The power of the pedal earned Hilton Head Island a silver medal. In May, the town became the only community in South Carolina - and one of five in the Southeast - to receive a silver level award from the League of American Bicyclists, earning it the certification of Bicycle Friendly Community.
Hilton Head has more than 100 miles of paths for runners, walkers, skaters and bikers. Many of these paths recently were renovated and improved. The island also scored well when it came to connectivity, road crossings for bicyclists, path maintenance and bike rentals. About 20,000 bikes on the island are for rent, and kiosks throughout the path system contain bike-safety material and maps.Bicycling is popular on Hilton Head with both vacationers and residents because the island has many bicycle rental companies with competitive rates.Many visitors rent "beach bikes" (no gears, coaster brakes) by the day or by the week. Bike shops also rent bikes with children's seats or trailers, bikes with training wheels and tandem bikes. The companies have helmets and locks, and customers are urged to use them. If you're going to bring your own bike to the beach this summer, remember that riding on the beach can ruin the bike gears.At low tide, it's fun to bike on the beach near the water line, where the sand is hard-packed. If the wind is blowing, you can head inland to find a bike path when it's time to turn around and ride back. Bike shops ask customers not to take the bikes into the salt water. The beach also is a great place for kids to learn to ride a bike.