Category Archives: Recreation

Explore Fort Pulaski by bike this Sunday with the Savannah Bicycle Campaign

Things look different when viewed from behind the handlebars and that’s especially true of our local landmarks and attractions. The Savannah Bicycle Campaign’s Jerry Jaycox Wheelie ride on Nov. 13 offers a new perspective on the Fort Pulaski National Landmark site and nearby trails:

“The ride, now in its fourth year, is named for founding SBC board member Jerry Jaycox who passed away riding his bicycle. The ride will again take riders of all abilities through the trails and dikes of Fort Pulaski and include a spin out to the McQueen’s Island Rail Trail which parallels the south channel of the Savannah River.”

The ride begins at 2 p.m. and is followed by a cookout. Best of all, entry to Fort Pulaski is free! More information is available on the Savannah Bicycle Campaign website.

Newspaper readers fret over street closures for marathon, ignore countless daily closures due to car crashes

Folks who leave comments on the Savannah Morning News website can be relied upon to make all sorts of hyperbolic claims about all sorts of topics. An Oct. 31 story about street closures related to the first running of the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon provided some the opportunity complain about  car-free streets. One even suggested an alternate theory for the recently discussed issue of why people move out of Savannah. It’s not fear of crime or worries about taxes or the search for better schools or the quest for peace and quiet that drives people away from Savannah. No, the tipping point is when roads will be closed for part of one day so people can run a marathon:

“Maybe it is time to move out of this city. Parts of my family has lived in and around Savannah for almost 300 years and I don’t want that to end, but, really maybe it is time.”

Another commenter advanced the popular but misguided notion that using city streets for anything other than the movement of private automobiles cheats the rightful owners of these thoroughfares:

“I pay taxes to use the roads and not to have a sporting event that I don’t see a dime from held in them.”

While the marathon street closures will surely disrupt traffic patterns, the truth of the matter is that streets are closed to traffic in the Savannah area every single day, multiple times per day. Here is just a sample of the scores of Savannah Morning News stories from October that include mention of roads closed by car crashes:

Traffic Alert: Wreck causes I-516 delay
TRAFFIC ALERT: Accidents that could delay your morning commute
Ga. 17 at Roebling Road opens after wreck
UPDATE: Victory Drive reopened after accident
An accident at the intersection of East Derenne Avenue and Abercorn Street is delaying traffic

All of these are individual events and even if dozens of local roads are closed in a single day, it is not the same thing as coordinated road closures to accommodate a major event. I get that. Still, in aggregate these crashes cause many, many more hours of traffic delay and are much more expensive. And, it must be noted, cost many lives.

Yet none of these stories about automobile crashes merited a single comment. Not one commenter lashed out at motorists for causing these accidents, called the drivers involved “morons” or  “idiots,” or accused them of being ignorant of traffic regulations. Not one commenter shared stories of their own encounters with motorists who think they “own the road” or “always have the right of way.”

Oh, but wait, there was one “road closed due to traffic crash” deemed worthy of such comments. It was, of course, a story about a collision between two bicyclists.

Third annual Midnight Garden Ride will raise funds for bicycle advocacy and education

Drew Wade, chairman of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, has conceived an idea that has grown over the last three years into one of Savannah’s most unique events. It doesn’t really happen at midnight, but the Midnight Garden Ride will get underway at dusk on Saturday, Sept. 3 and allow many participants to do something they might not normally: ride their bikes at night.

There are cyclists on Savannah’s streets at all times of day and night, of course, but the spectacle of 700 or more people riding bicycles as night falls is something else altogether. As I wrote in this week’s  Savannah “News Cycle” column, “It’s sociable and empowering at the same time. The sight of hundreds of bicycles with blinking lights and other decorations makes it more like a parade than anything else.” This year’s event has moved to Forsyth Park and expanded to include a concert cospresented by Savannah Stopover. Back again are the popular costume and best lighting rig contests and raffle.

While the event is certainly fun, it also allows import efforts to make our community better. Funds raised through registration and other event activities help the Savannah Bicycle Campaign toward its mission:

“Our primary objectives are education for cyclists and motorists about the best ways to share the road, advocacy for improved bicycle facilities in Chatham County, and promoting bicycling as a healthy, safe activity for recreation and sustainable transportation. Ultimately, through an inclusive approach, we will make our communities more livable, connected & safe. These are our goals, and we hope that you will join us.”Our primary objectives are education for cyclists and motorists about the best ways to share the road, advocacy for improved bicycle facilities in Chatham County, and promoting bicycling as a healthy, safe activity for recreation and sustainable transportation. Ultimately, through an inclusive approach, we will make our communities more livable, connected and safe. These are our goals, and we hope that you will join us.”

Does that sound like something you support? If yes, you know where you should be on Saturday night.

Savannah Earth Day Festival assembled of popular components


Forsyth Park will be home to the City of Savannah’s annual Earth Day Festival again on Saturday, April 23. The long-running features individual events and programs that have become immensely popular. The Savannah Bicycle Campaign’s Earth Day Wheelie Bike ride, which attracts hundreds of cyclists, departs from the park at 4 p.m. Earlier in the day, the RecycleRama begins at 8 a.m. and offers drop off service for folks who want to recycle paint, batteries, cooking grease and other materials. Last year’s RecycleRama collected 8,500 pounds of paint and 1,000 tires. It ends at 11 a.m. on the dot. More than 100 exhibitors will offer information on topics from beekeeping to bicycling to green roofs. More information is available on the festival website.

Tybee Island meeting seeks public input on U.S. Highway 80 bridges

hgwy80bridgesThe idea of riding a bicycle from Savannah to Tybee Island is understandably appealing both to area residents and visitors from all over the United States. Unfortunately, the trip can be a dangerous one. Major barriers to safe travel by bicycle include the bridges at Bull River and Lazaretto Creek. A public meeting tonight on Tybee Island is part of a study of the situation. Details on the meeting are as follows:

Pub Mtg 1 Press Release 090810.docx
Thursday, September 16, 2010
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tybee Island City Hall
403 Butler Ave.
Tybee Island, GA 31328
The purpose of the study is to determine the feasibility
of replacing or modifying the existing bridges with
a design that includes shoulders, as well as protected
facilities for bicycles and pedestrians, either on one
bridge or a separate bridge. Also as part of the study,
the flood-prone areas of US 80 shall be identified and
interim solutions recommended.
Thursday, Sept. 16
6-8 p.m.
Tybee Island City Hall
403 Butler Ave.
Tybee Island
“The purpose of the study is to determine the feasibility of replacing or modifying the existing bridges witha design that includes shoulders, as well as protected facilities for bicycles and pedestrians, either on one bridge or a separate bridge.”
More information is available on the Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization website.