PEDAL HILTON HEAD CONTINUES ITS MISSION OF HELPING AREA KIDS, ONE RIDE AT A TIME
Since it began in earnest 13 years ago, Pedal Hilton Head has grown from a single charitable cycling race to an entire weekend of celebration. Each year has seen an expansion in scope: last year saw the addition of a course that took riders across the bridge to Bluffton and new parties that let visitors experience Hilton Head Island at its finest.
This year is also unique. Along with the usual mix of challenging and family-friendly rides, a series of new courses will take riders somewhere they’ve never been: inside the gates of some of the island’s bike-friendly communities.
“They key to our success, and the way we’ve been able to consistently grow this event each year, is that we listen to our participants,” said event chairman Russ Whiteford. “And overwhelmingly, they were telling us that they wanted to see what it’s like to live on Hilton Head Island — to see inside the gates and get a feel for our neighborhoods.”
That request after last year’s popular route that took participants through the lush resort setting of Palmetto Dunes. Three routes added this year will wind through more of the island’s most celebrated communities. Two of them — a 40-mile ride and a 62-mile trip — will take riders through gorgeous Spanish Wells, while the third, a 20-mile route, will take bikers through the historic sites and winding pathways of Port Royal Plantation.
The new routes add to the buzz about an event whose profile has skyrocketed among the national cycling community. But the most vital mission of Pedal Hilton Head isn’t the visitors it draws from near and far—it’s helping area children.
“Supporting the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island has been paramount in the development of Pedal Hilton Head,” Whiteford said. “The work they do in our community, the children whose lives they change, is what this is all about.”
More than 280 area children and teens depend on the after-school, summer and enrichment programs run by the Hilton Head Boys & Girls Club, and all net proceeds from Pedal Hilton Head go directly to the club’s programs. Thanks to proceeds from the event, the club was able to undertake much-needed improvements including fresh paint, gym renovations and technological enhancements last year. This year, proceeds will help support programs like Teens in the Kitchen, Money Matters and Kids Who Code, as well as provide scholarships for children to attend the club’s summer program.
This year’s Pedal Hilton Head event runs from Nov. 15-17, with the main ride on Nov. 17. For more information and to register, go to www.pedalhhi.org.