Archive for July, 2010

Day 1 – Charleston, SC to Walterboro, SC

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Computer Stats:
Miles – 62.5
Avg. Speed – 14.2

We were up early this morning packing and re-checking all of our gear before we set of to ride in Edwin Gardner‘s memorial ride. It seemed like every cyclist in Charleston showed up to honor Edwin’s life, and we were happy to be part of such a beautiful ceremony. Over 400 riders rode from Cannon Park to the Battery, where they were met by a team of kayakers. Everyone threw flowers into the Atlantic… Really was a special moment.

After the ride we found our families, and said our goodbyes. Three months isn’t that long, but when you’re doing something vast and dangerous, three months seems more significant.

A few hugs and many tears later, we finally rolled out of Charleston around eleven thirty (much later than anticipated) and headed West of the Ashley River on Highway 61. (The Bob Dylan reference isn’t lost on me.) As soon as we crossed into West Ashley, three miles down the road, Landon’s tube burst! Luckily, thanks to the bike gods above, Keith, from the Bicycle Shoppe happened to be behind us and was there to set it all right.Thank you Keith!

We got back on the saddle and cruised for thirty miles through the forest along a small two lane highway with no shoulder and Spanish Moss covered Oaks. The shade was lovely, but the endless stream of pick-ups floating by wasn’t so settling. I guess that’s just something we’ll have to get used to.

After a long stint through the shade, and a whole lot of road with nowhere to stop, we turned onto I-17S Alternate. Twenty five more miles on shoulderless two lane country highways and we rolled into Walterboro. The Fire Station didn’t have beds, so we’re at “The Royal Inn” for the night.

First day under our belt, and we’re feeling good… Lesson’s learned, and miles subtracted from the total. More to come tomorrow.

Also as you may have seen, our GPS is malfunctioning… We’re working on it!

It Begins!

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

We’re leaving this morning! Our 4,000 mile bike ride across America to spread the word about child sexual abuse prevention starts today in Charleston, SC and will end in late October in Los Angeles, California. We’ll be riding from Charleston to Walterboro today (50 miles or so) through the back roads of South Carolina.

More to come this afternoon…

Local bicyclist heads across the country for a good cause

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

By Paul Pavlich, Special to The Post and Courier
Thursday, July 29, 2010

On Saturday, Tyler Gilliam will lead a crew of cyclists on a trek across the country in the hopes of raising $10 a mile for Darkness to Light.

The Charleston-based organization was founded by Ann Lee to educate people about the prevention of child sexual abuse. The riders hope to raise $40, 000 that will go towards scholarships that the organization gives out. He calls the cross-country trip “Pedal for Prevention.”

Gilliam started working with the organization as an unpaid intern a little over a year ago when he was looking for a job other than the food and beverage industry. He met Lee through his job and she helped him get his foot in the door.

Tyler came up with the idea for Pedal for Prevention as a solo ride across the country, but some compassionate souls decided to join him on the journey.

His longtime friend, Landon Phillips, was the first recruit. Shortly thereafter, Mike Allen, Gilliam’s friend from Scotland, decided to come over to the states and accompany the two Charleston men on the ride.

This trio hasn’t had trouble finding corporate sponsorship. The Bicycle Shoppe on Meeting Street provided them with Fuji road bikes as well as additional funds for the excursion. Other sponsors include Cupcake, Jack’s Cosmic Dogs, M. Dumas and Sons, Five Loaves Cafe and the Holy City Bike Co-Op.

The Charleston County Fire Department is not only backing the trip with sponsorship, but has also contacted fire departments across the country so that Gilliam and the gang will have places to sleep on their expedition.

The three-month trip will start in Charleston at the end of July and will finish up in Los Angeles sometime around Halloween. The projected route takes them through South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and down the Pacific Coast of California, spanning more than 4,200 miles.

There is a kick-off event in Marion Square to bid the bikers farewell at 4-7 p.m. Friday. Food will be provided by Jack’s Cosmic Dogs and Cupcake, and the V-Tones will be providing music for entertainment. The family-friendly send-off will have balloon animals, face painting and other attractions.

The cyclists will upload photos and blog posts with the occasional video on their website,, to keep followers updated on their travels and their whereabouts.

Those who would like to help can also make cash donations towards the cause on the website as well. The bike trip is an expansive physical feat, but Gilliam wants to let everyone know that the purpose is much deeper than that. “The cause is the main reason we’re doing it,” he said. “The bike is just a means of conveyance.”

A Tribute & A Sobering Reminder

Monday, July 26th, 2010

This morning at a radio interview, Landon and I found out that over the weekend, Charlestonian, Edwin Gardner was hit and killed by a car while riding his bike home from rowing in the Ashley River. I never knew Edwin well personally, but his brightness and joy were contagious as soon as you saw his face. Always smiling, I never once saw Edwin about town without his 11 year old daughter Olive by his side. The two were always laughing together, inseparable, and my heart aches to think of Olive’s loss.

Edwin’s death has gripped me with sorrow, and it has also provided a sobering reminder of how dangerous our trip will be. It would be foolish to expect to ride over 4,000 miles across America on a bike without incident, but I don’t know that there’s anyway to prepare yourself for what may happen. Cars are big, they’re fast, they’re hard, and last but not least, they’re driven by people… It only takes a second’s lack of concentration for a driver to make a car a deadly object. I only hope that luck smiles on us, and that Landon, Mike and myself make it across safely.

I don’t know that what we’re doing would have the same significance if there was no danger associated with it. I can only hope that our risk will at least keep one child from being sexually abused.

And in the end that’s the reality of our journey. We’re hoping to raise $40,000 to help prevent child sexual abuse, but even if we don’t raise a dime our trip will be a glowing success if one child, somewhere, doesn’t have to endure the pain of sexual abuse because of what we’re doing.

I send my regards and thoughts to Edwin’s family, and a thank you to Edwin for his brightness and inspiration. You will be missed.


Positive Perspective and What’s in a Name

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

First, I just want to let everyone know that I’ve gotten a new bike! I tweeted the good news about a week ago, but neglected to mention it on our blog. The police weren’t able to locate our old one.

Positive Perspective… This morning on my ride across the infamous Aurthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge I was feeling pretty beat up. A tired body, sore legs and nerves were all leaning heavily on me. I really just did not want to be on the saddle.

Luckily though, as I was charging my way back up the bridge for my sixth lap, I had a revelation. “It’s really just all about keeping a positive perspective.” For three months we’ll be completely and utterly entrenched in the details of a 4,000 mile bike ride. Saddle sores, bad maps, rain, sun, hunger, flat tires and hills will all be working hard to beat us down, and frankly when I think about the possibilities it sounds pretty rough.

But then it hit me, what could be better than getting to ride a bike as your job for three months?! Isn’t a bike technically a toy? It’s in Toys R US, and every kid wants a bike for at least one Christmas. When I was a child if someone had offered me the option of a bike ride or a stint at a school desk I would’ve never learned to read! Thank you Cooper River Bridge for helping realize that I’m happy to have “bike problems” be my biggest worry.

So that’s enough of my rant about perspective, I’m beginning to sound like one of those inspirational posters…

In other news, I’m starting a “bike naming contest”, and giving you the chance to name my bike. I’m posting an announcement on Facebook and any comment with a name will be entered into a random drawing. We’ll also be accepting nominations through Twitter. Submissions close at midnight on Thursday night, and we’ll announce the official name at our Kick-Off Event in Marion Square on July 3o. We will also be shipping a “limited edition”
Pedal for Prevention t-shirt to whoever submits the winning entry!