Added bicycle parking a hit among Heritage patrons

dburley@islandpacket.comApril 16, 2014 

bikes

Bike racks are filled at the tennis courts along Lighthouse Road the afternoon of April 16, 2014, in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island.

DAN BURLEY — Staff photo

Increased parking for bicycles outside Harbour Town Golf Links received glowing reviews from the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing patrons who rode to Wednesday's events.

Some out-of-town spectators said the new bike racks on tennis courts near Lighthouse Road in Sea Pines made the decision to ride two wheels to the PGA Tour tournament -- and avoid car traffic and shuttle buses -- much easier.

Other long-time patrons said the additional racks, which have more than doubled in number, were a vast improvement over a few years ago, when bicyclists had to secure their bikes to trees or signs.

"It really is a great idea, and a long-time coming," said Sea Pines resident Michael Pope, who has pedaled to the tournament for a dozen years.

The Hilton Head Bicycling Advisory Committee has increased the bike racks outside the course from 30 to 85, according to co-chairman Frank Babel.

That creates space for about 850 bikes, he said. The racks are set up at the courts and near the 13th green. Attendants are on hand to help bicyclists store their bikes and guard the racks from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., he said.

Babel expects about 4,500 bikes to roll to the tournament this year, twice as many as last year.

He said that with Hilton Head Island's established bicycle paths, it'd be silly not to encourage fans to pedal to the tournament.

"We have a tremendous bike-path network, so let's get people, especially locals from Wexford or Shipyard, out of cars and onto bicycles," he said.

Milwaukee couple Tony and Molly Cacciotti spent Monday taking a shuttle from their vacation spot in Sea Pines to the golf course.

Since, they've biked to the Lighthouse Road courts and walked from there, Tony Cacciotti said.

"After the first day of being stuck in traffic, we figured the bike thing is the way to go," he said.

The bicycle group tallied 300 bikers at Monday's opening events, which is more than triple the amount from the year before, Babel said.

Heritage spokesperson Angela McSwain said the tournament welcomes anything that could alleviate traffic congestion.

"We definitely see it as a valuable alternative," to driving, she said.

Follow reporter Dan Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

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