Two tours that peddle pedaling roll among some special outings for Grand Strand sightseeing.
Pedego Electric Bikes, in The Market Common district of Myrtle Beach, and the East Coast BrewBoat, sailing from the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk, have each powered up new ways to experience the beauty of this area.
The Pedego shop (843-602-6941 or www.pedegomb.com) already has begun its third year in business since opening at 3080 DeVille St., three doors from the Grand 14 Cinema, near a garage with free parking. Rentals of a beach cruiser outfitted with clickers for seven gears, and a battery pack over the rear wheel, start at $20 for an hour, or $75 for eight. Safety stays in focus, so bring your own helmet, or borrow one for free on site.
An hourlong rental on a later Friday afternoon making the rounds across the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base earlier this month brought a ton of sights and sounds on which passers-by in a car might miss out too easily. Remember, though, that bicyclists need to follow rules of the road, such as stopping at signals at stop signs, and using hand signals to indicate turns.
After Aaron Maynard, the store owner, guided the ease of getting on the bike – by swinging the free leg way over the seat, like hopping on the saddle on a horse – a leisurely spin along roads across the old air base, and on the wide sidewalks on Farrow Parkway afforded so many reasons to stop, with disc brakes on both wheels. My memo pad tucked in the pack in front of the handlebars could have written itself for a few pages.
Although the terrain in the area, including Myrtle Beach State Park nearby, is pretty much flat – except for a slight incline on Farrow heading northeastward by Coventry Boulevard – having the option for a motorized push with the turn of the right throttle might help individuals who feel fatigued in a spot or at the end of the ride. Farrow alone goes about 3.6 miles from end to end between Kings Highway and U.S. 17.
Take a pause to peer at all the history preserved at Warbird Park, on the easternmost end of Farrow, which includes several of the more than 160 historical markers the city of Myrtle Beach has posted across parts of the old air base, each packed with tidbits. Anyone who walks by the aircraft viewing area along Myrtle Beach International Airport can rest on any of three benches, and peruse six signs, which highlight such things as former turkey farms on the airfield, where birds were unfazed by the aircraft traffic, and Boston (now Atlanta) Braves farm clubs using tracts for spring training.
The many birds seen and heard elsewhere on this trek included a loggerhead shrike perched atop a street sign near Warbird Park, robins, wrens, cardinals, towhees, killdeer, and red-winged blackbirds trumpeting. Bike lanes run the length of both sides of Howard Parkway, going north from the parking lot by Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Airpark Drive, an area at various times of year where Eastern meadowlarks sing such lovely melodies from deep in the the grassy expanse lining the airport’s west side.
For some electric push, open the throttle, for a maximum speed of 15-20 mph swiftly, then enjoy the coast afterward for a distance. Returning to the shop will bring a relaxed and energized feeling from a journey, which Maynard said local residents and vacationers have each shared as families. He also said an excursion on an electric bikes provide a multitude of feelings for folks who have not taken a two-wheeler out in years.
“It kind of makes you feel like a kid again,” he said, leading into the bikes’ electric option as a value for individuals who cope with knee or hip issues, but want to get out for this free-wheelin’ form of recreation.
A retired U.S. Air Force colonel who first used an electric bike when stationed in London, Maynard said through providing such rentals, and sales of retro-look models with all kinds of colors – down to the fenders – to get people riding, he likes helping customers “change their lives for the better,” especially in a climate that affords this pleasure year round, giving a well-paced workout on one’s mind, breathing, core, and arms and legs.
“It’s a nice cumulative effect,” he said, citing other benefits such as meeting friends, also through group rides he coordinates, such as to the state park, with its own world of wildlife and ocean vistas.
New pastime brewing in Murrells Inlet
The East Coast BrewBoat, based at 4065 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, next to Capt. Dave’s Dockside and Creek Ratz, already has created a buzz with its scenic pastime. Patrons on a one-hour, pontoon cruise along the marshwalk and in creeks, and pedal to turn the boat’s paddle. The vessel has 10 pedaling stations, with other seating for five more riders.
Charlie and Chrissy Mize took the plunge to take delivery from a builder in Oregon of this vessel and christened their own public cruises and private charters in March.
It’s “100 percent green,” Charlie Mize said, citing the solar panels that charge batteries, for the stereo and lights, as well as an outboard motor, if the need for that amenity arises to finish a cruise.
“We always say, how far south we go is up to you,” Mize said. “It can be as easy as you’d like, or as much of a workout, because we can control the resistance by how far we drop the paddle wheel in the water. One thing we will never have to worry about on the BrewBoat is hills.”
The record speed thus far, he said, hit about 8 mph, or 7 knots.
“It takes a lot of effort from everybody,” Mize said, “to get the boat moving that fast.”
Make reservations at 843-213-2610 or brewboatsc.com. Riders bring their own beverages and snacks, but coolers, ice and cups are furnished right in front of the pedaling station cluster. Mize also said to dress for bicycling, especially with steady footwear.
