One of the more challenging rides in downtown Charleston is cycling a round trip of 10 miles from Cannon Park to Patriots Point, in Mount Pleasant . The main focus of the ride is the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, but the route will also sweep you past old historic homes and around White Point Gardens, also known as The Battery. How you want to map your route out, however, is your prerogative and whatever way you choose will leave you satisfied.
What Makes it Great
This ride is for the exercise. Not that you can’t do this on a beach cruiser, but a bike with gears is recommended, mostly for the bridge portion of the route. Starting out at Cannon Park, I would head down Rutledge Avenue because the traffic is few and far between. From here, hang a left on Murray Blvd (which turns into East Bay Street) and continue on East Bay until you see the entrance for the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, about 2 miles up. This is where you will start to feel it in the glutes. The downtown side of the bridge is a long slow incline that will make you feel like it never ends. But once you reach the top, it’s rewarding and the view is spectacular. The Mt. Pleasant side of the bridge is much shorter and much steeper, so make sure you are taking all the precautions to not go too fast, and watch out for other pedestrians. Once on the other side, follow the sidewalk until you take a right at Harry M. Hallman Jr. Boulevard. This will lead you into the heart of Patriots Point. From here, you can either explore the area or head on back to downtown Charleston.
Who’s Going to Love It
Anyone can do this ride, just make sure you come prepared. Helmets are strongly recommended. You will probably want to bring some water with you, and I would double the amount in the summer months. This ride is full sun, so make sure you have protective eyewear, headwear, and clothing to get you covered. Road bikes are probably best for this route, as they seem to be able to handle incline better than other models. If you’re feeling frisky, don’t turn into Patriots Point and head further down Coleman Blvd. and into the town of Mt. Pleasant. There are several places just .5 miles ahead to stop and have a beer or food. And if you’re feeling just downright crazy, continue all the way on the side walk through Mt. Pleasant and right on to the beach at Sullivan’s Island.
Parking, Directions and Fees
Parking is probably easiest at any of the side streets surrounding Cannon Park. A word to the wise, parking is not checked after 6 pm, but before that it’s up in the air if the meter police will be out and about. Free parking is at The Battery, and there are several parking garages (the one on Rutledge Avenue across from the Medical University is closest) throughout the city. There are no fees, just fun for the taking. Also, a tip: Make sure you are paying attention to one ways. Charleston is full of them and they can sneak up on you sometimes.