Category Archives: Cycling

Pushin’ pedals

Ride for Raptors, 2013

The 2013 edition of the Ride for Raptors is history. Another great ride through the hills of Pickens County, ending up at the Pendleton Fall Festival, and supporting the Carolina Raptor Center.

Many rides start with doves or balloons. This one is a bit different. I also saw a real wild hawk, probably a Cooper’s Hawk, fly over about 20 minutes before the ride started.

The ride gives you a chance to practice a little urban riding crossing US123 and going through Central, but it also traverses some very out-of-the-way scenic places. This was taken at the 3rd rest stop.

60 or 100 miles? Ya know, I could probably do 100, but it’d take me until Tuesday.

Some of the terrain involved. I wouldn’t want that driveway.

Actually, that wasn’t the …er… most challenging. Maw Bridge Road climbs off the river with about a 9 to 10% grade for about a mile. I wasn’t going to stop there for any pictures.
Lunch was waiting at the finish, courtesy of Subway, my favorite “fast food”:

From there, it was a short walk over to the Pendleton town square and the festival.

Zlaty, the Golden Eagle in the background, and Skoshi, the Red Tailed Hawk, were there from from the Raptor Center.

These are birds that cannot return to the wild because of their injuries and have become used to humans, so they get to travel around to things like festivals. Zlaty was found in Arizona with his wing apparently shot off. Skoshi has an undersized eye and was rescued after he injured his wing on that side. I kind of feel like I know them, as many times as I’ve seen them at this ride. Zlaty is about 30 years old and Skoshi is not far behind.
A Greenville rehabber brought a little Screech Owl. This is a full-sized adult. So cute, unless you’re a rodent…

There was a distinct Halloween theme around the festival and around town. Funny, I don’t remember seeing this guy out on the ride:

If I did try to do the 100 mile route, I’d probably look like this (minus the Clemson flag).

I hope I’ll be doing this ride again. A letter in the registration packet announced that Rich Mead is retiring from organizing this ride. If you or someone you know can take up the task of keeping this going, please contact Rich, +1 864 244 0263 or

Flight of the Dove, 2013

This year’s Flight of the Dove ride was great!, as I’ve come to expect. I’ve ridden this ride every year since it started and I’ll keep coming back.

Before I get into the ride, I want to make a general observation. There are sources of inspiration all around us, if we but look. I mentioned my Sister’s perseverance caring for her terminally-ill Husband. On this ride I saw another one. I guess if you saw these two guys in any other setting, you’d probably say they were handicapped, but what I saw was inspiring. They rode the 62-mile route on these recumbent bikes, pedaling with their hands and arms. Let me tell you, there were places I was having a hard time keeping up with them.
Should I ever find myself in such a condition, I’m going to be thinking of these guys. (As usual, you can click on the pictures for a full-res version.)

Now on with the ride! I hadn’t been riding much this year (at least not as much as I usually do, or would like to), so I actually considered dropping back to the 30-mile route, or taking the 50-mile shortcut. But, that’s s slippery slope, and I elected to go for the 62-mile ride, even if it took me all day.

Weather was near perfect: overcast skies, no rain, cool temperatures, especially for a South Carolina August. The only thing I could complain about was the wind, which tended towards a headwind late in the ride, especially on SC72. But you can’t have everything (even though this ride comes close).

I usually get to events and appointments early, and this was no exception. Even still, there were a lot of riders already there when I arrived, about an hour before the start.

It looked like a good turnout.

The rest stops were well attended and provisioned.

The third rest stop was at the Belfast Rifle Range, where arrangements had been made for riders to do some shooting, should they desire.

You, know, when you’re in a port-a-potty and someone fires off a high-powered rifle, it gets your attention, until you remember you’re at a rifle range.

It don’t get much more rural than this:

Some of the happy volunteers who make this a real rider’s ride.

The support on this ride can’t be beat. In addition to those smiling and helpful rest stop folks, SAG vehicles were in evidence, as well as the motorcycle folks patrolling. At several busy intersections, Sheriff’s Deputies were there to manage traffic.

Finally, finished, and it didn’t even take me all day:

One of the many things the organizers do a great job on is marking the roads, not just with directional marks (and those extra marks every few kilometers on the long stretches are appreciated – I always wonder if I missed a turn), but also marking the hazards like potholes, bumps, railroad crossings, and such. There was one spot on Bush River Rd. that had taken a beating from all the recent rains. I’d almost swear it was in worse condition when I went back for this picture than it was when I rode through there earlier in the day.

You really couldn’t say much else about that little stretch.

As usual, this was another super ride. For those who didn’t make it, please try harder next year. You won’t find a better ride: route, support, food, and no restroom lines. And, to top it all off, it supports a great charity, Hospice of Laurens County. It’s an organization like this that really helped my Sister and made it possible for her to care for her Husband.

Next up, the Ride for Raptors.

Jake Calvert Ride results

Last weekend’s Jake Calvert Benefit ride was a success, judging by the turnout. I don’t have any numbers, but it looked like at least as good a crowd as last year.

The weather cooperated nicely, especially considering the soggy pattern we’ve been in, and the roads were all they were touted to be (I ride most of these roads regularly, so I had no reason to be surprised). If you didn’t come, you missed a great ride!

One thing I wrestle with is the idea of driving somewhere to ride my bike. This ride was close enough to home (not quite 20km, or about 12 miles) that I decided to “ride to the ride”. I thought that doing the 80-km/50-mile ride, plus 20 km back and forth, would be a stretch, but it would be doable. Turns out that on latter part of the 2nd loop I was getting pre-cramp indications, and decided to remain on the “home” side of the Saluda river. Still made a 102 km (63 mile) ride out of it, which is my longest of the season.

A good time was had by all, and I’m sure we raised a chunk of money for Jake:

Jake Calvert Benefit Ride

Hey everyone, this year’s Jake Calvert Benefit bicycle ride is on!

This is a ride to benefit Jake Calvert, a 9-year-old kid from Ware Shoals, SC who’s fighting leukemia. All proceeds go to Jake.

29-June-2013, 08:00, starting from the Ware Shoals High School and covering some of the best roads in western Laurens County and some of the best scenery you want to ride by. I know, this is my home range. Be there or be left wishing you were :P .

Sign up at, or fill out this form out and bring it to the ride.

Upcoming activities

With emphasis on “active”.


The Greenville Downtown Airport (KGMU) is building an aviation-themed community park where people can come watch the airplanes, with a playground for kids, etc… In order to raise money to continue the construction, they’re holding a 5k run/walk on 25-May-2013:
The keynote feature is that the run will be on the airport itself, including a runway. I’m planning to participate, if only so I can run down the runway flapping my wing…er… arms.

I kinda like the sneaker-wearing airplane logo.

Flight of the Dove

No, I’m not talking about backyard birds, for once. Flight of the Dove is upstate South Carolina’s premier (IMHO) organized bicycle ride. The routes are great, support is great, No restroom lines at the start/finish (at the Presbyterian College stadium in Clinton, SC), and lunch is included. And on top of all that, the ride supports a great cause: Hospice of Laurens County. Mark your calendars: 24-Aug-2013.

Ride for Raptors

As long as I’m here, I’ll also mention another ride I like to do, Ride for Raptors. This one is in the fall (no date set yet for 2013), leaves out of Pendleton, SC, and wanders through the hills of Pickens County. This one supports the Carolina Raptor Center. More later…