Valentine's Day: Cycling Gifts to a Cyclist's Heart

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Are you looking for the perfect gift to get the cyclist you love for Valentine’s Day? We’ve got you covered! Check out our gift guide that will surely win over the heart of that special cyclist in your life.

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Weekend Getaway a The Swamp Rabbit Inn

Take the cyclist in your life on a trip to Greenville, SC for a cycling vacation and stay at the most bike-friendly inns around. With two locations situated along the famous 22-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail, The Swamp Rabbit Inn and Properties are perfect for in-town or out-of-town cyclists eager for a cycling centered getaway.

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DeFeet Sublimation 6” Love Letter Socks - $19.99

These unisex DeFeet Love Letter socks are a limited edition design that is only available for a limited time. Gift the cyclist you love these before they’re gone!

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Dinner at Restaurant 17 at Hotel Domestique

You can never go wrong with a nice dinner. If you’e aiming to impress the cyclist you love with an evening out for Valentine’s Day, take them to Restaurant 17 at Hotel Domestique owned by none other than George Hincapie himself.

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“I Love Cycling Thiiis Much” Coffee Mug - $16+

As we all know, cyclists love their coffee. Give your cycling love a gift with a personal touch with this “I Love Cycling Thiiis Much” mug. You choose the face, skin color, hair color, and the language you want the message in.

Cycology “All You Need” T-shirt ( Men’s / Women’s ) - $22.95

Just as the song goes—well, almost—all you need is a bike! Show your love of bikes with this “All You Need” t-shirt from Cycology. Styles, colors, and sizes vary.

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Paul Smith Men’s Gold Racing Bike Cufflinks - $125

If you’re looking for something more on the fancy side, these Paul Smith cufflinks are perfect for when dress codes don’t allow jerseys and tights. The cufflinks in the form of racing bikes have a polished gold finish and Paul Smith signature embossed T-bar fastenings.

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Wanderlust Bicycle Necklace - $240

You can never go wrong with jewelry. Handmade in the UK, this Wanderlust Bicycle Necklace is made from sterling silver, plated with 22ct Gold, with Ruby and Diamond.

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Bike Chain Frame - $36-38

Give the gift of memory this Valentine’s Day with a picture of you and the one you love fitted in to this Bike Chain Frame. These metal frames are handmade in Oregon from recycled bike parts. Measurements are 4x6 frame: 6.5" H x 4.5" W 5x7 frame: 7.5" H x 5.5" W.

However you spend it, we hope you enjoy your Valentine’s Day with those you love!

A New Way to Explore Greenville, South Carolina

Looking for an early Spring getaway? Not sure what to do for Valentine’s and no time to plan?

We’ve got you covered. Plan a Greenville, South Carolina getaway to the Swamp Rabbit Inn and experience a Foothill Foodie Tour.

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If you believe the groundhog or if you don’t, one thing’s for sure, Spring is definitely on its way to Greenville. Our fabled weather friend the Groundhog predicted we’ll have an early Spring and it seems the stars are already aligning. Take a stroll around downtown Greenville, South Carolina, and you’ll see the leaves and buds of daffodils starting to burst forth. It’s the perfect time to visit and learn more about this little Southern city everyone is so smitten with.

No sure what to do when you arrive and need the perfect Valentine’s idea? Rest easy, literally. We’ve got you covered. Book your Swamp Rabbit Inn stay and book a Foothill Foodie Tour. What is a Foothill Foodie Tour? Well, we think it might be the best way for tourists and locals alike to experience the people and food and drink creations that make Greenville, South Carolina so special.

We started at the Trappe Door on Washington Street in downtown Greenville, South Carolina

We started at the Trappe Door on Washington Street in downtown Greenville, South Carolina

We started our Friday evening in downtown Greenville with the Vine, Stein and Shine Tour. We met our Tour Guide, Rose, the owner of Foothill Foodie Tours, on the steps of Trappe Door at 4pm. Even on a typical January afternoon, it was pleasant enough to stand on the steps and chat outside while we waited for our group. Once inside Trappe Door, it was time for our tour to begin. Trappe Door is literally an underground bar, and you’ll feel you’ve been transported to another time and place. The Belgian style pub is well-known for its happy hour, delicious food, unique beer selection, and it’s one of our favorite spots for Sunday Funday.

We sampled four of Trappe Door’s current beer offerings, fresh on the heels of their sold out Biggest Little Beer Fest. We learned about the source of the brews, the recipe for perfecting them, and made sure we were well prepared for our entire tour by snacking on fresh made Belgian fries with Trappe Door’s signature dips.

If the start of our Foothill Foodie Tour was any indication, this was going to be the best Friday yet.

