The South Carolina Bicycle Touring Guide was first produced in 1983 and updated and reprinted in 1988. The Guide was printed on waterproof paper and given out free. In 1980, Walter Ezell, then president of the Spartanburg Freewheelers, proposed the idea of mapping a bicycle route from the mountains to the sea. He obtained a $10,000 Highway Safety grant to be administered by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (PRT) for the project. However, Walter took a job out of State before the project got started and PRT approached the local Columbia Bicycle Club, Carolina Cyclers for assistance. Jim Schmid, then president of the Carolina Cyclers, volunteered a year of his time to research five additional routes and produce the 1983 Bicycle Touring Guide. The thinking was that
a State map with only one route would have a very small audience. The Guide proved to be very popular and in 1987 Jim volunteered to research the routes and update the guide for another printing in 1988. PRT handed out the last Guide in 1992 and the project files were turned over to the new Bicycle Pedestrian Program in the newly renamed South Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT). The Guide was never reprinted, but both PRT and DOT continued to receive many requests for bicycling information. In 1995 PRT hired Jim Schmid to be the State’s first Trails Coordinator. One of his first projects was to buy the name www.SCTrails.net and get the Trails Program on the World Wide Web. This made it possible to update the Guide and make it once again available to the public and for free. Jim left PRT in 2001 to work for the US Forest Service. The Trails website was never updated, but all the information he put out there was still available to the public. In 2014 Jim retired. Noticing that the guide had never been updated he took it on to update it again and put it on www.jimstrailresources.wordpress.com website.
The Bicycle Touring Guide is offered to bicyclists planning a tour in or through the state of South Carolina and should be viewed as a general planning tool to be used in conjunction with the official South Carolina State Highway map, county maps, and other planning sources to help you meet your individual bicycle touring needs.
South Carolina is a great state for bicycle touring with its winding back roads, world famous gardens, magnificent homes and historic battlefields, mountain peaks and clear lakes providing a constantly changing backdrop of beauty, quaintness, and charm. With the help of this guide, bicyclists can enjoy the State’s aesthetic qualities while experiencing the pleasure of bicycle touring.
NOTE: It is important to stress that South Carolina’s roads were not designed for bicycle touring and they are not currently maintained for this activity. The inclusion of any route in this guide does not certify it as a “safe bicycling route.”
The objective of this guide is to point out routes which have been found to be scenic and enjoyable to ride. Three (3) east/west and three (3) north/south routes through the state are offered for bicyclists wishing to traverse the state on an extended tour.
NOTE: The mileages shown are based on county map mileage, so they should only be used as a reference. You can access county maps at the following address: www.scdot.org/getting/gisMaps.aspx
Savannah River Run
Walter Ezell Route
Bicycle Camping In South Carolina
Touring by bicycle has become more and more popular as a way to see and experience South Carolina. Many bicycle tourists have come to prefer the added flexibility afforded by camping. Whether your destination for the night is a state park, a private campground, or an impromptu road side location, self-contained bicycle travel is the way to go. But in order to fully enjoy the experience you must be well-prepared. For information on campsites and nature areas contact the following:
South Carolina State Parks (47 State Parks)
1205 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29201
United States Forest Service (Maps of Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests)
4931 Broad River Rd.
Columbia, SC 29212
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (Heritage Trust Preservation & Wildlife Management)
Rembert C. Dennis Bldg
1000 Assembly Street
Columbia, SC 29201
North and South Carolina Campground Owner’s Association (Free guide to commercial campgrounds)
PO Box 248
Pelion, SC 29123
Local Bicycle Shops
Remember that careful preparation will reduce the chances of any mechanical problems while bicycle touring in South Carolina. However, should you run into problems, know that with over 50 shops in the state, you are never far from help. The Palmetto Cycling Coalition maintains a list of Bike Shops at www.pccs.net/bike-clubs-shops.
www.discoversouthcarolina.com the official South Carolina Tourism website provides a storehouse of information on what the bicyclist can see and do in the Palmetto State. National monuments, military installations, 48 state parks, points of interest, and South Carolina Information Centers are listed.