Ever since I got my new Fuso at the end of June I have been enthused to ride more and ride longer distances. The last two weekends I have ridden 75 miles and I felt I was ready to try 100 miles.
It was an ambition that I had for some time now; I put the word out with the local group I ride with, that I might try riding from Summerville to Folly Beach, but no one showed interest in joining me. So last Saturday I decided to set out on my own.
The plan was if I didn’t feel up to completing the distance I would turn back early. I did not choose the direct route for two reasons. Hwy. 61 (Ashley River Road.) the direct route from Summerville to West Ashley, is not a safe road to ride a bike.
A narrow two lane highway with a lot of dangerous curves through old growth forest. A pretty road to drive, but make shift memorials of crosses and plastic flowers nailed to large trees all along the route, mark where drivers ended their days. The second reason, the longer route made the distance 50 miles one way; 100 miles out and home.
For my local readers the route I took was: 61 Hwy. for about 4 miles actually going away from the coast. Left on Summers Drive, a brand new road built in the last year or so; wide with bike lanes on both sides, and light traffic.
Left again on Clubhouse Drive, to Hwy. 165 briefly then Countyline Road another quiet country road that goes all the way down to Savannah Hwy. (17.) which is not a pleasant road to ride on, being the main route from Charleston to Savannah.
Traffic is extremely heavy, but there is a shoulder with a rumble strip to help keep cars off, and I was only on it for a couple of miles, before turning off on Main Road and over the Stono River Bridge (Below.) to John’s Island.
Left on River Road, left again on Maybank Hwy. Over the Stono River again to James Island. Right on Riverland Drive which bypasses the dangerous part of Folly Road and links with it where the bike lanes start.
Over two more bridges and finally on to Folly Beach; also known as “The Edge of America.”
Folly Beach is a narrow strip of sand that is a barrier island.
It has a nice beach, a pier (Picture below.) and a light house.
It turned out that I picked a perfect day for the ride. I had left at 6:15 am. when it was barely light. It was cloudy, overcast, even a little foggy in places; temperatures were in the 70s F. (21C.) The sun didn’t show until around 10 pm. just as I reached Folly Beach.
I took a 40 minute break and had breakfast at a restaurant on Folly Beach Pier. Omelet, hash browns and toast; two large cups of coffee, and several glasses of water. I also filled my water bottles for the return trip.
I felt good on the return trip; I started to sag a little at about mile 85. I stopped, took a 10 minute break, and drank a lot of water. That did the trick, I felt fine after and actually finished the ride at a pretty good pace.
Temperatures were around 85F. (29C.) by the time I got home; not too hot for South Carolina at this time of year. I arrived home soon after 2:00 pm. 7 hours actual riding time.
A nice sense of achievement to have completed 100 mile bike ride; my first in the US actually. The last time I rode a 100 in one day was back in England in the mid and late 1970s; and that was with a group, not alone.