Five "Rails to Trails" Bike Trails Close to Charleston

Spanish Moss Trail in Beaufort, SC, photo courtesy of traillink.com

Spanish Moss Trail in Beaufort, SC, photo courtesy of traillink.com

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has declared Saturday, April 8, as the 2017 "Opening Day for Trails" as part of their annual celebration to kick off the trail season. RTC is known for transforming unused rail corridors into vibrant public places. The non-profit organization is based out of Washington, D.C., and has over 160,000 members and active supporters.

Their TrailLink map lists 36 trails for biking, walking, hiking and running in South Carolina; but we would like to highlight the trails specifically equipped for bikes which are close to Charleston. Some of these are practically in our backyard while others are just a short drive.

  • CHARLESTON
    • West Ashley Bikeway - Running arrow-straight from the Ashley River west to a wholesale produce stand on Wappoo Road, this trail links several Charleston neighborhoods, providing a 2.5-mile cycling path. You can continue your journey on the nearby West Ashley Greenway (see below).
      Length: 2.5 miles
      Surface: Asphalt
      Learn more: traillink.com/trail/west-ashley-bikeway

    • West Ashley Greenway - This trail is a favorite of local mountain bikers and takes you on a 10.5-mile (one way) ride from suburban Charleston west to the scenic Lowcountry wetlands that surround the city. Its trailhead is behind the South Windermere Shopping Center on Folly Road.
      Length: 10.5 miles
      Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Dirt
      Learn more: traillink.com/trail/west-ashley-greenway

  • SUMMERVILLE

    • Sawmill Branch Multi-Use Trail - Starting at Gahagan Road or the parking area on Ashley Drive in Summerville, you can ride this flat, 10-foot wide, paved trail, which follows the Sawmill Branch Canal and through a wooded area in the southern part of the city. 
      Length: 6.5 miles
      Trail surface: Asphalt
      Learn more: traillink.com/trail/sawmill-branch-multi-use-trail

  • BEAUFORT

    • Spanish Moss Trail - Sometimes referred to as the Beaufort Rail Trail or the Magnolia Line Trail, this trail follows the former Port Royal Railroad that was constructed in 1870. The planned 13.6-mile scenic pathway will run through Beaufort County between Port Royal and Yemassee.
      Length: 6.3 miles
      Trail surface: Concrete
      Learn more: traillink.com/trail/spanish-moss-trail

  • MURRELLS INLET

    • Waccamaw Neck Bikeway - This is a developing off-road trail currently available in a few disconnected sections, which primarily parallel U.S. 17 (Ocean Highway) and Kings River Road. Cyclists can travel on-road, following share-the-road signs, to complete the route from Murrells Inlet to Pawleys Island.
      Length: 9.9 miles
      Trail surface: Asphalt
      Learn more: traillink.com/trail/waccamaw-neck-bikeway

Our hope is that this post will encourage you to explore the pathways that you already love and discover new ones in or near our community. Looking for the perfect trail bike? We'd love to help, so come see us!

Evo E-Force Combo 10.6 Cable Lock

Evo E-Force Combo 10.6 Cable Lock

We have stocked up on the Evo E-Force Combo 10.6 Cable Lock. The cable is 180 cm long (almost six feet), so it is long enough for more than one bike. It uses 10mm cable which is big enough as long as your bike doesn’t spend every night outside alone (which your bike should avoid if possible). If you need a heavier duty lock, we have those too.

We will throw in the Evo E-Force Combo 10.6 Cable Lock with each new bike sold... just mention this post. 

Tried-and-True Profile Design Kage

Generally, bottle cages don’t get any respect, but they are a practical and useful accessory for your bike since you will want to carry a water bottle while you ride. There are plenty of options out there...

Aluminum Cages

An aluminum water bottle cage is about $6.95 and comes in lots of colors at that price. But not long after you start using it, you will wear through the color. And, it starts to bleed aluminum oxide and regular old aluminum dust all over your bottle and bike. It’s not the end of the world; the stuff wipes right off unless your bike is flat white, but it’s always messy and ugly. On a bumpy road, they hold onto bottles just okay, and eventually, it will break. 

Stainless Steel & Titanium Cages

A stainless steel cage is stylish and cleaner, but they only come in the normal stainless color and hold onto a bottle about as well as aluminum. They do last longer but cost double. Titanium is nice too, but now you’re looking at over $40.

Carbon Fiber Cages

Carbon fiber opens up a world of possibilities, style and color-wise.  Carbon cages cost a lot, but if you ride an expensive carbon fiber bike, they are a complete spiritual match.

Plastic Cages

We actually prefer plastic bottle cages and recommend the tried-and-true Profile Design Kage. The durable Profile Design Kage is only $12.95, won’t make a mess and won’t drop your bottle. In our opinion, it’s the best deal in a cage. Black is the only readily available color and what we have in stock. 

Cygolite Bike Lights

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A few years ago, any bicycle light that bright enough to let you see where you were going at night was expensive. You could have spent many times what a Cygolite Streak 450 currently costs, and still gotten something heavier, dimmer and less reliable.

Lights that are meant to help OTHERS see YOU cost less than lights for you to see by. (A brighter headlight is required to really light your path). But advances in battery and LED technology means that really good lights cost less than ever.

We recommend rechargeable lights, and nobody does them better than Cygolite. Cygolite has an excellent reputation in the bike world, and their products feature excellent function, consistent quality and competitive pricing.

For general commuting and night riding, a combo like this is currently a great choice... http://www.cygolite.com/product/streak-450-hotshot-sl-50-usb-combo. Get it for 15% off when you mention this post!

Freds Welcome!

 
 

By Jeff Slotkin, Manager

Cycling has its own lexicon, filled with terms complimentary or not. One of the many labels in there intended to homogenize a diverse group is “Fred.”

I’ve been called a Fred. Probably intended as an insult but often received warmly, the term hopes to generate a chuckle at the expense of someone who is into useful bikes (as opposed to merely fast ones). Freds like tires that are kinda fat. Maybe a Fred’s bike has fenders, and racks, and lights, some kind of bag or basket…and a mirror.

Flags on poles; homemade trailers; these indicate additional degrees of Fred-ness further down what might be a slippery slope.  A Fred might actually be fast, faster than some racy-looking cyclist on a racy-looking bike—because he or she might actually ride more. Or somebody might look like a Fred all week and race on the weekends. We are not suggesting you or anyone should be bound by stereotypes!

But there is a general assumption that Freds are not usually speedy.  Some of that extra stuff on their bikes and persons actually does slow them (me) down a bit. But, mainly, we said all this to warn you about what your cycling friends might think if buy a rear-view mirror for your bike, which is what we are suggesting you do.

Think about this for a minute: many of us ride racing bikes on the street, but we’re usually not racing when we do it. We are not on cleared roads populated by a pack of fellow cyclists whose skills we can generally count on.

We’re on the street, with cars. Cars have humans driving them, so they are just as erratic as humans but much heavier. On your bike, you’ve got the same rights as the drivers of other vehicles, but you can’t count on them to act like they know that. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the cars.

Here’s the thing. A cyclist can learn and develop the skill of looking behind without crashing, and skilled riders and racers do just that. But if you spend much time around other traffic, even other bike traffic, you realize that you ALWAYS want to know what’s going on behind you, but you don’t want to ALWAYS be looking back there, because there’s plenty happening in front of you also. You need a mirror.

First, one glance at a mirror lets you know when there is NOTHING behind you. That’s nice to know, and probably the best part of the mirror, if traffic is light. You can use more of the road, or go around potholes easier.

When a car approaches you from behind, you’ll probably need to look at the mirror more than once to track the car’s position until you see it move over to “share the road,” but you won’t have to turn your head. You can easily see that the car is giving you some space once it has done so. When you know you’ve been acknowledged; you and the driver will enjoy a nice safe pass.

