As the Charleston community approaches the fifth anniversary of the death of Edwin Gardner, the sixth RIDEdwin on Saturday has evolved from a memorial bike ride to a celebratory ride.
Gardner died on July 23, 2010, days after being struck by a woman in an SUV while he was on his bicycle.
Ever since that first, slow-speed ride held two weeks after his death, hundreds have returned on hot, muggy mornings every third Saturday of July to ride and remember Gardner’s commitment and passion for the community.
Many have said over the years, including Gardner’s widow, Whitney Powers, that Gardner viewed riding his bicycle not as exercise, but as the best way to enjoy the city he called home.
“RIDEdwin is a celebration of Edwin’s life, his love of the bicycle, and the sense of community and connectedness riding a bike for everyday transportation engenders,” says Kurt Cavanaugh, executive director of Charleston Moves, which now organizes the annual event.
Saturday’s 3.5-mile, police-escorted ride starts at 9 a.m. from Cannon Park. It ends there with refreshments.
Considering that this weekend is one of the truly rare ones in Charleston when no races are scheduled, it’s an ideal time for the Charleston Running Club to exercise a little altruism.
On Saturday, 8-10 a.m., the club will be conducting a litter clean-up of the Ben Sawyer causeway between Mount Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island.
The path, among the most popular for running, walking and biking outside of the Cooper River Bridge pedestrian and bike lane, is often strewn with litter, including plastic bags and bottles, plastic foam boxes and cups, and beer and alcohol containers.
That litter often blows into the marsh and floats out to waterways and the sea.
Then, at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Sullivan’s Island Town Hall, the club will present a check for more the $6,000 to the Sullivan’s Island Fire and Rescue Squad from proceeds of consecutive record-breaking registrations for the Floppin’ Flounder 5K races in 2014 and 2015.
Those races drew 393 and 455 finishers, respectively.
Floppin’ Flounder originated with the fire and rescue volunteers before they turned the event over to the club a few years ago.
The running club also uses island streets for the Charlie Post Classic 15K and 5K in January.
Meredith Nelson, the club’s vice president of races and owner of Primetime Fitness on Sullivan’s Island, says the island has “always been so cooperative and generous in working with CRC.”
“We thought this would be a nice way to show our appreciation,” Nelson says.
Last year’s inaugural Charleston Watersports Week has been tweaked and is now Charleston Water Sportsfest.
This year’s event will be Sept. 14-20 and will feature a bigger umbrella covering last year’s featured event, such as the third annual Chuckdown Showdown SUP races on Sept. 19, and some new ones, such as the third annual Kiawah Golf Resort Triathlon on Sept. 20.
The sportsfest, created by the Charleston Area Sports Commission, will feature much more than competitive sports and will also offer recreational, instructive and leisurely activities, all on the water, ranging from dragon boat races to kayak, sunset sailing excursions and waterside yoga classes.
The festival’s expo will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 19 at Brittlebank Park..
Reach David Quick at 937-5516.