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LOWVELO Partners With Holy Spokes, Giving Riders Bike Access For Training And Ride Day

man stands next to a holy spokes bike rack

Want to train and ride in LOWVELO but don’t have a bike? Thanks to the Holy Spokes bike-share program, that’s no longer an obstacle.

A new partnership between LOWVELO, an outdoor bike ride funding cancer research at Hollings Cancer Center, and local bike-share program Holy Spokes will grant registered LOWVELO riders unlimited access to Holy Spokes bikes for next to nothing: $5. The Holy Spokes-LOWVELO membership gives riders access to the entire fleet of 250 Holy Spokes bikes across 26 hubs on the Charleston peninsula for the purpose of LOWVELO training. What’s more, that low-cost membership is good for an entire year.

Holy Spokes Community Manager Ian Palacios says this partnership fits right in with the mission of Gotcha, of which Holy Spokes is the Charleston branch. Gotcha is a Mobility-as-a-Service company focused on sustainable micro-transit.

“I think that it’s really exciting for Holy Spokes to be a part of this because our whole mission is that mobility is for all. Mobility is for everyone. So it’s right on brand, and really in our hearts with exactly what our mission is, and that’s really to get more people on bikes. And what better way to put people on bikes than for cancer research?”

When registering for the membership, riders are also given the option to reserve one of 75 Holy Spokes bikes for Nov. 2, ride day, for riders biking the Sunbelt Rentals 25-mile route. But riders of any route, be it the 25, Boeing 50, or Jerry Zucker 100, will have unlimited access to train on the bikes.

After losing his father to colon and liver cancer six years ago, Palacios says LOWVELO’s mission to eradicate cancer is personal, and he’s seen the value of cancer research firsthand. While fighting cancer in his hometown of Houston, his father participated in a clinical trial. “My dad said, ‘If this works for me, then it’s going to work for everyone.’ And so, he really did provide me that light and unfortunately, his body just wasn’t strong enough, but that was his main goal,” he says. “So it’s very personal to me to be able to look back and see how it’s affected so many people.”

When Palacios learned that there were at least 20 potential riders who simply didn’t have access to bike, a light went off. “I was like, whatever we can do, we have to make it possible,” he says.

Access is a priority for Gotcha Group as a whole, which is why Holy Spokes is strategically placed everywhere from the tip of the peninsula on Broad Street to Mall Playground on the East Side to Hampton Park on the West Side.

Holy Spokes Manager Megan McNamara says that’s why they’re always looking for ways, like LOWVELO, to engage with the community and let people know what’s available for them to use. “I think we have a unique ability to help people move around, and we need to take advantage of that and provide transportation, exercise, and health benefits to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it,” she says. “So, this is an avenue to do that.”

A Holy Spokes-MUSC partnership already in motion gives MUSC students and employees free access to Holy Spokes bikes for up to an hour a day when registering with an musc.edu email address. So, for any MUSC rider, Holy Spokes will switch the membership over, giving them unlimited access to train on the bikes.

Launched in 2017 with MUSC as the title partner, Holy Spokes arrived in the Lowcountry at the same time that Bicycle Magazine named Charleston the worst city in the United States for biking. But Holy Spokes, along with LOWVELO, has a vested interest in changing that reputation.

“I’m confident about the people working with us, like our direct partners, the planning department, and transportation department — they’re very progressive, very open-minded. They’re very much advocates for improving conditions of transportation,” McNamara says. “I know the team we work with is incredibly dedicated to making it easier and safer to move around the city. So I’m optimistic.”

AT A GLANCE

How it works:

  1. Register for LOWVELO.
  2. Download the Social Bicycles app.
  3. Go here to access the Holy Spokes-LOWVELO membership.
  4. Pay $5 for the membership, granting registered LOWVELO riders one year of unlimited access to Holy Spokes bikes.
  5. After the application is reviewed and accepted, you’ll be given a special code.
  6. If rider needs a Holy Spokes bike for ride day, Nov. 2, click the app’s option to reserve in advance.
  7. Riders with existing Holy Spokes plans, like MUSC’s, can email holyspokes@thegotchagroup.com with proof of LOWVELO registration to change membership plan.
  8. Find a bike near you via the map on the Social Bicycles app, use the code given to you when registering with Holy Spokes, and get moving.
  9. Enjoy unlimited ride time while training for LOWVELO, careful to return the bike to a downtown Holy Spokes hub.
  10. When Nov. 2 arrives, the Holy Spokes team will ensure that the 75-strong fleet of bikes awaits riders (with a bike reservation) at the Riverfront Park start line.
  11. Continue to enjoy unlimited bike access until the one-year Holy Spokes-LOWVELO membership is up.


Who’s eligible:

  • Anyone registered for the LOWVELO Sunbelt Rentals 25, Boeing 50, or Jerry Zucker 100-mile routes can train for a year for $5 using the Holy Spokes-LOWVELO membership. Virtual riders are also eligible.
  • Riders tackling the Sunbelt Rentals 25-mile route are eligible to reserve a Holy Spokes bike for ride day, Nov. 2.

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