Beer flight and Belgian fries and signature dips at Trappe Door, Greenville South Carolina

Beer flight and Belgian fries and signature dips at Trappe Door, Greenville South Carolina

Our next stop on the Vine, Stein and Shine tour focused on the vine. We entered Jerky and Vine and were both pleasantly surprised to discover a little known, well-stocked wine shop, gift shop, and “Public House.”

Jerky and Vine of course has beef jerky (they make their own!), but most Greenville residents and visitors alike miss the gem of this location in the wine selection.

Second stop on our tour was Jerky & Vine on Main Street in Greenville, South Carolina

Second stop on our tour was Jerky & Vine on Main Street in Greenville, South Carolina

If you’re a wine lover or just want to talk shop with a guy who knows his stuff, you’ve got to visit Jerky & Vine. We were absolutely astounded at the wine and chocolate pairings and our local hosts knowledge of the varietals, their regions, and the winemakers. Wines were paired with local chocolates from Cocobon in Anderson, South Carolina. We tasted red and white varietals and may have been most surprised by the delicacy of the bacon infused chocolate paired with a rich red wine.

Inside Jerky & Vine you’ll find McBee V’s Public House, with happy hour special, beer and wine by the glass, and the perfect selection to take back to the Swamp Rabbit Inn for your nightcap. Who knew learning about wine making could be so interesting, and so accessible in downtown Greenville, South Carolina?

Wine and chocolate pairing at Jerky & Vine

Wine and chocolate pairing at Jerky & Vine

Our next stop was Dark Corner Distillery, also located on Main Street in Greenville. Dark Corner Distillery, named after the region’s nickname for over 175 years, is a craft micro-distillery producing small batches of Moonshine, aged whiskey, gin, absinthe, and other spirits in Greenville. Our experience at Dark Corner was educational and delicious, as we learned the process behind making each of our selections, plus recipes and serving ideas. We aren’t going to lie, you won’t leave Dark Corner without taking a few bottles home with you. Even if you think whiskey and Moonshine aren’t your thing, you might find a new favorite during the Dark Corner Distillery stop.

Our final stop was the perfect end to the happiest hours we’ve had in downtown Greenville in quite some time. We stepped just next door to Crepe du Jour to experience the offerings of this creperie and bar with authentic European style. We ended our tour with sweet crepes stuffed with strawberries and almond cream and a champagne cocktail. However, we discovered the menu at Crepe du Jour features savory crepes perfect for any time of day, and the bar is a bright cozy spot for grabbing a drink on a night out.

The energetic and bright interior of Crepe du Jour.

The energetic and bright interior of Crepe du Jour.

Our Vine, Stein and Shine tour of downtown Greenville, South Carolina with Foothill Foodie Tours was unique and educational. We learned things about the people and places in Greenville we never would have discovered on our own. Foothill Foodie Tours makes it easy to turn your Swamp Rabbit Inn stay into an experience, and leaves you hungry (and thirsty) for more of Greenville and its welcoming people.

Enter our contest to win a free one night stay at the Inn, plus a bike rental and a Foothill Foodie Tour.

You’ll find the contest post on our Instagram and Facebook pages, but you only have until Monday, February 4 to enter. Ready to book your own February getaway? Take advantage of low Winter rates at our downtown Greenville Inn, and then reserve your Foothill Foodie Tour.

Weekend getaway planning? Done.

Beneficial Stretches for Cyclists

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Stretch it out before you cycle out. Just as you would for any other workout or physical activity, you should always stretch beforehand to avoid muscle injury. Your muscles need to warm up before you put them through any strenuous activity like cycling. It’s also important to stretch afterwards. This helps reduce the chances of next day sore muscles that can last for days—nobody wants that!

Feel free to perform any number of stretches you’re familiar with, however, we recommend these targeted stretches for cyclists:

1.) Lying Leg Over Stretch—helps to relieve tightness in thighs

  • Lie on your back with both arms stretched out to the sides—palms up.

  • Bend your right leg. Bring your left hand across to grip your right knee and bring it across your body.

  • Push your right knee as far to the ground as you can with your left hand.

  • Repeat with left leg and right hand.

2.) Kneeling Quad Stretch—helps to stretch hips, quads, and lower back

  • Begin half-kneeling on the ground; right leg bent out in front of you and left leg extended behind you.

  • Push your hips forward and arch your back slightly.

  • You can do any of the following with your hand:

    • Interlace your fingers together and push out in front of you.

    • Interlace your fingers and stretch up over your head.

    • Rest both hands on your knee.

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3.) Pigeon Pose—helps to open hips

  • Sit with your right leg bent in front of you and your left leg extended behind you.

  • Square your hips to the front.

  • Bend forward, and either extend both arms out in front of you—stretching as far as you can go—or rest both forearms on the floor in front of you.

