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FestiVELO Cycling Event Rolls Through Colleton County

The 2019 brochure includes maps of the Colleton County cycling courses.

The 22nd Annual FestiVELO, or bicycling festival, is going to be rolling through most parts of Colleton County this week. Cycling enthusiasts arrive in Walterboro on Wednesday, November 5 to check-in to their lodging accommodations for the four-day FestiVELO event taking place on November 6 – 10. The 2019 FestiVELO marks the fourth consecutive year Colleton County is hosting the daily bike rides, with all FestiVELO meals and meetings based in downtown Walterboro.
FestiVELO founder Charles Fox of Charleston continues to serve as Race Director, with the first bike ride taking place in 1998. What began as a group of local friends wanting to get some exercise has grown into a multi-day event that attracts serious riders from more than two dozen states. The event name evolved over time from Pedal for the Pooches, a fundraising ride for the local SCPA, to being called a Rural Ride Around the Islands. Eventually, the Fox family decided on FestiVELO, merging Festival and VELO, the French word for bicycle.
Walterboro native Stacey Price is an active cyclist with years of experience supporting the Criterium bike race that calls Walterboro home. Price now volunteers as a FestiVELO committee member, joining a cadre of other volunteers that will represent the local initiative to support FestiVELO from the start to finish. “Our local community welcomes the hundreds of FestiVELO riders to town, to ride along our scenic rural roads, and to utilize our meeting facilities at the commercial kitchen and Farmer’s Market,” said Price.
“This is a USA Cycling sanctioned event, and the Palmetto Cycling Coalition is one of our annual sponsors,” said Price. “Each day features three cycling courses to accommodate riders of all skill levels. The longest ride each day is 100-miles long and those that choose to ride 100-miles each day will be competing for the aptly named Iron Butt award. The shorter rides are likely to be 30 and 60-miles in length. Each day the cyclists will be touring a different part of Colleton County, and the route maps are available online at www.FestiVELO.org or using the FestiVELO app. We will also have paper maps for riders since cell phone coverage can lapse in our more rural areas.” Good luck to Price, who plans to ride the 100-mile route through Western Colleton County on Friday.
“Most participants are veterans of similar bike riding events, but I still want Colleton County drivers to be on the lookout for the hundreds of cyclists that will be on our roads,” said Price. “Cyclists must wear a helmet to participate, and they have the same rights as any vehicle pertaining to rules of the road. What makes our destination special to these riders is that our county roads are relatively smooth and in good shape, while the rural aesthetics and natural beauty of Colleton County remain intact. For example, Saturday’s ride goes through the heart of the ACE Basin plantation district all the way down to Bennett’s Point.”
“Daily breakfast meals are served at 7 a.m. at the commercial kitchen, with lunch stops planned out along the cycling route each day,” said Price. “We partner with a lot of local churches when it comes to setting up rest areas, snack stops, and lunch locations throughout the County. Our 2019 event brochure shares the history of both the county and the churches with the visitors, raising awareness about what the county offers beyond nature’s bounty.”
“We serve supper nightly at the Farmer’s Market and we offer more insight into the area with educational talks,” said Price. “Our speaker on Friday night is blogger Jeff Dennis from Lowcountry Outdoors, and on Saturday night our speaker is Travis Folk from Folk Land Management. Meals run from 5:30 to 7 p.m., followed by an oyster roast from 7 to 9 p.m., with tickets available to the public at the door. A fire pit with a smores station will be set up nightly and one can even find shag dancing lessons at the FestiVELO festivities. Everything wraps up on Sunday at the Colleton Museum during the 4 p.m. awards ceremony.”

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis
Jeff Dennis, Contributor (375 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com