riders coming out from under the covers, unwrapping the bikes, and looking forward to some nice good weather rides to locations, near and far, across Georgia.
For those that are not familiar. GTGA is the Grand Tour of Georgia. This is an annual event running from March to November of each year. This provides a ‘reason’ to ride. All in the aid of charity. The organizers spend a lot of their own personal time to create a list of 20 locations based around a theme. This year the theme is Railroad History. The participants have to ride to at least 17 of the 20 locations with 3 of the locations being mandatory. This is done entirely at the participant’s own pace and convenience of time, between March 14 and November 14. Riders provide proof of visit by taking a picture of the location and/or collecting a stamp in the ‘Passport’ (usually for National Park / Heritage locations) and submitting to organizers after all the locations have been documented in that manner. Finishers get a nice little certificate of completion and some bragging rights! But ask all the riders who have taken part in previous GTGA Events; it’s not about the certificate at all. It’s all about the love of riding, visiting interesting, informative and historical locations around Georgia, which wouldn’t be otherwise visited and most importantly contributing to Eddie James’ charity – helping the youth, tied into the child welfare system, to make a better life.
Information about the GTGA:
- Organized by Team Strange Airheads. Team Strange organizes similar ‘rally’ rides in different states to raise money for charity.
- The event raises money for the charity: Eddie’s Road – A New Journey for At-risk Youth.
- Eddie’s Road is a program of The Eddie James Foundation for Children.
- Founded in memory of Eddie James
- Focus of the the charity is to stop the cycle of abuse through proper education, mentoring, counseling and activities that encourage children to reach their full potential without the influences of violence, addiction or neglect.
- The Charity works directly with national organizations and regional group homes to create programs directed specifically to coaching/mentoring children between the ages of 14-18 as they face the challenges of moving into adulthood and independence from the child welfare system.
Money towards the Charity is raised through the registration fees collected from anyone that would like to participate. The fees are nominal when you think of the effort put in by the organizers in creating and managing the event and the value that the fees provides in the support provided by Eddie’s Road to the youth to make their live better and positive. For a rider the fee is $30 and additional $10 if riding with a passenger. Additionally there are stickers available as ‘souvenirs’ of the ride available for $5 each.
A worthwhile cause supported by a good bunch of people. Registrations opened on March 1, 2015. Between then and writing this update (March 2, 2015 – Noon) 63 riders and 14 passengers have already signed up. Ample evidence that this event is worthwhile, a lot of fun and has great support from the Motorcycle Rider community.
The first eligible riding day for this event is March 14, 2015. A few days earlier, each rider will receive a ‘Passport’ with details, GPS Coordinates, and photo of each location. Riders will have a few days to plan if they intend to ride on March 14. Between now and arrival of the Passport, the respective bikes will be unwrapped, cleaned up, serviced and farkled up.
On a personal note, the GTGA will be my primary event any year. It gave me a reason to ride just when I started riding again. It helped me understand not only my preference of type of Riding but also the type of Motorcycle suited to the preference. And, of course, it introduced me to the world of Rally riding.
Ready to Ride !
[PS: I did take part in GTGA-2014, but wasn’t able to finish due to a number of reasons. I am hoping to complete and finish this year. My RideLogs of the few locations that I did get to can be found by following this link: RideLogs | GTGA2014]
Some images from GTGA-2014