Go for a Spin This Bike Month
May 21, 2021
It’s a near-universal childhood memory — pedaling as fast as you could and coasting with the wind on your face. This scene plays out on country roads, mountain trails and beaches across South Carolina. National Bike Month every May is the perfect time to recapture that magic by taking a bicycle for a spin, whether you want to start biking for recreation, sport or transportation.
There are a lot of benefits to riding a bike. It’s good for your health. It is easy on joints, good for your heart and helpful in building muscle. It improves posture and balance. It is an easy workout for beginners and helps with managing chronic conditions. Pedaling on a bike is also good for your bones.
Besides being good for your physical health, riding a bike is good for your mental health. It eases feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. It is also good for the environment. The benefits are numerous.
“I try to carve out time to bike every day because it’s not just good for fitness; it’s also good for mental clarity,” says Blake Gibbons, a sophomore at the University of South Carolina who rides Blue Bikes often around campus.
Gibbons has been riding a bike since childhood but has become more serious about cycling since he started riding a Blue Bike to class.
“I think it’s the ideal way to discover the city,” he says. “If you’re walking around, you can get tired pretty fast. Or if you’re in a car, you might not be able to get to all the places you want. In a car, your eyes are always on the road. The bike is the perfect option to explore your surroundings in a comfortable manner.”
He has found Blue Bikes to be a great way to enjoy his hobby without having to cart his own bike from one side of town to another. His favorite places to ride right now are Riverfront Park and around campus on the historic Horseshoe. You can find more Blue Bike locations on the Blue Bike South Carolina website.
Would you like to start cycling but aren’t sure where to begin? The old adage — it’s like riding a bike — is true, Gibbons says. You might find that hopping back on a bike after years isn’t impossible. Find a quiet park or stretch where you can practice.
“You shouldn’t have anxiety over how long it has been since you’ve biked. I hadn’t biked in a few years, and as soon as I got ‘back in the pedals,’ it just came naturally,” he says.
When you are getting started, make sure you take the proper safety precautions. Wear a helmet and follow the rules and regulations for cyclists if you are on a road. When wearing a helmet, make sure you have the proper fit. Wear clothing that makes you visible to others.
Gibbons recommends testing your bike before going out, knowing how to use the brakes and planning your route so you know where you are going.
Consider joining a biking group to get started, find support and connect with resources. Some local groups host rides, which can be safer.
“I remember biking down the Lincoln Street tunnel and feeling the wind in my face and looking around at the city. Truthfully, it is a pleasure to bike,” Gibbons says.
Where to go biking in South Carolina
Alston Trail on the Palmetto Trail is located near Peak, South Carolina. It is an easy, flat, dirt-packed trail. From Peak to Prosperity is about a 20-mile route.
Timmerman Trail in Cayce is a paved trail that runs through the woods and connects to the riverfront.
Riverfront Park in Columbia is an 8-mile round trip that snakes along the river to Broad River Road.
Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia, with its sandy terrain but not too many hills, is a good spot for mountain biking.
Harbison State Forest in Columbia is another good spot for mountain biking. It is a 10-mile route.
Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville runs to Travelers Rest. It is a paved route, so it is good for an easy ride.
Paris Mountain near Greenville has 15 miles of biking trails that can be great for embracing the hills.
Daniel Island near Charleston is a scenic trail that runs along the Wando River.
Hilton Head Island in the Lowcountry has 60 miles of mixed-use trails that can be great for exploring the area.
Waccamaw Neck Bikeway on the Grand Strand parallels U.S. 17 from Murrells Inlet to Huntington Beach State Park.
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