After a briefing about the route from Wilmington, N.C., to Savannah, I’m rethinking that one-star rating I just gave the Trenton-to-Philadelphia stretch. Should I raise it to two? At least busy roads there had shoulders or bike lanes. Not so along similar parts of this year’s Week-A-Year route, it appears. That may make it more deserving of the bottom rating.
No shoulders on major roads surprises me. I get no snow means not needing a place to push it to, but surely cars break down there too and need to be moved to the side of the road. We’ll be cycling in the “Low Country,” so plenty of water and marshes means few road options for us. Not many options for the route. We clearly will be riding in groups for extra visibility and taking shuttles as needed. We’ve had bad roads before. At least it will be flat. And yes, there are some trails. Just not enough. (Note to my mother: I promise I’ll be safe.)
The good news is this isn’t the final word. Much of the route is considered interim as the East Coast Greenway works to create an off-road route safe for all, and hopefully South Carolina in particular will make big improvements. For the record, South Carolina ranks 44th in bike friendliness, according to the League of American Bicyclists. Note that Adventure Cycling’s route along the Atlantic Coast goes much further inland at this point, bypassing Charleston (though there is a spur route) and Savannah.
But what tourist wants to miss those cities? Exactly.
The East Coast Greenway is all about connecting cities. As I’ve said many times, that is much tougher than sticking to rural America. It’s also where more people live and need choice in how they get around. The work done by this group combined with local and state advocates is vital!
If you want to support the East Coast Greenway, here’s the link to my fundraising page — and thank you for your support.