SOUTH CAROLINA (WCSC) - A team of youth cyclists are stopping in Charleston to pay respects to the victims of the Mother Emanuel church shooting as part of their two-week ride over 700 miles on a Path to Freedom Tour. They plan to arrive around 3 p.m.
The cyclists range from middle school to college-aged students, consisting of 21 students and 12 adult coaches. They are traveling from Durham, NC to St. Augustine, FL.
Their mission is to celebrate the region's defining creole culture and to support the economy of its South Atlantic residents living along the coast.
While in Charleston, they also plan to do a service project for Wings for Kids from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wings for Kids is an educational program designed to instruct children in appropriate behavior, strategies to making good decisions, and building healthy relationships.
"De Paat ta Freedum Tour," as it is said in the Gullah dialect, will take the travelers on a journey along the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. This natural heritage area covers territory across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
The cyclists anticipate traveling 26 to 80 miles each day, stopping to visit colleges and other educational institutions, including the Penn Center on St. Helena Island.
"Spoke'n Revolutions Youth Cycling is delighted to continue doing its part in the effort to expose youth to the beauty and wonders of the National Park system," said Coach Kevin Hicks of Triangle Bikeworks' Spoke'n Revolutions, who initiated the idea for the Gullah Geechee Tour. "In bringing young cyclists to the home of one of America's most unique cultures, this will certainly be one of our most enriching and exciting tours."
In August of 2014 the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission formed a partnership with the East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA), the organization leading the effort to complete a 2,900-mile biking and walking trail that connects Maine with Florida. The East Coast Greenway overlaps with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor through coastal North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
"This is the launch of a bike tour that we hope will interest cyclists and families from across the nation and will help promote the rich culture of Gullah Geechee people," said Coach Atiba Mbiwan, a 20-year volunteer with the BRAG Dream Team. "We can see the tour happening year after year."