True confession. Some bridges scare me these days. It wasn’t always that way. But maybe I was always in awe of the idea. This time I am faced with the challenge almost daily of engaging with them.
It’s complicated because they can be both challenging and satisfying. I mean crossing over anything that spans two bodies is worthy of respect. Being in my own funk these days and in the south, my mind kept coming back to James Brown, “The Godfather of Soul.”
He’s famous for the line “Take me to the bridge.” Of course, who knows what he was talking about exactly? But the Google consensus is that he was doing a musical shift to his horn section bridging the way the song was going. I keep thinking of him sliding across the floor and his guttural “Hey” with horns blasting and then the music stops and all goes back to the rythum.
Well I’ve had my share of heart stopping bridges where I try to remember James while I plow on. The Seven Mile bridge with 4 ft narrow shoulder for 7 miles.
The bridge Broad River Bridge near Beaufort which is over 500 feet high and nearly 2 miles long was a monster at the end of a 60-mile day.
But Charleston threw some new challenges out to me today.
I was staying on James Island just below Charleston. It had a fairly small draw bridge with metal grating that needed to be crossed to get off the island then another similar draw bridge with all the traffic fury of the Rt 17 morning rush. These bridges are tricky in normal conditions, but can be extremely slippery after the rain we had the day before. I decided to get off the bike and walk it, except there was no place to walk tbe bike. So, I had to piss off a lot rush hour drivers. Harrowing? Yes.
Then, soon after ending up in the city of Charleston I made my way thru to the “Big Bridge” aka Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, which I knew nothing about. It’s a 2.7 mile span peaking around 500 feet with a commanding view of Charleston. Viewing this from the bike from afar at 7:00 am led me to an “Oh s__t!” moment. But, as I got closer I found that it was designed with protection for cyclist and pedestrians! Sweet Baby Jesus, there was nothing to fear and much to admire and awe. It might just be the most beautiful bridge I have ever crossed!
Today, I hear there are two bridges here in Georgetown to cross as I start my way to Myrtle Beach. I cringe a bit but Joseph, my Airbnb host, says you can always walk it. He’s right and I just might do that and Georgetown is a much more chill place. At least I’ll get it over in the morning and lose that anxiety for the rest of the day.
Let the spirit of James “Take me to the Bridge” Bump, bump, bump, bump, bump.