Biking as a whole has been on the incline since COVID-19 has suspended the joys of so many sports and recreational activities. Business has been bustling, but so have the health concerns of riders.
Cooper River Cycles, Daniel Island’s one-stop shop for all things biking since 2015, has been busy supplying the demand to those looking to stretch their legs during the pandemic.
Exercise is essential but so is safety, as limiting the risk of exposure to the coronavirus has remained paramount. The store, which hosts mountain bike trail riding, put a temporary hold on all group rides early last year as a safeguard to stunt the spread of the deadly virus. In August, rides returned for a brief trial period, but since then events have been canceled and plans are in a stationary state, according to owner and operator Gage Cooper.
However, that’s not to say that gears aren’t grinding and wheels aren’t spinning. Close-knit circles of riders within the biking community are still pedaling together weekly, it’s just not being officially organized.
Unofficially, a trail riding tradition lives on during the era of COVID-19, dubbed “Sunday Dirt Patrol,” that was started by Cooper River Cycles in 2017. The weekly reunion is not being promoted, it’s more of an unspoken get-together formed by more than three years of camaraderie.
Every Sunday at 2 p.m., 30 to 50 riders from across the Lowcountry meet at Marrington Plantation in Goose Creek. All participants are required to have a recreation pass to gain entrance to the grounds.
The ride consists of a pace line on a loop that ranges from 12 to 20 miles long and riders are spaced 6 feet apart.
Cooper hopes that with the inoculations of the COVID-19 vaccine underway nationwide, the store can promote and sponsor events again sometime this spring, maybe as early as March or April. For now, official rides remain on hold until a definite time frame can be announced, which is contingent on the indefinite timeline of the coronavirus.
“Hopefully those wheels are spinning sooner than later,” Cooper added. “I’m ready to get some rides back on the books and see everybody again.”
For more information about Cooper River Cycles, visit cooperrivercycles.com.