Heritage organizers hope more people pedal to tournament

bheffernan@islandpacket.comMarch 10, 2013 

Organizers of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing hope some people who attend the tournament will get there on a bike instead of in a car.

To that end, the Heritage will offer a free bicycle entrance and bike parking at Sea Pines for ticket-holders and volunteers in an effort to reduce automobile traffic during Hilton Head Island's annual PGA Tour event, scheduled for April 15-21.

Cyclists will have to present tournament or volunteer badges at the main gate on Greenwood Drive or at the Ocean Gate near South Forest Beach Drive and Cordillo Parkway.

Free bike parking will be allowed all week from about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the events early in the week and during the tournament.

Parking spaces for about 1,000 bicycles will be provided at the tennis courts at Harbour Town and in the parking lot near the 13th green off Plantation Drive.

Volunteers from the Kickin' Asphalt Bicycle Club and local bike shops will help cyclists park and lock their bikes. Riders must bring their own locks.

Last year was the first time the Heritage offered free admission and parking for biking ticket-holders and volunteers. About 300 cyclists used the parking.

"We'd be really happy with 500" this year, said Angela McSwain, Heritage Classic Foundation marketing director.

Accommodating bicyclists at the tournament is a good solution to overcrowding in car parking lots and it reduces emissions, McSwain said.

Bicycle parking is not unique to the Heritage. The RBC Canadian Open has offered a similar service.

Bicycling to PGA Tour events is becoming "more fashionable," McSwain said.

Some local bicycle rental companies said they expect an increase in sales during Heritage week.

"The Heritage will be very packed," said Chuck Coppage of Pedals Bicycles on Pope Avenue.

The business might rent out nearly all of its 1,700 bikes that week, he said.

"We should be really, really busy -- it'll be good for us."

Follow reporter Brian Heffernan at www.twitter.com/IPBG_Brian.

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