  • You can also walk your arms back to position them slightly behind you—elbows bent and hands facing the front—and arch your back.

  • Repeat with left leg bent in front of you and your right leg extended behind you.

4.) Calf Raises—helps to relieve tension and tightness in calves

  • Position your feet shoulder width apart.

  • Place your hands either against a wall or sturdy object.

  • Raise up on to your tiptoes. Hold for a few seconds, then lower back down.

  • Repeat 15-25 times per set.

Obviously, cycling asks a lot from the muscles situated in the lower-half of the body. Any stretches that target your calves, thighs and gluts will benefit you greatly. Now don’t forget those upper-body areas that are put to work as well. Be sure to stretch out your shoulders, triceps, and biceps. So the next time you go to clip-in for a ride, pause to make sure you’ve taken the time to stretch it out before you cycle out!

Solo-Cyclists: What to Know Before Your First Group Ride

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For anyone accustomed to solo activities, the idea of jumping in on group ones can be a bit daunting. The uncertainty of the routine, the rules, the people … it can be a lot to take in. Solo-cyclists—who are used to riding their own routes and to their own routines—might feel the same way about their first group ride. If this is you, don’t fret! Here’s what solo-cyclists should know before their first group ride.

Pacing Yourself is Key

It’s not a race. Don’t feel like you need to show off by remaining in the lead longer than you’re able. If you’re starting to struggle—even if it’s only been less than a minute—peel off and position yourself at the back. If you feel the front is not your cup of tea, allow riders peeling off from the front to position themselves in front of you in the pace line. Jump back in at some point if you feel like trying again, but remember: it’s your first group ride. Work your way up to maintaing that lead position instead of burning out trying to maintain it on your first try.

Plan Ahead of Time

It never hurts to do your research or reach out with questions. Many local groups have websites or social media accounts where they post information, updates, and contact options. Inquire about anything from the planned route to the ride schedule to the type of ride it is. If you let them know it’s your first time, they may even provide some insight on how to navigate their groups’ system. This could also easily help determine which groups you might be better suited for than others.

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Understand Group Ride Positioning

If you’re in a group ride that has riders riding in a single line, make sure you’ve practiced how to hold a line. This means you know how to ride parallel with the road. In group rides that have riders in two lines, make sure you are always riding side by side with the rider next to you. Your handlebars should align with theirs and you should never attempt to half-wheel them. It’s annoying and unsafe. This practice ensures that you and every other rider in the group has enough room to move, and can easily communicate with one another.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Always stay attentive for the sake of you and your group. Riders at the front can clearly see what’s up ahead and should signal any obstacles to the rest of the group. Riders at the back are the first to sense what is coming at them from behind and should communicate such to the group ahead. Environmental factors outside the group are not the only things to be mindful of. Pay attention to what’s happening within the group, so you can react properly. If a gap forms within the pace line, fill it. If the rider in front of you quickly steers around a pothole, you’ll know to do so too. If the front rider in your line is peeling off to come to the back, either pull through or give them space to get in front of you.

Knowing a few of the rules to group riding will not only help to relieve anxiety, but also help keep you and your fellow group riders safe. Don’t worry about being the newbie. Be proud of yourself for getting out there and challenging yourself to a change of pace. Happy riding!

Swamp Rabbit Inn Travelers Rest Hits the Big Time

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Swamp Rabbit Inn and Properties has hit the big time folks! The Swamp Rabbit Inn location in Travelers Rest was used as part of a movie set this past summer and is now officially listed as a filming location on IMDb (Internet Movie Database). Ethos Movies - a motion picture production company located in Greer, South Carolina - was scouting locations for it’s upcoming film Operation Resist when it came across the Swamp Rabbit Inn in Traveler’s Rest. Swamp Rabbit Inn and Properties happily welcomed the studio and film crew with open arms, and we’re all very eager for the release of Operation Resist.

Founder James Moran started Ethos Movies back in 1995-1996 as a student project with forty-five cast volunteers, fifteen crew members, a few hundred dollars and a super VHS camera. It has since grown into a privately owned motion picture production company that strives to produce feature films, commercial productions, educational productions, and historical documentaries that both inform and educate audiences.

See below for the film summary from Ethos’ website and the first mini trailer:

During the reign of the Nazis, a Jewish girl named Miriam survives a home invasion by fascist soldiers. Miriam finds allies among a secret branch of the Resistance, and together, they work fearlessly on a courageous escape plan. This intense family-friendly action movie pays tribute to the courageous resistance community who risked their lives during the Holocaust era to protect the lives of the innocent.

You will find The Swamp Rabbit Inn Travelers Rest listed on the Supporters page of Ethos’ website here. The world premiere of Operation Resist is set for April 19, 2019 in Washington D.C. Subscribe here for updates on when and how to see the film. We can’t wait!