When Bike to Nature's staffers pool together their roadside fixes and in-shop projects, it adds up to more than 40 years of collective experience. The shop recently relocated across the street from its previous location to a new facility that expands about 4,400 square feet, or twice the size of the former space. Here, the crew stocks a large inventory of new bikes and bike parts to meet any cycling need, whether bikers are interested in commuting, racing, or extraterrestrial advocacy. Biking apparel maximizes riders' sleek speed, and sports-nutrition products such as recovery sports drinks deliver electrolytes, muscle-soothing glutamine, and laboratory-synthesized adrenaline directly into biker's bodies.
Tune-ups and repair services range from quick fixes such as changing a tire to full-body customizations. Bike to Nature's technicians also help patrons learn to repair their own bikes using a precisely measured blend of elbow grease and magic words, and can reveal the best local spots for scenic rides.
Designed by prolific course architect Willard Byrd, Timberlake Country Club's 18-hole course plots a 6,579-yard trail across a Lake Murray peninsula as it dips southward into the glassy waters. Picturesque views of the lake abound throughout the round—because of its proximity to the lake, the club offers free docking and shore-side pickup for those who wish to arrive by boat or seahorse—and the supersized pool's watery fingers come into play on seven holes. Rounds culminate with dramatic flair at the signature 18th hole, a 483-yard par 5 where a mid-fairway water hazard looms on the business end of a blind tee shot, raising the stakes for players who unsheathe their driver in the hopes of reaching the green in two.
Alongside the grassy course, neon yellow orbs slice through the air at Timberlake Country Club's tennis courts, where tennis pro Mark Gardiner teaches students to hit a forehand passing shot or incite an earthquake with a deafening grunt. The club also houses diverse dining facilities to curb appetites or host social events.
At its two Columbia locations, Plex Indoor Sports aims to provide complete indoor recreation with artificial-turf fields, ice arenas, inflatables, basketball courts, family entertainment center, and full-service cafe. Both facilities offer after-school programs providing access to soccer, football, and lacrosse programs, ensuring that children learn the proper techniques required to work toward goals and play safely. Total-fitness classes are also available throughout the week, highlighting invigorating methods such as yoga, Zumba, and hip-hop aerobics. The Sandhills location hosts a roller-skating rink, and the Irmo location houses an NHL regulation-sized ice rink with public skate times in between hockey games and practice sessions of the local ice-fishing team.
A 30-foot rock-climbing wall towers over the Family Entertainment Center, granting visitors an elevated view of a facility packed with wall-to-wall inflatables and family activities. Visitors can roller skate, set new high scores at the arcade, or attempt to stay atop a mechanical bull. Other attractions include bungee jumping, a rock-n-roll ride, and more.
Play It Again Sports bedecks kids and adults with new and gently used high-end athletic armor so they can kick, swing, and punt with gusto. New inventory arrives every day, and the friendly staff can lead quality seeking shoppers through the top brands that line the spacious storefront shelves, including TaylorMade, Nike, and Adidas, among others. Sink far-reaching holes-in-one or knock the top hats off haughty pelicans with a set of Titleist NXT tour golf balls ($25). Little pros can fetch fly balls with an Easton Black Magic fielder's glove ($29.99), distract errant butterflies with a Head H110 tennis racket ($30), or buff up with assorted Lifeline core strength-training equipment ($30).
The mechanics at Cycle Center outfit bike enthusiasts with custom equipment fittings, expert tune-ups, and a rolling stock of more than 500 bicycles dispersed between the company's two locations. In the interest of both safety and performance, the team makes sure all bikes are carefully assembled and tuned up before the rubber meets the road. They also stock an impressive lineup of apparel and gear, from air pumps that keep tires aptly inflated to helmets that keep heads more protected than a presidential motorcade covered in mosquito netting. In-stock brands include Fuji, Cannondale, and Dahon, a manufacturer renowned for its revolutionary folding bikes.
The Backpacker––a locally owned shop that was named Best Outdoors/Camping Gear Store by the Free Times––outfits people with the rugged apparel and equipment they need to explore the great outdoors. It stocks top-notch labels such as The North Face, Patagonia, and Columbia Sportswear. Women can keep warm in a lightweight Patagonia ReTool Snap-T pullover ($119), which has pockets for warming hands and stowing marbles, and men can heat their torsos with a North Face Atlas Triclimate jacket ($229), which is designed to protect its wearer in all three of Earth’s climates: cold, tropical, and glum. When jumping in puddles, don a pair of the Merrell Chameleon 3 Ventilator GTX ($130), which sports waterproof leather and fabric and has a toe bumper and air cushion for midsole support. An ample selection of hats and gloves is always available, as are tents and backpacks, but if you need help conceptualizing the gear necessary for a special expedition, such as swimming in a pit of caramel, the friendly staff is more than willing to answer questions and give advice.