Monday, September 28, 2009

HILTON HEAD EXPERIENCE: THE WRAP-UP!

I’m home and safely ensconced back in my mountains now. I’ve had a day to consider my time at HHI and to reflect upon my experience as a cyclist and tourist. I thought I’d share some final thoughts with those of you’ve, who have been kind enough to read my postings during this trip.

1) A+ to the planners and managers of Hilton Head Island for their efforts at integrating cycling into the normal highways and byways of HHI. You truly seemed to be able to get to anywhere on the island that was public via cycle. You could probably get to some private area as well but that turned out to be a “no-no.”

2) Cycling contributes to the economy of HHI. I was highly impressed by the number of rental cycles that we observed while on the island. There were families with children, couples of all ages, and lots of singles riding rental bikes. The business near our humble abode at Palmetto Dunes must have had 500 bikes ready for rent. They also had a few tandems and mountain bikes. Most of the rentals were single speed with coaster brakes, fat tires, and cruiser bars. On our first ride on the island, we met a couple, who appeared to be in their 70’s, riding a tandem and they were followed by a guy on a crank forward. I actually saw few road bikes on the island.

3) Traffic bore watching on the bike paths. There seemed to be as much two way traffic along the William Hilton Parkway bike paths as on the roads themselves. Throw in a smattering of pedestrians and joggers/runners and the pathways were busy! The bike paths on the western side of the island were not near as crowded.

4) It was difficult to find a stretch where one could “air it out.” The bike paths were frequently interrupted by access to businesses and roads and serious attention had to be paid to avoid accidents. The signage for both cyclists and autos was excellent at these intersections and there was lots of notice that cars had the right-of-way ALWAYS!

5) 2 out of the 3 security guards with whom we had contact had no sense of humor… I’ll leave it to you to decide if this was a good or bad thing.

6) The automobile owners on HHI are clearly used to cycles interacting with them. A number of times, intersecting traffic would stop and allow us to pass in front of them AND THEY WERE PLEASANT about it! Perhaps familiarity, in this context, breeds mutual respect. I tried to make eye contact with each driver and make sure I said “thank you.”

7) There is some GREAT eating on HHI… ‘nuff said on that topic!

8) I miss my mountains and climbs. I think I’ll have an even better appreciation for my next leg burning churn up the nearest mountain! I cleaned the chain tonight and rinsed down the frame to get rid of any residual salt. I’m ready to ride!

Until later,

- Zeke

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