With Hilton Head’s recent promotion to a Gold Level Bicycle Community by The League of American Bicyclists (an indication of a community's efforts toward incorporating cycling education, awareness and advocacy into the community), the news is out: Hilton Head Island is a great place to spin your wheels.
That's no surprise to Kickin' Asphalt, a local cycling club. They host regular rides on Hilton Head and a number of other fun destinations in the Lowcountry and beyond. The club has a strong focus on biker education and safety, and is dedicated to making Hilton Head Island an even safer and more convenient place to bike.
As fall descends on the Lowcountry, with temperatures hovering between cool and warm, you won’t find a better time to ride. And as summer leaves, so do the tourists, meaning Hilton Head’s bike paths and roads are wide open and ready for hassle free rides. This “golden hour” for cycling isn’t lost on Kickin' Asphalt; they’ve got rides planned every Saturday and Sunday throughout the fall. The dates can be found on the club’s website .
As you scroll through the ride calendar you’ll notice that many of the rides have a letter in parentheses. This is the club’s rating system that is intended to help you choose the ride that is right for you. Rides will be rated either “A, B, or C.” A is for “Haulin": recommended for experienced bikers only and averages 18+ mph throughout the ride. B is for “Kickin”: recommended for average to above average riders with an average speed of 15 mph during the ride. C is for “Draggin”: perfect for those with average bike handling skills who are more comfortable with recreational speeds of 10 to 13 mph.
Every Sunday morning this fall you’ll find the Kickin’ Asphalt Club gathering at Publix on the Bluffton Parkway for the 9am ride. The Sunday ride is rated an A/B+ ride on Kickin’ Asphalt’s rating system and is 35 to 40 miles long. If you’ve been looking for a group of hardcore riders to join, these are your people. Saturdays are geared toward a broader base with many of the rides rated B/C and varying distances. The location of Saturday rides change each week ranging from Hilton Head to Hunting Island and beyond.
The club’s website also has great resources for cyclists. The “Classifieds” section is where members and non-members alike can post bikes and gear for sale. It is an incredible place to find quality rides and quality gear. Another treasure trove is the club’s archive of “Cue Sheets” and GPS maps. Cue sheets are step-by-step directions for great rides on Hilton Head and the surrounding area including Bluffton, Beaufort, and Savannah. You can choose your ride based on location and/or length and the cue sheet breaks down the mileage of each leg of the route and keeps track of your cumulative distance. The GPS maps show great courses to ride and include statistical information such as elevation over time, total time to complete, and precise mileage.
While you could just download a cue sheet or GPS map and do a solo ride, Kickin’ Asphalt is about fostering of community. Biking with others also helps you maintain a good pace and learn new techniques. Plus, there’s safety in numbers on the road.
If you do decide to take a ride with the Kickin’ Asphalt Club, here’s what you need to know: helmets are absolutely required and bright clothing is strongly suggested. Safety is of the utmost priority for the club. Also, make sure you choose your ride according to your true skill level. If you choose to ride an A ride there are certain expectations that come along with it. If you’re unsure start with B or C and ease your way into it.
As a non-member you are allowed to take one ride with the group before they ask you to join. They do this because as a group member you get biker’s insurance while on group rides, and to maintain coverage they can’t have non-members ride more than once. As a member you’ll be able to participate in weekly group rides, get discounts at many of the local bike shops, and be plugged into a vibrant and active cycling community. A single membership costs $20. The club has a ton of non-cycling members events as well, many of which involve raising awareness about bike safety and cyclists rights.
Joining the Kickin’ Asphalt Club is the absolute best way to get plugged into the cycling community on Hilton Head. Whether you want to meet up for a ride while on vacation or become a full member and ride with them weekly, all levels of cyclists are welcome.