Local Military News

Cruise through Marine Corps history on Iron Mike Bike Tour

Parris Island is known for the Marines it produces, but its history stretches back hundreds of years before it became the famed recruit depot.

The Iron Mike Bike Tour is a chance to cruise through the island and experience its past firsthand. Riders can start on the biannual tour anytime between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. A walking tour held at the same time will cover three miles of the island.

The 15-mile, self-guided bicycle tour features pit stops at the island's historical sites, such as the World War I-era Marine monument the event is named after. Members of the Parris Island Historical and Museum Society will be on hand at several of the sites to provide historical background.

Visitors will get to see Marine sites while learning about a history that stretches back to when Native Americans occupied the island. In the 1500s, French and Spanish had a presence on Parris Island. It became the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in 1905.

The idea for the tour was born when museum members sought ways to attract visitors to the island outside of the busy Marine graduation times. The tour is the fifth in three years. Organizers expect about 250 to attend.

"It's a tour. It's not a race. So people can take their time and learn about the history of the island," said George Biszak, the museum's board president.

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