2017-06-08 / Front Page

BRAG could lead to Dream Team in W-W


BRAG Dream Team cyclists catch a glimpse of Downtown Washington as they complete the day’s circuit. 
(Story and photos by Jane Ellyn Aaron) BRAG Dream Team cyclists catch a glimpse of Downtown Washington as they complete the day’s circuit. (Story and photos by Jane Ellyn Aaron) The Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) has sparked a special interest in Wilkes County, as the BRAG “Dream Team” – an organization dedicated to helping youth foster both leadership and cycling skills – has proposed establishing a club branch in Washington to extend the ever-growing reach of its mission.

While the Dream Team club is only in the talking phases, the idea is to have it liaised through the Washington-Wilkes Parks and Recreation Department, and will require volunteer coaches and staff to aid in operating the organization.

“We can already see that there’s an interest here,” W-WPRD Director Alvin Jones said in light of the many successful bike nights that have been recently held on The Square. “We’re interested in having any kind of activity that will get our children involved. I just want to bring our community together in any way possible.”


Before making their camp for the night at the Pope Center, Dream Team riders and coaches peddled down Robert Toombs Avenue for a personal tour of the city. Before making their camp for the night at the Pope Center, Dream Team riders and coaches peddled down Robert Toombs Avenue for a personal tour of the city. Jones’ sentiments compliment that of the Dream Team mission, which sets “to provide extraordinary cycling experiences for youth to dream beyond their circumstances and grow greater by the mile,” by focusing on providing learning experiences to underprivileged youth through mentorship and cycling, and growing in a team-centric environment.

“It’s free to the kids, because we raise money for them to participate by finding them sponsors, and individuals often contribute to the cause,” head coach and coordinator Atiba Mbiwan, one of the pioneers of the Dream Team, said. “We’re really focused on the kids, especially the ones whose families can’t afford to do this sort of thing.”

Bikes, helmets, gear, and training are all provided for through sponsorship.

In bringing the BRAG Dream Team to Washington, local children would not only get the chance to participate in the mentorship program and the annual BRAG event, but they would also have opportunities to participate in cycling events across the country.

This year, the Dream Team had 14 new participants and eight alumni riding in BRAG, as children and former Dream Team students from around the state rode in the event.

“It’s been good, and it’s a great experience. I’ve met so many people through this that have helped me learn,” Ke’Air Beauchamp said. “It’s helping me in my leadership skills, in my interaction with other kids, and in making friends and meeting new people.”

Beauchamp, 14, from Dublin, has been on the Dream Team since he was 10-years-old. He was joined by several others, including Sa-Niyah Wright, 10, from Madison.

“It’s fun riding,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot, like when you ride a bike you follow the rules of the road, drink plenty of water, and eat a lot so that you have plenty of energy.”

Wright, who is a first-time participant, explained that she sees becoming a serious cyclist in the future.

The Dream Team was created to develop future olympic athletes around 1995, just prior to the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta, however the organization shifted to mentoring and developing youth leadership across the state shortly after its inception.

“While the original dream was to develop olympic cyclists, I had a different vision,” Mbiwan said. We want to grow to the best of our abilities on this journey – through the metaphor of the bike – by setting out long- and short-term goals, just like you do in life. Sometimes you have to shift gears, there are uphill and downhill roads, just like the challenges you’ll face, and you may want to quit at times, but we are determined to persevere.”

For more information on the BRAG Dream Team, visit www.bragdreamteam.org.

Return to top