4/19/15

Bike-friendly Greenville, SC


            

About a week ago, a teenager in Traveler's Rest, SC (less than 10 miles from downtown Greenville) was arrested and is now facing multiple charges, including six counts of attempted murder, after he repeatedly targeted bicyclists as revenge for the deaths of two friends, even though cyclists had no role in the accident.  

When I heard this story from a friend (who is a pro cyclist living in the area), he told me that the two kids that died were speeding over 100 mph on Roe Ford Road and lost control of the car and crashed. Around the time of the crash, a cyclist passed the scene. Wrongfully, the teenager charged, which appears to be a neighbor friend of the two teenagers that passed away, is blaming all cyclists for being the cause of this accident.

Karel and I have had no issues with cars since moving to Greenville. Sure there is the very occasional honk of a bad mood driver but rarely does this happen. Most of the time, drivers will wait behind us and wait until a stop sign to pass. We many times have to signal them that it is ok to pass us as the are just way too nice.

After living in FL for 10 years and Jacksonville, FL for the past 6, we consider Greenville, SC an incredibly safe place to ride our bikes outside. While living in Jacksonville, Karel and I did not like riding there and considered it to be a very unsafe and scary place to ride bikes. The available riding options are limited and drivers are extremely distracted while driving.

There is so much freedom when riding a bike and with endless country roads and attentive drivers (not on their cell phones) who do not hate cyclists in Greenville, I always ride safe but never fear my life when riding my bike here in Greenville. 


Karel and I covered 78 miles in a little less than 4.5 hours yesterday. 5000 feet of climbing and complete joy on two wheels. Sure, there was a lot of suffering (for me trying to stay on Karel's wheel) but it was a beautiful day to ride and we were not the only cyclists out in nature, enjoying our awesome bike-friendly roads. 


Like every ride, we leave from our house in downtown Greenville and head toward the mountains. With so many bike friendly roads, we never have to drive our bikes anywhere to ride. Rarely do we have a plan as to where we will ride as there are so many options. I sometimes ride alone but when I am feeling strong, I will try to hang on Karel's wheel and join him for his ride. For our ride yesterday, Karel took me on some new routes and the views were breathtaking. After climbing the Greenville Watershed road into North Carolina, I couldn't help but stop to really soak-up the view. 


Our long ride put us back to our home around 2pm and although I was exhausted, I just can't get enough of riding in Greenville.....I can't wait until the next ride! 


Because we just can't get enough of cycling in general, Karel, Campy, my mom and I walked downtown (about a mile from where we live) to watch the 2015 USA Crit National Championship. We caught the end of the 90-minute pro women race (and a bad crash at the last turn before the finish) and watched the entire 2-hour men pro race. Back when Karel was racing, he was Cat 1/2 so this pro race is a few steps-up from what Karel was eligible to race when he was racing bikes. 


Karel still keeps up with cycling (probably more so than triathlon racing) and with over a decade of bike racing here in the states (previous racing in Europe), he still has a lot of bike-racing friends in which he could say hi to and cheer for during this race.


Campy was cheering very loudly and was full of energy for the race. 


It was a warmer day for us, yet overcast, so Campy had too cool off from all his cheering. 


The pro race started a little after 4pm (after call-ups) and it was so great to see so many people in downtown Greenville to watch the event. 


Going back to the arrest I mentioned above, it really shows that our city not only supports the sport of cycling (with all our biking events) but encourages people to ride bikes. The fact that an arrest was actually made to protect cyclists shows how much our city supports bike safety. In Jacksonville, a cyclist would get hit and die and the driver would have to only pay a fine.
We have so many routes, trails, rental bike kiosks and bike shops that it's hard to not want to ride a bike here in Greenville. 


It was fun to walk all over the course and on this less than 1-mile loop, there was a lot of difficulty with turns and a punchy climb and gradual descend....all in downtown Greenville! 



There was a lot of action in the race and it was super exciting to watch it all unfold for 2 hours. 



Congrats to Eric Marcotte with Team SmartStop for winning the National Crit Championship title - this win (and his new jersey) will go very well with his recent win at the National Road Race Championship! 



If you are ever in Greenville, SC, let us know. 
We would love to show you around (on two wheels) our beautiful, active, 
bike-friendly city.