March 2011

Bicycling: Bike Stores - PEDAL POWER - When It Comes To Biking Needs, You Don't Have To Go Far

Author: Peter Zink

In the last five years, biking has blossomed on Hilton Head Island. From tree-lined leisure paths to handy bike kiosks, it’s never been easier to get involved. Thanks to people like Frank Babel and the Squeaky Wheels and a city listening to bikers’ concerns, Hilton Head is pedaling ever faster towards “Bicycle Friendly Community” status. Whether you want to jump in or stay involved, these bike stores can meet your needs:

Palmetto Dunes Outfitters
Tucked off William Hilton Parkway near a quiet lagoon in Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, it’s hard to miss the psychedelic kayaks and fire engine red bicycles lined up outside. As the island’s largest bike retailer, the store boasts over 3,000 bikes available for rent and sale. “The Beach Bomber, though, is our signature bike,” said owner Frank Gaston. It’s not hard to see why. The “Beach Bomber” is a custom bike designed for maximum enjoyment on the island’s white sand beaches. Painted in the store’s signature red, the Beach Bomber boasts wider tires, comfortable seating and a rugged weather-resistant aluminum frame, perfect for an easy sunrise ride on the beach. “We are so fortunate to have great beach riding here, said manager Alan Dew. “When the tides recede, you’re left with a hard sand surface to ride on that feels similar to asphalt.” And don’t think your family or a partner can’t get involved as well. Palmetto Dunes features a wide variety of customizable options. From Kiddie Karts that tow children as you ride to tandem bikes for couples, the options are truly limitless.

For more information, call (843) 745-2449 or visit their location at 80 Queens Folly Road. Website: palmettodunes.com/hilton-head-bike-rentals.php.

The Bike Doctor
True to its name, the Bike Doctor started in a van that resembled an ambulance. “We’d go everywhere people needed bikes serviced,” said owner James Bradford. “It worked great until the summer; then things got pretty toasty. Needless to say, we put air conditioning in our stores.” The Bike Doctor still offers free complimentary bike pick up throughout the island for servicing in their store, but they’ve greatly expanded since their roadside emergency days. As the only store on Hilton Head that stocks Specialized brand bicycles, The Bike Doctor offers sales and rentals that cater to the racer and casual biker alike. Starting March 15, they offer free group rides every Tuesday and Thursday from their New Orleans Road location. The rides are designed for multiple ability groups and offer a great opportunity to check out the Hilton Head biking scene. “The leisure paths in this town are some of the best I’ve ever seen,” Bradford said. “You can go 5-20 miles easy and never see the same scenery twice.”

For more information, call (843) 681-7532 or visit their locations at 31 New Orleans Rd. Suite B or 55 Matthews Drive, Suite 160. Website: bikedoctorhhi.com.

Go Tri Sports
Scanning the ceiling of this triathlon-themed bike shop, a discerning eye can’t help noting the fine Cervelo racing bikes suspended in the air. “They’re definitely a brand that people consider the Lamborghini of performance bicycles,” manager and technician Philip Balvocius said. Under the new ownership of avid triathlete and biker John Dogger, Go Tri Sports caters to anyone looking to get every ounce of performance from a bike—whether a serious triathlete or casual island cruiser. “We have racers who travel from as far as Florida and Columbia, South Carolina to get their bikes serviced or fitted here,” Dogger said. “Philip does an incredible job, and we definitely have a reputation in the biking community.” Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or just getting started, anyone can benefit from the bike fitting services. “We hook the bike up to a video feed machine that gives feedback as the rider pedals. It’s a great way to analyze your style, and learn if you have a good fit or not,” Dogger explained. When they finish selecting all your bike gear, don’t be afraid to grab a pair of running shoes or a wetsuit as well.

For more information, call (843) 842-4786 or visit their new location at 24A Palmetto Bay Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC. Website: gotrisports.com.

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Rules For The Road

• Please obey all traffic signals and pathway markings. Stop signs must be obeyed for safety. Bicycles are vehicles and must obey SC traffic laws.
 
• Travel the pathways at speeds that allow for the safety of pedestrians and other users.

• Never ride within the roadway against traffic. State law requires bicycles to drive like all other vehicles.

• For your own safety, please consider riding bicycles on a pathway instead of the roadway when one is available.

• Please ride single file and keep a safe distance from other bicyclists.

• Watch out for motorists! In South Carolina, motorists must yield to pedestrians and bicyclists within marked crossings, but they may not see you.

• Please yield to pedestrians. When resting or stopped, please move off the pathway.

• Most sections of the pathways are not illuminated. If you must bike at night, please wear light colored clothing or carry a flashlight. Bicycles must have a red rear reflector and a headlight when biking at night.

• When approaching slower pathway users from behind, please sound your warning device, or call out “Passing on your left.” Always pass on the left.

• Bicyclists should always wear a helmet, especially children 12 and under.

• Make eye contact and use hand signals. Assume other bicyclists and motorists don’t see you. Hand signals tell motorists and other path users what you intend to do and will ensure everyone’s safe enjoyment of the pathways. An audible signal such as a bell or voice commands like “Passing on Left” are useful to let other pathway users know of your approach and/or intentions.

• Be courteous, alert, and predictable.

• Please lock your bicycle when not in use! Bicycle thefts are preventable.

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