An inconspicuous Hulk?
The most enjoyable vacation my wife and I took together before we had children was to Key West, Fla., where we tooled around on old bicycles that were provided by the bed-and-breakfast we stayed in – in fact, I don’t recall using our car except to go to a boating excursion – and when it was time to leave the island.
I remembered thinking when I got back to my Surfside Beach home that I might try cycling the roughly two-mile trek to the beach, but then I thought about trying to cross U.S. 17 Business.
Still, wouldn’t it be nice if the Grand Strand wasn’t so spread out and so heavily dominated by automobile traffic, and wouldn’t it be nice if you could safely and easily bike to work, to the store, to school, to grab a bite to eat, or the beach?
Yes, I know there have been steps in making the Myrtle Beach area more bicycle-friendly, but this ain’t no Key West.
But there is another hope for two-wheel non-motorized cyclists of another variety – and boosters of sports tourism – yet an apparent mini-boom could hang in the balance.
A few weeks ago as I chatted with my brother who is coming to town soon, he asked me about cycling options at the beach, and off the top of my head, I told him about some paved trails in the Murrells Inlet area I have craned my head at while I drive by in my car, but have never explored on two wheels, and I told him there were some more trails that I had heard about but wasn’t sure and completely aware of.
I’d been seeing some Facebook acquaintances posting pictures and accounts of riding local trails – and they looked like mountain biking trails. I actually owned a mountain bike back in the early ‘90s although I didn’t do much trail riding – I have done a little bit.
With a mission to prove to my brother that I know absolutely everything about the Myrtle Beach area (***humor***), I began to pay more attention to any info I came across pertaining to cycling and began to think it’s something that Surge should take a look at if the frequency of such info began to increase, and with the promise of improved outdoor weather it seemed topical.
I reached out via Facebook to Andre Pope of local tech company Cubic Phase Inc., who frequently posts about his rides, to ask him if any local cycling events were coming up – fishing for a news hook – I still wasn’t sure what type of paths and trails were being traversed locally.
I assumed that the mountain biking trail facility I’d seen via social media was somewhere out in the wooly bully swampy and rural areas west of Myrtle Beach, like Bucksport, Ketchuptown or Juniper Bay.
So, much to my surprise I learned that the Horry County Bike and Run Park, affectionately dubbed The Hulk, was a stone’s throw across the Intracoastal Waterway from Myrtle Beach proper, right there under our noses. What?
Then came the “ah-hah” moment – in editing Roger Yale’s Feb. 28 Working 4 a Living profile of local bike shop owner David Hall, I stumbled across the hook I needed. Here is the passage: “Hall is also a sponsor of the Coastal Carolina Off-Road Race Series – or CCORS, a six-race series that runs from February to May. “We’re going to have a race here on April 7 in Myrtle Beach – the first big mountain bike race we have had here,” he says. The event will take place at the Horry County Bike and Run Park – aka “The Hulk.”
With our scribe Yale having already made inroads with Hall, we dispatched him to find out more about this Hulk, the seeming upswing of mountain bike riding – yes, mountain bike riding in an area devoid of pretty much anything resembling a hill – at the beach, the future of off-road biking facilities in Horry County, and the prospect of tapping into more sports tourism, all of which is addressed in this week’s cover story, beginning on page 10.
And, in a nod to the paved trails I’ve seen in the Murrells Inlet area, we spoke with the leader of the Bike the Neck movement, and you can get an update on that project on page 13.
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Kent Kimes, Editor