SUMTER CO., GA (WALB) - Cyclists are working to make the county a more bike friendly area.
Ryan Iafigliola and his friends have been riding bikes for years. Just four years ago, they started their own organization to bring bikers together.
"Sumter Cycling as a whole is at work here to promote cycling as a way of life in this community," said Ryan Iafigloiola.
The group's main purpose was to help Americus become a destination city for people traveling and looking for a place to live.
"And all the studies have shown that cycling is a big part of that—that accessible roads making it easy to get around with just your own two feet is something that people really love in a community," said Iafigloiola.
But their mission has now become something bigger as they look to promote safe cycling in the city's busy streets and take this community to the next level.
"Almost anyone can ride a bicycle. So that's really our goal--just to make it a place where people feel safe getting out on the roads, where it is a viable option for anyone to be able to use for transportation, recreation, or as a destination," said Iafigloiola.
Sumter Cycling is now working with city leaders to figure out where they can utilize state money to make some of the roads safer.
Mia Anderson at the River Valley Regional Commission is one of the big helpers. She wants to encourage safe cycling, but there's more a cycling community has to offer.
"There are also economic development benefits to having a cycling friendly community. Like the events we have--they bring people in to town. They spend money here. They stay overnight in the hotels," said Anderson.
It may not be something that comes quick though.
"We're in the very early stages of that. It's going to take years," said Iafigloiola.
Sumter Cycling encourages you to get connected on their Facebook and start biking today.
The plan is in its preliminary stage and they have not estimated a cost for the upgrades. The group will have a Tour de Farm event in Columbus at the end of this month.
You can sign up for the event here.