Pedal Hard

Two of Hilton Head Island’s favorite traditions — community festivals and cycling — come together Nov. 16-18 for the 2018 edition of Pedal Hilton Head Island.

The annual event, presented by SwingFit, is billed as “a celebration of Hilton Head Island's music, culture and two-wheeled lifestyle” and will feature multiple cycling events and a two-night benefit concert to support the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island.


It was a stupid crash, Chris Butler recalls, a fluke pileup during the penultimate lap of the Clásica de Almería race Feb. 12 in southeastern Spain.

From that stupid crash came months of stupid luck.

Ready to hit the open road astride a bike to get in shape or to participate in an upcoming race or ride? The Lowcountry is a great place to start cycling, thanks to its nearly perfect weather and bike path-friendly terrain. The Town of Hilton Head Island has been recognized as one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in the U.S., and it offers something for beginning cyclists and hard-core athletes alike.

Many cyclists prefer to bike alone, while others enjoy the camaraderie of a regular group ride. Either way, finding a few friends to help get your biking routine in gear can really help, area enthusiasts say. 


Excitement is building for Pedal Hilton Head Island. Cyclists from the Lowcountry and all over the Southeast will ride onto the island Sept. 17 to tackle a series of courses ranging from family fun rides on the beach to 62-mile courses that span the island’s bridges and go all the way to the flyovers. It’s the perfect event for riders of all ages and skill levels, organizers said.

bikepats4Never Stop Peddling the Topic

There is a group that never wants Hilton Head Island to forget about the importance of bicycling to the local economy.

The HHI Bicycling Advocacy Committee, formed after the island earned a silver award in 2011 as a Bike-Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists, tirelessly creates and promotes bike-related events and efforts in order to weave bicycling into the fabric of life on Hilton Head.

The 25 volunteers’ work ranges from building and distributing mobile bike racks at community events in hopes more people will arrive on two wheels, to encouraging the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce’s second annual Bike & Dine Week that paired dining deals with biking.

The Town of HHI spends $175,000 per year maintaining bike trails and bike lanes. Since 2010, it’s spent $1 million on bike trails, including construction and rights of way.



Whether you’re bicycling for family time, exercise or simply to take in the local ?scenery, Hilton Head Island offers no shortage of routes, paths and options.

The island boasts more than 50 miles of public bicycle paths, and the private communities contain many more (Sea Pines alone has 15 for your pedaling needs). The beach is rarely more than a few miles away, and at low tide offers so much space that you can feel like the place is yours alone. For these reasons and countless more (amenable weather, abundant sunshine) you can see why Hilton Head Island has carved out a reputation as an unofficial bikers’ mecca.

But these days, it’s a little more official.

Frank BabelImmediately after relocating to Hilton Head Island, Frank Babel began looking for a cause.

“(Professionally), I traveled all the time, so it was hard to do community service,” said Babel. “When I retired here, I wanted to make a difference.” It didn’t take long to find that calling. An avid bicyclist, Babel has become one of the island’s foremost advocates for bicycling safety and awareness. He founded an advocacy group with local bike shop owners, has been elected to a statewide cycling coalition and works with numerous local government agencies on bikerelated projects. But his vision continues to grow.