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Grandfather named beneficiary of Bridge to Bridge ride



Article Published: Jun. 3, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Grandfather named beneficiary of Bridge to Bridge ride

A rider from a previous Bridge to Bridge finishes his journey at the top of Grandfather Mountain. The bike ride has ended just below the Mile High Swinging Bridge all but one of its 21 years of existence.

Photo by Helen Moss Hopper



The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation has been named the beneficiary of the 2010 Bridge to Bridge Bike Ride, as well as future occurrences of the annual event.

The announcement came during the May 22 Healthy Living Festival at Grandfather. The festival was held in conjunction with the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce, the organization that has organized and administered the bike ride since 1989.

Months ago, the Bridge to Bridge organizers decided that the time had come to transform the event into a benefit ride.

Grandfather Mountain has a long history with the Bridge to Bridge, because the ride that boasts "100 miles of pure hill" has ended near the Swinging Bridge all but one of its 21 years.

Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce president Deborah Ashley hopes that this partnership will attract more riders and spectators to Bridge to Bridge.

"Many people, and riders in particular, are emotionally connected to Grandfather Mountain," Ashley said. "We hope that the ride becomes the highlight to a week-long event focused on healthy living and the environment. We are thankful for the support Grandfather Mountain has provided to make this ride possible, and we feel confident the enhanced partnership will complement the ride experience for everyone involved."

The Healthy Living Festival held on Grandfather May 22 was a mini version of the activities that are planned around the Sept. 19 Bridge to Bridge. The festival featured a stationary bike that simulated the course of the bike ride, craft projects made out of recycled materials, a healthy foods booth, presentations by Grandfather Naturalists and games that promoted healthy choices.

The Caldwell chamber posted art collected from the Davenport A+ Elementary Wraparound Program in Lenoir, the Caldwell County Library and several pre-schools. When visitors to the Grandfather event were asked to vote on the artwork, Charis Proffit was named the winner in the "age 7 and over" category, and Mckinzie Jurney received first place for the "age 6 and under" division.

When announcing that the Bridge to Bridge would become a benefit ride, the chamber explained that the registration fee paid by riders will continue to go toward the logistics of the bike ride.

New in 2010, the riders will be asked to set a minimum goal of donating $100 that will go to the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. Riders might choose to make a $100 donation themselves, or they might choose to ask friends to sponsor them for each mile in the 100-mile bike ride.

"We are honored and delighted to enter into this partnership with the Caldwell chamber and Bridge to Bridge," Stewardship Foundation executive director Penn Dameron said. "This event has the potential to become a very significant source of support for the Stewardship Foundation, one that will help us preserve Grandfather Mountain and promote healthy lifestyles at the same time."

The riders will be able to designate their donations for specific projects, such as naturalist programs, recycling receptacles on the mountain or improvements in the animal habitats.

The Bridge to Bridge is a 100-mile bike ride that begins in Caldwell County and ends at the top of Grandfather Mountain. The event was established in 1989 and typically attracts more than 800 riders. Past riders have represented 34 states and three countries.

Grandfather Mountain is a 600-acre scenic attraction and nature preserve located near Linville on U.S. 221, 1 mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.

For more information about Grandfather Mountain, call (800) 468-7325 or for more information on the Bridge to Bridge Bike Ride, call the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce at (828) 726-0616.

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