Riding for a Cause – Jonathan Wright, Bridges of Hope

Why did you decide to do the ride? Achieve a personal goal? Increase your endurance? Try something new? First-time BASC rider Jonathan Wright is taking his ride to the next level by using it to raise money for Bridges of Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides grief support to children, teens & families.

“We provide safe group settings – through camps, school groups, family workshops, & community events – where children, teens & their families can learn, connect, share & grow after the death of a loved one.” Jonathan has been the executive director at Bridges of Hope for the past 5 years and continues to help grow awareness and funding for this great cause.

With a personal connection to grief support work, Jonathan has found a way to look on the bright side of some not so bright experiences.

“While their stories of loss can be heart-wrenching, it is incredibly rewarding to watch them re-blossom as they connect with kids who ‘get it’ and are allowed to explore & express the difficult emotions they are experiencing. Yes, there are many tears, but there are even more smiles and laughter as they begin being kids again.”

Why choose Bicycle Across South Carolina?

Aside from the fundraising, Jonathan views this ride as a milestone for personal achievement. The mileage and endurance will be a new physical challenge for Jonathan as he looks for new ways to stay in shape as he recently turned 50! “…since I’ve never done a ride of any significant distance, I really appreciate the esprit de corps of the “it’s a ride not a race” approach.”

Help Support Jonathan and Bridges of Hope

In support of Jonathan and Bridges of Hope, Bicycle Across South Carolina wanted to tell his story and encourage fellow riders to spread the word and make referrals if you know a child/teen who could benefit from these services. Donations and volunteers are also much appreciated! To learn more about how to be involved, visit www.BridgesSC.org. To support Jonathan’s fundraising for grief support through BASC 2021, visit https://bit.ly/SponsorJDubsRide.

We’ll also be accepting donations when you register for Bicycle Across South Carolina at BicycleAcrossSouthCarolina.com/register

past, present, and future

The Past, Present, and Future of BASC

Bicycle Across South Carolina started as an idea and has grown to become a successful, unique experience that entices riders from across the country. As we head into our third year, we are looking at the past, present, and future of BASC for both lessons learned and inspiration for years to come.

The Past

Year one (2019) brought us blindly into an event that we spent hundreds of hours planning but had never seen other than on a PowerPoint or Google Doc. We didn’t know what to expect. Our credibility was questioned (“What does a newspaper know about putting on a cycling event”). The shuttles didn’t show up. And we just happened to land right in the middle of one of the two weeks out of the year where millions of love bugs emerge for mating season. All in all, we didn’t know what we didn’t know.

One thing we were right about is the strong sense of community surrounding this event. Our 2019 riders saw the potential of this event and we’re excited to be a part of the early stages. The willingness to evolve and change based on rider feedback allowed us to hold this event again in 2020.

Although 2020 was no walk in the park, we were equipped with knowledge from our first year and decided we needed to bring in the experts – Medalist Sports! This small but mighty team is a full-service sports management company and has worked on various large-scale events across the country, such as; The Tour DuPont, Kent Tour of China, Tour de Georgia, Amgen Tour of California, and the LIVESTRONG Challenges.

The Present

With our dream team fully assembled, we’re ready for year three. I looked at the first two years of this event as a chance for us to learn about who we are and who we want to be. We’ve got a little more confidence now and have earned our place in the cycling community. So what’s next?

Our goal this year to use the word “experience” more rather than “logistics.” Let’s talk adventure, activations, ax throwing, and barbeque instead of shuttles and transportation. With this in mind, we are switching up our format slightly in order to better accommodate our riders.

Each year we also switch up the routes to both appeal to our returning riders and highlight local communities in South Carolina, which is after all one of our goals for this event! This year we’re targeting more of the upstate to help boost participation in Columbia, Greenville, and other surrounding markets.

The Future

The future is bright and full of gravel (80% gravel and 20% pavement to be exact)! The trend of gravel rides has been continuously growing over the past few years and it’s here to stay, which is why we’ve started shaping BASC into more of a gravel ride. We fell into an exciting, niche market and can’t wait to continue on this gravel path to success!

Our five-year plan includes increasing rider counts drastically through grassroots and digital marketing campaigns, identifying diversity and inclusion goals to help diversify our audience and the cycling industry, recruiting national sponsors, building out unique brand activations, and much more!

Join the Adventure

As the event continues to evolve over the next few months, we want to hear what you’d like to see at BASC. Post-ride yoga? Football on a big screen? Email me here and we’ll see what we can do!

Interested in being a sponsor? Email Alison at awarburton@postandcourier.com.

Registration opens mid-April and routes will be announced mid-May.

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