Vacationing last summer and pulling into Portland, Maine, the Mizes first saw such as boat in use.
“We thought,” Charlie Mize said, “that this would be perfect for Murrells Inlet, where we live.”
He said “every day is different” with the groups the Mizes – married for three years – have entertained. One couple tied the knot, Charlie Mize said, by heading up to the bow of the boat out in the inlet, for their ceremony with a friend who was newly ordained to officiate, then “we all celebrated” afterward. Two grandmothers on that cruise kept the boat moving with their cycling.
“They were the best pedalers on that cruise,” Mize said, counting about half the boat’s business as private bookings, also with birthday and bachelorette parties, and neighborhood get-togethers.
The Mizes already have hosted an office meeting, and such outings also can double as “team building” exercises, they said.
Wildlife viewing brings many bonuses, too, such as “some resident bald eagles pretty often” wowing cruise passengers, Charlie Mize said, also thrilled to see sea turtles, dolphins, “a stingray jumping out of the water” two weeks ago, dolphins, and a manatee who arrived in the inlet recently.
The pair, who “bike a lot” on two wheels, he said, also are expecting their firstborn this week, a boy, “so we’ll have another pedaler in the family.”
Some other special ways to see Strand
▪ Myrtle Beach Segway, 2922-A Howard Ave., Myrtle Beach, in The Market Common, near Valor Memorial Garden. Various durations and rates for rentals, and two guided, group tours available by reservation, by meeting at respective site – in North Myrtle Beach, and Huntington Beach State Park, the latter for which a $5 gate entry fee applies. 843-477-0800 or www.mbsegway.com.
▪ Carolina Safari Jeep Tours, across Grand Strand, with pickup site arranged at time of reservation. 843-497-5330 or www.carolinasafari.com.
▪ Capt. Jim Holbert’s “River Memories” tours on all-electric vessel, from Conway Marina, at end of Elm Street, along Waccamaw River, with maximum capacity for eight guests. Narrated, 90-minute, sightseeing cruises 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. $15 ages 13 and older, $10 ages 3-12, and free ages 2 and younger. 843-246-1495 or www.rivermemories.org.
▪ Waccamaw Cooter Airboat Tours and Plantation River Tours, mostly Tuesdays-Saturdays, from Wacca Wache Marina, 1950 Wachesaw Road, Murrells Inlet, along Waccamaw River, west of U.S. 17, between Waccamaw Community Hospital and Brookgreen Gardens. Airboat rides, 45-60 minutes each, for $45 ages 13 and older, otherwise $35; and 2-2.5-hour Waccamaw Lady pontoon cruises by plantations, for $35 ages 13 and older, $20 ages 5-12, and free ages 4 and younger. 843-651-2994 or plantationrivertours.com.
▪ “Pirate Adventures of Myrtle Beach,” geared to families with children, seasonal, on Sea Gypsy, from Murrells Inlet MarshWalk, behind Dead Dog Saloon, 4079 U.S. 17 Business, and The Claw House, 4097 U.S. 17 Business. Daily through Sept. 10, then four times a week through Oct. 29, and Saturdays-Sundays, Nov. 4-18. Regular cruises, about 65 minutes, for plus tax: $25 ages 3 and older (or $17 resident of Horry or Georgetown County, with ID), and $12 ages 1-2. 843-839-4665 or www.myrtlebeachpirates.com.
IN THE AIR
Rides and rates vary:
▪ Myrtle Beach Air Tours, on bi-planes (mbairtours.com), and Executive Helicopters (executiveheli.com), Tuesdays-Saturdays at Grand Strand Airport, 2800 Terminal St., North Myrtle Beach, accessed from 33rd Street South, westward from U.S. 17 and Hawaiian Rumble Golf at corner. 843-427-7351.
▪ OceanFront Helicopters, 3000 S. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, by southeast end of Myrtle Beach International Airport. Daily. 843-946-0022 or www.oceanfront-helicopters.com.
▪ Helicopter Adventures, 1860 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach, west of U.S. 17 Bypass, behind Broadway Grand Prix Family Race Park and across from Broadway at the Beach. Daily. 800-359-4386 (FLY-4FUN) or www.helicopteradventures.com.
▪ Christine Vernon’s “Ghosts, Pirates and Legends” Inlet Cottage and Walking Tour – 45-50 minutes on Murrells Inlet MarshWalk – 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, from Lazy Gator, 3986 U.S. Business 17, Murrells Inlet. $15 cash for ages 9 and older, otherwise free. 843-655-4470. Also, “Ghost Cruise” nearby, aboard East Coast BrewBoat, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 3, for $40, with reservation through brewboatsc.com.
▪ “Ghosts of Georgetown” tours, dusk on Fridays with group of at least five people. $15 ages 13 and older, $8 ages 8-12. 843-543-5777 or www.ghostsofgeorgetown.com.
▪ Walking Shadows Ghost and History Tours, with Ginger Haithcock, in downtown Georgetown. Check times, days and rates at 843-543-5321.
Contact Steve Palisin at 843-444-1764.