Beech Island portion of cycling route unchanged

  • Follow Metro

During the 56-mile bike racing portion of Sunday’s ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta competiton, cyclists at some point will peddle through Beech Island.

Back | Next
Bikers ride down Sand Bar Ferry Thursday afternoon in Augusta.   ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Bikers ride down Sand Bar Ferry Thursday afternoon in Augusta.

That has given pause among some, since an incident last October that fatally injured cyclist Matthew Burke, a surgeon at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.

One of the them is Lynn Fulcher. She will compete Sunday and has deliberately avoided Beech Island during training. Any forays into Aiken County for her begin on the 13th Street Bridge instead of Sand Bar Ferry Road.

Randy Cantu, the director of business services at ESi, an original planner of the Ironman, said Beech Island has garnered a bad reputation among training cyclists for harassment by motorists.

But Beech Island Avenue, where Burke was hit by a motorist while riding with a group of other cyclists, isn’t actually part of the route. While some minor tweaks were made regarding lane closures, the route was not altered to avoid Beech Island.

“There’s been a huge change in cycling awareness,” Cantu said. “There’s been caution on both sides, and it’s improving.”

Randy DuTeau with the Augusta Sports Council also had a hand in creating the original route and said “it works really well from a racer standpoint.”

DuTeau described the route as a single loop that fits in seamlessly with the swimming and running portions of the race. Ultimately, it’s a showcase for Aiken County as well, and the sheriff’s office and South Carolina Department of Transportation have been “really supportive” to make sure the route is safe and clear of debris, DuTeau said.

“There are some areas that are just stunning, although when your heart rate is 200 beats a minute you’re not thinking, ‘Oh, a beautiful horse farm,’” DuTeau said with a laugh.

Fulcher said she doesn’t believe she’s put herself at a competitive disadvantage by avoiding the actual route because she’s found representative sections to train on in other areas of Aiken and Columbia counties.

Training usually takes place in the early morning hours when traffic is lightest. Otherwise motorists tend to ride too close to her or yell out angrywords, Fulcher said.

“It’s interesting how you can stop traffic to move a turtle, but somehow a human doesn’t seem to elicit the same sympathy,” said Fulcher.

Comments (18) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
IsAnyoneAlwaysRight
40
Points
IsAnyoneAlwaysRight 09/23/11 - 05:09 am
0
0
Lynn is too fast for any car

Lynn is too fast for any car to catch up with. Ride fast and safe Super Star :)

paula824
0
Points
paula824 09/23/11 - 05:25 am
0
0
I, as a life long resident of

I, as a life long resident of Beech Island, take offense at the word "harassment" because it gives a negative feel to our whole community. I have kept silent up until this point but now want to clearly point out that not all Beech Island residents should be lumped into a "bad" category. I, living right off one of the main roads that the cyclists use, respect them. Most of them also respect me as a driver. I do want to point out that not all traffic that is in Beech Island come from drivers that live here - our roads are main roads to many places. My hope is that the cycling community would refrain from thinking that all of the Beech Island community is bad just because of a few incidents that have happened in Beech Island.

IsAnyoneAlwaysRight
40
Points
IsAnyoneAlwaysRight 09/23/11 - 08:13 am
0
0
Paula, well spoken. I think

Paula, well spoken. I think the article did not reflect what many of us cyclists think about Beech Island and Aiken County residents. The majority of the residents are incredibly nice and respectful to us. Glad you spoke up for your community.

However, I cannot blame some cyclist's for making a decision to ride elsewhere; there are some other beautiful areas in the area to ride also. Why not disperse the cycling traffic to these areas.

Nothing else to say
2
Points
Nothing else to say 09/23/11 - 05:54 am
0
0
I too take offense with the

I too take offense with the use of the word harassment. What I am annoyed about is this event takes place on Sunday morning and blocks many of our routes to our local churches. This should be taken into consideration when routes are planned and some of the real residents of this area would be more accommodating. I have other suggestions as well like they should ride single file and not bunch up, don't congregate on the side of the road or in parking lots of convenience stores or businesses in groups, we don't like people in cars to do that either; they should have to attach those cute triangular signs that farm tractors have when on the roadways or those flashing lights that loggers have to put on their trailers. Cyclists are just a few of the elite that use our roadways today. Just show some courtesy to everyone.

Riverman1
90699
Points
Riverman1 09/23/11 - 06:04 am
0
0
I'd like to bring up another

I'd like to bring up another point. Training cyclists should always respect the rights of casual bike riders and those poor who ride bikes as their only transportation and not be cutting close to them as if they shouldn't be there at the same time. There are many more casual bike riders than those training for something.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/23/11 - 06:05 am
0
0
I wonder if they'll let us

I wonder if they'll let us tie up 56 miles of roadway for riding lawnmower races? Could be a winner, stock mowers, no souped up versions. Get local sellers as sponsors. Allowing drinking by participants and as they weave on and off the road, they can cut the right of way for free.

IsAnyoneAlwaysRight
40
Points
IsAnyoneAlwaysRight 09/23/11 - 06:43 am
0
0
Nothing else to say, those

Nothing else to say, those riders that you are referring too are not part of the small groups of triathletes, both local and from afar, that train on the HIM bike course. Direct your irritation at local bike shops; they are the ones that ride in the big groups (peletons that draft off each other), that congregate at the former Mean Genes gas station and ride 10 abreast, racing across the line median to get to the county sign first.

