GREETINGS FROM THE LOW COUNTRY!

The Navigator, Wood-Man, Sherry Shazam , and I are making what has become our annual Rest, Ride, and Recharge (RR&R) trip to Hilton Head Island in the Low Country of South Carolina. A League of American Bicyclists 2011 Silver award winner, HHI provides lots of opportunities to get out and about on two wheels.

Spencer Beach approach

(Approaching Spencer Beach, a private community on HHI)

The Wood-Man and I had a nice 16 mile cruise yesterday to shake out the legs and make room for some grilled steaks purchased at the Fresh Market here on the island. I suppose I should have made that Rest, Ride, Recharge, and Eat (RRR&E).

The weather forecast is looking quite promising for our week so I’m hopeful to get my riding habit going again. I’ve made some questionable choices and prioritizations since my attempt at 30 in 30 in April. Riding has been way, way low on the list of things to do and I need to get back to some time in the saddle. I just had some blood work done for part of my annual check-up and the doctor’s office has already called and suggested I come visit face-to-face. Seems my blood sugar is slightly elevated, which is of absolutely no surprise to me. You really can’t have 3 or 4 sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits at Bojangles each week and pair that with zero exercise and expect to achieve that virile middle-age body that keeps eluding me. (Yes, please, I would really like an XL CLUB CUT jersey…) In all honesty, that should have been sausage, egg, and cheese COMBO. I’m sure the Bo-Rounds were really good for me!

I posted my most recent cycling column to our local paper, The Mountaineer, from the comforts of our deck here on HHI while having my morning cups of coffee. For those so interested, here is the text of that column:

Following the successful running of the 4th Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway, I am currently on gorgeous Hilton Head Island hoping to jump start my own riding habit again. Over the past several months, for a variety of reasons, I’ve made choices that didn’t include exercise and riding. So, I’m hoping this respite from my daily scheduled pleasures will help me get back in the habit of riding again.

But first, just a word about the wrap-up to the Breakaway: Once again, appreciation for the 200+ volunteers was a prime positive remark from the participants. The Breakaway covers a large swath of Haywood County geography and it takes many, many people to make it a success. Kudos were frequent for the friendliness and support provided by these volunteers. A surprise commendation went out to the tomato sandwiches served up at the end of the ride. The Haywood County tomatoes were a big hit!

Other participants commented on the friendliness of the motorists with whom they shared the road. With only one or two exceptions, Haywood motorists provided plenty of room when passing and passed out numerous smiles and waves. Unfortunately, there is seemingly always ”one or two bad apples in the barrel” and we received reports of two young adult males harassing riders along NC 209. Thanks to Sheriff Greg Christopher and the response of the deputies as they immediately dispatched two cruisers to try and apprehend the perpetrators. There is absolutely NOTHING safe about darting your vehicle at cyclists or pedestrians.

Some helpful criticisms were also received and will be attended to as we begin planning for the 5th BRB. (Note to one rider: It is unlikely we can talk NC DOT into leveling Rush Fork…)

Back to Hilton Head… The Island is a 2011 League of American Bicyclists Silver award winner in the Bicycle Friendly Community category. As you might imagine, bicycles are everywhere with numerous cycling related businesses contributing to the local economy. The locale of our current stay has 300+ bikes for rent. You can order up a bike for your vacation and it will be delivered to your rental unit. Bike racks are ubiquitous so you never have to look very far to find a place to safely leave your bike while eating and shopping.

The protected bike paths allow cyclists to pretty much go everywhere on two wheels. As we rode yesterday, we passed many local residents riding to and from work. A pedestrian/bike wooden bridge allows access UNDER William Hilton Parkway to shopping centers. The paths are more appropriate for commuting and recreational riding than they are for fitness riding because of the many start and stops that you encounter along the paths. You can seemingly access almost all of the business sections via two wheels. Well, except Sea Pines but that’s a story for another time…

For more information, visit http://gr8smokieszeke.blogspot.com and www.bicyclehaywoodnc.org . You may also link to Zeke’s Great Smoky Mountain 2 Wheeled Adventures under Opinion on the Mountaineer’s website.

 

Best wishes to my friend Aaron West of Steepclimbs.com on his ongoing rehab from a year long hip injury!

I think I hear an order of Shrimp ‘N Grits calling my name, which tells me it is time to remove fingers from keyboard and head out for some breakfast. Surely, that is healthier than sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits…

Until later,

-Zeke