Mount Pleasant man riding one-gear bike from Rock Hill to NYC

Jay White is re-creating his great-grandfather's ride from Rock Hill to New York starting Saturday. Provided

Four days into an 800-mile, one-speed bike journey from Rock Hill to New York City, a 47-year-old Mount Pleasant man has already reached the Virginia state line.

On Saturday, Jay White embarked on the ride to commemorate the 75th anniversary of his great grandfather doing the same trip in 1939 when the World's Fair was in the Big Apple.

His great grandfather, James Spratt White II, did the ride to promote both Rock Hill and the cycling community. A sign on his bike read, "Rock Hill, Good Town, SC." The 61-year-old rode his favorite bike, a 1937 Columbia model that he named "Old Betsy."

"The story of his bicycle trip has been known and talked about widely around Rock Hill for years. I never knew him, but my father did. He (Jay's great grandfather) died when my dad was about 10 or 11 years old. He owned a bicycle shop in Rock Hill his entire life so he was a big fan of cycling.

White says he also plans to promote Rock Hill and cycling, though "the only real business I am promoting is the outfit, 'Historic Rock Hill.'"

To prepare for the ride, White said he trained "simply riding around Charleston, which although is not hilly (it) is certainly windy,"

While riding, White wears "normal bike wear." But when he makes appearances in towns along the way, he goes into 1939 mode, putting on period clothes, On Monday, he posed for photographs with Raleigh, N.C., Mayor Nancy McFarlane.

And while he going old school on the bike and his appearance attire, White's documentation of his ride is thoroughly modern. He has a website and is posting updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Reach David Quick at 937-5516.