Bike store, race bolster mission of College Hill Corridor

Bring a bike store to Mercer Village and it’s only natural that a bike race should go with it.

As a crowd of about 50 people celebrated the official opening of The Bike Store, organizers also announced the first Macon Cycling Classic, scheduled for May 1 at Tattnall Square Park.

“This is a real big deal for us,” said Bill Causey, one of the organizers of the race. “We want Macon to have more and more of these kinds of things.”

In addition to the bike race, organizers of Bragg Jam’s Moonlight Miles 5K race have pushed the event up to the same day as the cycling race. Moonlight Miles is one of Bragg Jam’s big money-raising events, and partnering it with the bike race seemed like a natural fit, said co-chairwoman Mechel McKinley.

“It’s a great event for us,” she said.

Andrew Lockwood, a senior industrial engineering major at Mercer University, said cycling has increased in popularity on campus and around Middle Georgia, and the location for The Bike Store will only add to that.

“It certainly promotes the cycling culture,” said Lockwood, a member of Mercer’s club cycling team. “We want to make this a pedestrian-friendly, family-friendly area. ... It’s a green way to get around and it falls in line with the objectives of College Hill.”

Meanwhile, officials were excited at the prospect of The Bike Store relocating to Mercer Village from Northside Drive. It’s a perfect fit for the College Hill Corridor’s master plan — a locally owned business that also promotes a greener, more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly neighborhood.

Bill Staudt, owner of the store, said the store has already gotten good foot traffic and generated interest among students and neighborhood residents.

Pat Madison, director of the College Hill Alliance — a partnership between the city of Macon and Mercer to develop the College Hill area — said the master plan calls for businesses specifically that will help the neighborhood economically and to be more family-friendly.

“Today, I’m getting two for the price of one,” Madison told the crowd.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.