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PEDAL HILTON HEAD GAINS NEW GROUND

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.

“There are five new routes, which allow us to attract participants from beach riders to competitive cyclists and in between,” said Russ Whiteford the chairman of the 2017 Pedal Hilton Head.

Even as the annual biking event expands in new directions, its core focus remains the same: raising money for the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island, which gives area youth a safe place to learn, grow and make lifelong friends. By giving the next generation the tools they need to live successful lives, the Boys & Girls Club boosts the entire community.

 “Our goal is to raise $60,000 to help support programs provided for our kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island,” Whiteford said.

The island is known both for its charitable spirit and for a communitywide commitment to biking. This event taps into both.

“Pedal Hilton Head is important for three reasons,” said retired Gen. Art Brown, last year’s grand marshal. “First, it will spread the word of our bicycle-friendly communities to cyclists all over the southeastern U.S. Second, it’s good for individual health and wellness. And third, it’s a major boost for our Boys & Girls Club. Our young people are the future of this country.”

In addition to fundraising, this year’s Pedal Hilton Head Island will honor Frank Babel, a dynamic local cycling advocate who has worked tirelessly to promote cycling on the island. Co-chairman of the island’s Bicycling Advisory Committee, a member of the Kickin’ Asphalt Bike Club and board member of the Palmetto Cycling Coalition, Babel was instrumental in building the island’s network of leisure paths. He also helped Hilton Head earn recognition as a Gold Level bike-friendly community from the League of American Cyclists.

Courses for Pedal Hilton Head Island will begin and end at Coligny Plaza. For more information or to register, go to www.pedalhiltonheadisland.org.