Usually, that exact interaction is what happens. But sometimes there is inattention or even aggression at work inside the car—that too is pretty easy for a cyclist with a mirror to detect. Just as you can see an approaching car move over to give you space, you can also see if it doesn’t. You can see it a long way off too, so you get time for sticking out your elbow, or a left-pointing thumb, or wiggling your bike around some…or whatever attention-getting actions you deem appropriate.

Such communications are pretty effective, so it’s rare that a driver will be anywhere near you while passing after all that—but it’s helpful to know you will get a lot more notice when there’s a jerk back there (there still will be, sometimes).

For better or worse, you’ll get extra Fred-points if you use a helmet or eyeglass mirror. A mirror on your head can also be nice if you own a lot of bikes but don’t want to buy a mirror for each one.

A mirror that sticks out of your handlebar is a bit subtler, and is probably a little easier for most folks to deal with.

If you’ve read this far, and you’re the first to come in and ask for your prize with a straight face, then we’d like to present you with a “Mountain Mirrycle” handlebar-end mirror. It’s our favorite, and we’ll assemble and install it for you.

Your Bike Needs a Bell

Bells aren’t just for kids. EVERY bike needs a bell. And this is especially true for commuters and road cyclists.

In Charleston, even if you are lucky enough to have access to a bike lane, traffic poses a threat. Distracted drivers, roadside parking, pedestrians and other cyclists are within arm’s reach, and all are potentially dangerous. When a second or an inch could make all the difference, your voice isn’t enough. A shout may not cut through the sounds of traffic and other voices, but a bike bell will.

Incredibell Omnibell at Charleston Bicycle Co.

Any bell is better than no bell, but if you’re in the market for something that looks sharp, works well and lasts, consider the Mirrycle Incredibell Omnibell. Both the band clamp and bell dinger are adjustable, which means it can be mounted anywhere regardless of handlebar diameter.  

The Incredibell Omnibell Bike Bell is currently in stock at Charleston Bicycle Co. Give us a call (843-571-1211), or stop by the store for details.

Vintage Bikes on Display

We're passionate about bike culture... Here in Charleston and as a whole. We keep an original 1885 high wheeler (a penny-farthing bike like the one in our logo) on permanent display. Our goal is to keep a rotating exhibit of vintage bicycles from our shop owner’s private collection to ensure that there is always something interesting in store. Vintage bikes currently on display include:

  • 1930s Ganna - Museum-quality racing bicycle equipped with a Vittoria Margherita shifter, Luiggi  Ganna won the first edition of Giro de Italia before starting the production of these bicycles
  • 1938 Bianchi Folgore - Equipped with the first shifter in the Campagnolo line, Cambio Corsa
  • 1949 WOLF -  Used by a Swiss bike company team whose rider Gottfried Weilenmans won Tour of Switzerland in 1949, equipped with a Super Champion shifter
  • 1950s Cinelli Track Stayer - From our owner's native club KS Cracovia in Krakow /Poland
  • Late 1960's Masi Special - Italian made road bike
  • 1996 GT Road Bike - Atlanta Olympic/USA National Team bike
  • 2000 GT Superbike Track - US National Team Edition
  • 2000 Look 296 Track - Ridden by Lucy Tyler-Sharman
  • Vintage Colnago and Guerciotti - Time trial bikes

As Charleston’s oldest bike shop, we've seen a lot. We invite you to visit the shop to see our collection as we celebrate timeless, two-wheeled fun. 

Weekly Giveaways

We are excited to announce that we have started doing a little giveaway every week as a fun way for us to engage with you on Facebook. This is how it works...

  • If you haven't already, be sure to like our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CharlestonBicycle.

  • Every Friday, we will announce the Weekly Giveaway on our Facebook page.

  • Simply react and/or comment to the post for a chance to win.

  • The winner will be picked randomly every Tuesday.

  • The winner will be announced on our Facebook page on Tuesday.

  • The giveaway can be picked up at our shop during normal business hours.

If you don't win, just stay tuned for the next week's giveaway! We plan to have a good variety of items.