Celebrating the 200th birthday of the Laufmaschine is as simple as riding a bike.
Mostly because “Laufmaschine” was the original word for what is now the bicycle.
Yes, in one form or another, bikes have been around for 200 years. The bike was invented by a German named Baron Karl von Drais in 1817 as an alternative to getting around on horses.
Today, bikes are used for work commutes, exercise and fun. While some roadways are adding bike paths for cyclists, it’s worth it to seek out off-road bicycle trails for scenic rides in Columbia and around the state.
Brian Curran, one of the owners of Columbia’s Outspokin bicycle shop, suggests the following trails for a local ride:
Harbison State Forest is Curran’s top choice in Columbia. Harbison has 18 miles of trails designed for walking, jogging, hiking and bicycling that range from moderately easy to difficult. Bicycles permitted only on designated trails. Call (803) 896-8897 for trails status. www.state.sc.us/forest/refharb.htm
The Timmerman Trail portion of Cayce Riverwalk is 3.5 miles of paved trail that runs through the woods in the outskirts of Cayce, near Interstate 77 and SCANA headquarters. It begins just west of the 12th Street Extension, then runs under the road and continues eastward. At several points along the way, you can get some nice views of the Congaree Creek along with snakes, alligators and other wildlife. www.cityofcayce-sc.gov/riverwalk.asp
Riverfront Park offers a 2 1/2-mile flat paved trail between the Historic Columbia Canal and the Congaree River. It’s just west of Huger Street and offers scenic views of the river. It’s great for an after-work ride or to help you ease in to one of those exercise resolutions for the new year. www.columbiasc.net/parks-recreation/facilities/regional-parks
Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville is a 19.9-mile, multiuse greenway that runs along the Reedy River. It largely follows the bed of a former railroad that had been nicknamed after the indigenous swamp rabbit. Starting on the southern side, the trail begins at Greenville Technical College, crosses the city of Greenville, proceeds through Falls Park and the campus of Furman University, and ends about a mile north of the Travelers Rest city limits. http://greenvillerec.com/swamprabbit/
Forks Area Trail System in Edgefield County has a total of 37 miles of bike trails, ranging from 3.8 miles to 7.5 miles long. Located in the Sumter National Forest, FATS has trails for beginners, as well as experienced mountain bike riders. www.sctrails.net/Trails/alltrails/MountainBike/FATS.html
Poinsett State Park in Wedgefield has bike trails throughout the park, some of which connect to the Palmetto Trail, which leads through the Manchester State Forest. The trails are rated easy and moderate and offer diverse terrain. www.sctrails.net/trails/ALLTRAILS/Palmetto%20Trail/HighHillsSanteePassage.html