Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bicycles & A Brief Visit to Charleston

A while back we took a trip along the South Carolina coast. The vacation included a (very!) short visit to Charleston and a longer stay outside of Beaufort near Hunting Island. Vacation time means a chance to get out, explore new places and see new sights. And, of course, take note of the way that folks in other places are using bicycles in their every day lives.
Chik-fil-A's savy advertising in the streets of Charleston.
Charleston is an officially recognized Bicycle Friendly Community. Though at the bronze level, the city has laid a foundation for bicycle-friendly amenities, there are still some improvements to make. A debate over the Ravenel Bridge being opened, then closed, then reopened to bicycles was a hotly contested issue in the low-country. In a city that's older than our nation, sometimes changes takes a while. However, it appears, though, that bicycles have become part of the city landscape.  

Biking in the Palmetto State
In Charleston we got out of the car and ventured out to see some common sites like the Central Market, Waterfront Park and famous churches and buildings. Along the way, I noted a few bicycle happenings. When we were trying to find a place to park, I noticed that bikes were also encouraged to park in the same area.
Waterfront Park, Charleston

Shared parking lot for cars & bicyles in Charleston
Charleston has narrow streets. In an area where there's a lot of people moving by foot, it was interesting to me to see that those on two wheels were also encouraged to park in a lot, getting off of two wheels and on to two feet. Tucking the bike racks in the parking lot seemed like an intuitive idea for a place where space is at a premium.

As we strolled along the city streets, nearing Waterfront Park, a hotel had a flight of inviting bicycles outside its front door. An alternative to driving and faster than walking, it seemed to fit the laid-back, slower pace of Charleston. Not to mention they looked cool and comfortable. No need for spandex here!

Curb-side service in Charleston
Seeing people on bikes was fairly common - old, young, black, white, men, women, young adults. Bike riding appeared to be a real alternative way of moving around the historic city for tourists and locals. It was nice to see a city that has been around for hundreds of years has been adapting to movement on two wheels.

Spending an afternoon in Charleston, I hope to be back for an extended stay in the near future. Heading off down the coast to Beaufort under the setting sun, we were excited for what other things we'd find on our vacation. Stay tuned to a future post about Bicycles & A Visit to Beaufort.

Riding off into the sunset

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