Up until now, I have been biking on the happy safe place known as the greenway. While I am forever grateful for its existence, it does have one major flaw; it is only in West Ashley (W.A.). Since I have embraced the fact that the college is not in fact located in W.A. (hence the name College of CHARLESTON), I will have to leave the greenway and venture onto the roads if I ever want to attend classes. Luckily, I have a friend that has plenty of experience biking from W.A. to downtown and he was willing to show me the ropes today. So here is Ryan with his sweet road bike-I am definitely jealous. We took off this morning around 10a.m. to avoid commuter traffic and headed down Savannah Hwy. I immediately regretted not wearing a shirt because every third car honked at us and if we were lucky, someone would hang out of passenger seat yelling. What a turn-on! I mean, it is all I can do not to throw myself in front of their car in hopes they will sweep me off my feet. Umm. NO. I was glad, however, that I was sporting my helmet. With cars whipping by at 60mph, it is the least I can be wearing to protect myself. Anyways...It is important to understand that while you were raised with the idea that it is illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk- it is just not always practical. In many parts of Charleston, the sidewalk=bike lane. This is especially true for out of shape people like me that can barely get up to 10 miles per hour. It is my goal to eventually do all of my riding on the road, the way it should be done, but until then I am only riding in the road downtown. For those of you that also live in West Ashley and are wondering how the hell I am crossing either one of the bridges, here is a play by play. Just get on HWY 61, get on the left side of the sidewalk, and pray to god you don't hit any rocks when you are crossing over the bridge (you will be riding against traffic!). Since the city was generous enough to make the path all of 2 feet wide, you will have to dismount if someone is coming the other direction. If you are feeling saucey and choose to ride over either of the bridges on the road, then be careful crossing the grates- it could be one of the creepiest feelings possible. Mom, if you are reading this, please don't get all freaked out. I am adding a clip of us riding over the bridge, to give you all a feel for it, and yes I was biking while doing it. After you cross over, it's up to you which way you go into downtown.
It's funny, because you would never know unless you are on a bike, but there is an unspoken kinship among bikers. We passed people of all ages and races on a variety of bikes and everyone of them nodded, said hello, or started a conversation. When is the last time you were in your car at a stop light and the person next to you asked you how your day was going? I'm thinking never. Not to mention the fact that you never hear about biker road rage... if anything you are making friends. Plus, you also end up really seeing the city you live in. Not just letting the streets fly by through your window, but being able to hear, see, and smell every block (which can be a good or bad thing depending on the part of town). As for the ride back, well I did that all by myself, just like a big kid (just look at that happy face below)! I road over 7 miles, it really didn't take long at all, and the only fuel I burned was my breakfast. I checked out some of the bus stops on my line when I was biking-so tomorrow I will be tackling that adventure!