By Meagan Moore
Even with all of the activities Charleston SC has to offer, you may find yourself looking for a new way to explore the #1 City in the U.S.A. Earlier this year, Charleston launched its first bike share program, Holy Spokes, with both locals and visitors in mind. The program, designed to promote “health, wellness, and sustainability,” provides an alternative transportation and sight-seeing option around the downtown peninsula. Picture parking as a non-issue, while getting some great exercise, and a different view of the Holy City, all on two wheels.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, a few friends and I thought it would be a perfect day to explore Charleston by bike. As we live off of the downtown peninsula, we met at one of the bike share locations in Hampton Park (there’s free parking for those of us who drove). The park itself was in full bloom with flowers, shady oak trees, and a magnificent water fountain at its center, full of ducks, turtles, and fish.
Prior to arriving at the park we downloaded the SoBi bike share app onto our smart phones, set up an account, and loaded it with enough money for a couple hours of ride time. Renting the bikes was easy and straight forward by following the instructions on the screen and logging in our account information. Once the bikes were unlocked, we set out to explore all downtown had to offer.
An easy ride from Hampton Park, we cruised over to the nearby Revelry Brewing Co for a cool drink on the rooftop bar. To our delight, the bikes were very comfortable, easy to ride, and came complete with gear changer, and a bell and basket on the handlebars. Conveniently located in front of the brewery was another bike dock where we were able to park the bikes and put them on ‘hold’ to ensure they would be waiting when we were ready to embark on our next destination.
Putting the bikes on hold made it convenient to unlock and ride down to Taco Boy for a little afternoon fiesta. Little known tip: Taco Boy offers a drink special for guests who arrive via bike. Although they did not have an official Holy Spokes docking station, we were able to use the lock provided with our bikes to secure it to the racks out front.
The ride back to the park was breezy, providing a nice cool down after a warm summer afternoon. We returned our bikes back to the docking station in Hampton Park where we had left our cars, but the best part about the program is that you can return the bikes to any of the 25 stations throughout the city.
When launching the bike share program in May, Charleston joined the 70+ cities around the nation to have a community bike share program. Now you can find 250 bikes around downtown Charleston in 25 different locations, perfect for exploring the Holy City in a different way. As always, be careful riding a bike downtown if you're not used to it, and always be aware of traffic rules.
Note: Charleston's bike share program is a great resource for visitors to the city. Not only is it a fun way to tour the peninsula, but it's also a convenient way to get around. Bike stations are spread throughout the city, there's never one too far from where you're at or where you're going. Start planning your next trip to Charleston today!