off-road-trails

Our Top 5 Favorite Off-Road Trails

Off-Road Trails in South Carolina

Going into week 2 of sheltering in place combined with the lack of exercise, interaction, and vitamin D has me going stir crazy. Work is harder from home, and the only thing (and place) I can seem to think about is hitting the open trail. Exercise has been the only respite for me, but I will say, I’ve used this time inside to start looking ahead. With state parks being closed, we’ve come up with a list of our top 5 favorite off-road trails…for later! Put some headphones in, start planning, and hopefully get your mind off the close quarters we are all adjusting to.

  1. Wannamaker North Trail

At 13 miles long with a $1 entrance fee, the Wannamaker North Trail features an all-natural terrain suitable for cyclists of all skill levels, though it does feature tight curves and some elevation changes. Open to pedestrians, hikers and cyclists alike, this trail is guaranteed to boost serotonin levels with its lust green forestry and help you adjust to the off-road lifestyle of BASC.

  1. Marrington Plantation Trail

At 17 miles long, the Marrington is primarily composed of dirt, natural and boardwalk surfaces and can be enjoyed by cyclists of all skill levels. Located in a scenic 1600-acre reserve, the trail is only a 14-minute drive from the I-26 Goose Creek Exit. As you cycle through beautiful pines and palmettos it is easy to forget that you are right next door to the Joint Naval Station. Since the trail is free and so close to Charleston, this is our favorite trail for a close to home jaunt.

  1. Biggin Creek

This 4.6-mile loop located outside of Monks Corner features terrain uncharacteristic of the Lowcountry. With the trail following a winding creek bed and noticeable changes in elevation, this trail is more suitable for intermediate riders, though can be enjoyed by all.

  1. Swamp Fox Passage

The longest section of the Palmetto Trail, the Swamp Fox Passage, stretches over a distance of 47.2 miles. With no admission fee, this dirt and grass trail will take cyclists through varying terrains such as swamps and woodlands. Open to hikers and equestrienne traffic alike, this trail is an easily achievable feat despite the long distance.

  1. Cheraw Mountain Bike Trail

Distancing at 9.6 miles, the Cheraw Mountain Trail is free to all and features trails of natural materials though predominantly of dirt and sand that can make for a speedy ride. Make your way through vast pine forests with family and friends alike, as this trail is suitable for all skill levels.

Although our top 5 favorite off-road trails are inaccessible right now, they are a great tool to help you train and adjust to the varying terrains you encounter during Bicycle Across South Carolina. As always, please ride safe and check with your local state parks and trails to stay up to date on closures throughout the next few weeks.

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Still have questions? Email me here: BASC@PostandCourier.com.

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What Type of Bike is Right for BASC?

So a lot of you have been wondering, what type of bike is right for this ride? Long time rider and self-proclaimed Palmetto Trail expert, Mat Brady, is here to help!

We encourage riders to use whatever bike they’re comfortable with based on their past experiences. There are a few different types of terrain on the trail; gravel, trail, and a mixture of both. Long story short, we’d recommend using a hybrid or gravel bike.

Day 1

The 3-Day ride kicks off in Poinsett State Park in Wedgefield, S.C and weaves through the High Hills of the Santee Passage. This portion of the ride is a little more challenging and is designed for experienced riders only. The terrain can be a bit tough and there are some steeper inclines and fast descents that can be difficult. A hybrid or gravel bike would work well on this route although a mountain bike would be ideal.

Day 2 and Day 3

The 2-Day ride winds through the crops and farmlands of rural South Carolina before emerging onto the shoreline of Lake Moultrie.

“I’ve been leading a (semi) monthly ride around Lake Moultrie for a few years now using a lot of the same bits of the Moultrie Passage you’re using Day 2 and a drop bar cyclocross/gravel bike is definitely king of the lake.” – Mat Brady

Hybrids and/or gravel bikes are perfect for the 100+ plus miles riders will experience on Day 2 and Day 3.

The final day of riding goes through the Francis Marion Forest. Long-leaf pines guide riders over bridges and along old logging roads.

“Tires between 33mm and 50mm in width would be ideal but the position you take on a flat bar hybrid (or mountain bike) is less aerodynamic and can be a real burden with the winds that tend to blow off the lake.” – Mat Brady

As we mentioned earlier, it is totally up to you which bike you’d like to use. Go with what you’re comfortable with! 3-day riders are welcome to use different bikes over the course of the 3 days if they’d like.

Kids

Kids are welcome on Day 2 and Day 3 of the ride! Day 1 is very challenging and we wouldn’t recommend for any rider who isn’t able to handle the mileage and the incline. If your child would like to participate, the only thing we ask is that they can ride a bike with at least 20” wheels. Bicycle trailers are not permitted.

If you have questions about whether your child is equipped for this ride, email me here: BASC@PostandCourier.com.

Join Bicycle Across South Carolina

As the event continues to evolve and come to life over the next few months, we want to hear what you’d like to see at BASC. Post-ride yoga? Football on a big screen? Email me here and we’ll see what we can do!

Early Bird Pricing is available until August 1st ($270 for the 2-day ride and $370 for the 3-day ride).

To stay up to date on all things BASC, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media!

Bicycle Wheel

Introducing Bicycle Across South Carolina!

Our Inspiration

The idea of Bicycle Across South Carolina first came to us after learning about the incredible impact The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, more commonly known as RAGBRAI, had on the state of Iowa. This ride started off small and grew to become the longest, largest and oldest recreational bicycle touring event in the world. The event highlights local communities and unique landscapes and has become a trademark for the state of Iowa.
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