Triathletes usually practice time trailing mode, which is racing by the clock with no drafting (they are required during race to keep 3 bike links apart). The shop groups ride in a peloton and usually follow the rules of "road racing" where drafting, mass grouping and riding side by side are the guidelines.

In summary, the triathlon and the Dr. Burke controversy have no correlation. They don't even ride up Beech Island Blvd where most of my incidents with motorists have occurred; only locals know that short cut.

Randy Duteau and Greg McCully have set up a great bike course in the beautiful countryside of your Beech Island community. You ought to be proud of all the rave I get from tri-geeks from across the nation about how they love YOUR bike route.

Lets don't start up this publicity again for a non-related tragic incident at the expense of a wonderful sporting event.

Praises to Beech Island, Augusta Sports Council, WTC and the dynamic Augusta based company ESI!

Get out and cheer these great competitors as they pass through your beautiful rural roads. Share it for 4 hours a year with those that appreciate your contribution to 3,000 participants achievement.

Thank you Beech Island.

billoreilly
0
Points
billoreilly 09/23/11 - 07:48 am
0
0
@Nothing else to say: I know,

@Nothing else to say: I know, right. Maybe someday God will extend his office hours so we don't have to line up at church. Those annoying cyclists interfering with the one hour a week that God exists makes me puke.

Killie
0
Points
Killie 09/23/11 - 09:42 am
0
0
Paula824 . Thank you for your

Paula824 . Thank you for your comments regarding cyclsts and residents of Beech Island respecting each other. I regularly ride in that area with a local cycling group and the vast majority of people in that area are very respectful and polite, I regularly get and return waves and smiles from people in that area.
Unfortunately I have also been harassed and almost ran off the road in that area and other areas of Aiken county but I regard these as isolated incidents and not representive of everyone in the area.
The need to be respectful and responisble cyclists is regularly reminded to us before our rides and I genuinely believe there is a greater awarness growing among the cycling community.
I look forward to my bike rides through Beech Island and out into the wonderful countyside we have in Aiken county and will continue to be respectful and and aware of all who use the the highways and byways.

commonsense-is-endangere
43
Points
commonsense-is-endangere 09/23/11 - 10:51 am
0
0
Why don't I ever see any

Why don't I ever see any minorities riding bicycles with the group?

Nothing else to say
2
Points
Nothing else to say 09/23/11 - 12:13 pm
0
0
billoreilly God is not

billoreilly God is not limited to just one hour on Sunday in case you didn't know. What I am saying is that it irritates ME that my 80+ year old mother who lives less than 1/4 mile from her place of worship is being re-directed MILES in the opposite direction on that Sunday morning because of this race. I know you say this is only one Sunday out of the year... well yes it is. Why can't they have races on Saturday? Then more people can be inconvenienced and not just the ones who are trying to get to church.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/23/11 - 12:35 pm
0
0
common - I work the IronMan

common - I work the IronMan as a volunteer yearly and there are people of all races involved. I also know a number of biking enthusiasts. The bikes and gear for this type of biking are quite expensive. In this area the majority of the wealthy are a lighter shade of pale.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/23/11 - 01:01 pm
0
0
nothing - were it on a

nothing - were it on a Saturday then the Jewish worshippers would be inconvenienced and the 7th Day Adventists and the thousand or so working people who do their shopping for their households on Saturday. I'm sure your mother will not be sent to the netherworld for missing a Sunday. If she really needs to go, then be a good child and carry her a few miles this one day of the year. I live downtownish, not complaining for the more than a dozen times a year I get redirected as long as it's for something positive. This is definitely something positive that brings in thousands of visitors from all over the world and millions of $ to Augusta and the surrounding communities.

billoreilly
0
Points
billoreilly 09/23/11 - 12:50 pm
0
0
@Nothing else to say: Why

@Nothing else to say: Why can't you worship God the other six days of the week or do so from home? You're saying you'd rather more people and businesses be inconvenienced by holding it on a Saturday than a mere small inconvenience for a group of people who admit that God exists more than one hour per week? I'm sure God can handle fewer people at a handful of churches on a single Sunday than the real life businesses here on earth can handle a day without business on Saturday. From what I hear, God has mad coping skills.

Nothing else to say
2
Points
Nothing else to say 09/23/11 - 02:56 pm
0
0
I truly have nothing else to

I truly have nothing else to say on this matter as I have expressed my exaggerated opinion. Bicyclists should be welcomed to ride anyplace they choose and in safety and people of all faiths should be allowed to worship whenever and wherever they choose. Let me paraphrase the saying You can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/23/11 - 03:56 pm
0
0
"Bicyclists should be

"Bicyclists should be welcomed to ride anyplace they choose" I agree, as long as it's not on someone else's property and if on the road, they have a license, tag, registration, and insurance just like autos.

IsAnyoneAlwaysRight
40
Points
IsAnyoneAlwaysRight 09/25/11 - 03:38 am
0
0
http://www.bloomberg.com/news

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-22/triathletes-outnumber-golfers-i...

I see most people like the 60% of the biking roads I hand with in laying out for the HIM! Beach Island, Jackson, New Ellenton and the other parts of Aiken County; All Triathletes are appreciative of such a beautiful ride and great hospitality.

IsAnyoneAlwaysRight
40
Points
IsAnyoneAlwaysRight 09/27/11 - 06:30 pm
0
0
Techfan, you must go to

Techfan, you must go to Sandwich City.....

Back to Top

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs