South Carolina Bicycle Touring Guide

Link to Jim Schmid’s history of the making of the Bicycle Touring Guide (1982-89).



The South Carolina Bicycle Touring Guide was first printed in 1983 and updated and reprinted in 1988. The Guide was printed on waterproof paper and given out free. In 1978, Walter Ezell, then president of the Spartanburg Freewheelers, proposed the idea of mapping a bicycle route from the mountains to the sea. The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (PRT) received a $10,000 Highway Safety grant for the project. Walter took a job out of State  (editor of League of American Wheelmen magazine) before the project got started and PRT approached the local Columbia, SC bicycle club – Carolina Cyclers for assistance. Jim Schmid, a member and then president of the Club in 1983, 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. Connecting the routes to State Parks was an added bonus for overnight trips.

Sandra-and-Jim-Schmid-biking-at-Riverfront-Park-Columbia-SC-4-5-88The Guide proved to be very popular and in 1987 Jim volunteered to review 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 not 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 and get the Trails Program on the World Wide Web. This made it possible to add the Guide to the new website and make it once again available to the public and still for free. Jim left PRT in 2001 to work for the US Forest Service.  In 2014 Jim retired. Noticing that the guide was still on the internet he decided to add it to his website at This way he could add some history and additional pictures. The website was revamped as an interactive trails guide in June, 2017 and the SC Bicycle Tour Routes was added under the Resources tab. The interactive map also includes local bike routes as you zoom in.

Here’s the graphics used in the 1996 website that shows the six routes.

Map of six South Carolina bicycle routesNorthern Crescent

Coastal Route

Central Route

Savannah River Run

Carolina Connector

Walter Ezell Route

Scan of the 1983 South Carolina Bicycle Touring Guide



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Scans of the 1988 revised South Carolina Bicycle Touring Guide



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November 4 – Announcement of new Guide in State newspaper – Columbia, SC


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Narrative from the Guides (updated contact info):

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:

Bicycle clubs in South Carolina

More and more South Carolinian’s are rediscovering the fun of bicycle riding. This renewed interest has resulted in a phenomenal growth in bicycle club memberships around the State.

If you want to start bicycling again, meet new riding companions, discover the best places to ride, or find out about bicycle touring, there are people ready to help you. Don’t wait any longer to explore the possibilities open to you when you journey by bicycle.

From a handful of clubs in 1983 South Carolina has seen over the years the growth in not only cycling, but organized groups advocating for cycling. Best place to learn what’s going on is to check out the Palmetto Cycling Coalition website where you’ll find a list of clubs and bike shops as well as a wealth of bicycle information and resources.

Bicycle Camping In South Carolina

Jim-Schmid's-bicycle-and-gear-Riverfront-Park-Columbia-SC-4-5-88Touring 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 (33 State Parks with camping facilities)
1205 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 734-0156

United States Forest Service (Maps of Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests)
4931 Broad River Rd.
Columbia, SC 29212
(803) 561-4000

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
(803) 568-8892

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

Tourist Information 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, 47 state parks, points of interest, and South Carolina Information Centers are listed.

Safety Statistics
Experienced bicyclists have an accident rate only 20 percent that of casual bicyclists. Bicyclists can prevent most accidents by knowing how to control their bicycles and by riding according to the established rules of the road. Ride to be visible and predictable. Give other drivers time to notice you and react to you.
Common Accidents
50% are falls
20% are collisions with cars
18% are collisions with other bicyclists
8% are collisions with dogs
Other frequent causes are . . .
– Bicyclists turning out from the curb lane without looking back
– Motorists turning right or left into the path of the bicyclist
– Bicyclists or motorists failing to yield when crossing a stream of traffic

Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Accidents

Although only 20 percent of bicycle accidents involve motor vehicles, these are often the most serious. More than half of these occur at intersections. Of all car-bike collisions, more than 25 percent involve a bicyclist riding the wrong way, a very dangerous behavior.

Head injuries account for 75% of all deaths and permanent disabilities in bicycle accidents. Don’t leave home without your helmet!!!

In Case of an Accident
1. Call the police IMMEDIATELY
2. Do not move any vehicle until the police arrive
3. Do not attempt to move any injured persons
4. Obtain the following information from all parties:
– Name and address of all involved vehicle operators
– License plate and registration numbers
– Name and address of all involved insurance companies
– Name and address of all witnesses
5. Request a thorough police investigation
6. Ask for a copy of the accident report

South Carolina Traffic Laws Pertaining to Bicyclists
Bicyclists in South Carolina are subject to the traffic laws applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle and are required to obey the following traffic laws:
– Ride on the right hand side of the road with the flow of traffic. In all 50 states bicycles are considered vehicles and must follow the same rules as cars.
– Obey all traffic signs and signals.
– No bicycles are allowed on freeways

There are several special laws pertaining to bicyclists and their equipment:

– No hitching rides on moving vehicles
– Form a single line in heavy traffic
– At least one hand is on handlebars at all times
– Bicycles operated at night must be equipped with a lamp on front that produces a white beam of light visible at least 500 feet away. Also, the bike must have a red rear reflector
– Brakes adequate enough to slide the rear tire are required.

Equipment Checklist:
Drive Train:
Clean chain & gears.
Tightness of chain.
Derailleur adjustment.
Tightness of cables.
Condition of cables.
Pad alignment.
Clean rims.
Tire inflation.
Tire condition.
Wheel trueness.
Grease in hubs.
Wheel bearing adjustment.