Monday, December 9, 2019

December 9: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

  • Saturday, Dec. 14: QBE Shootout 5K. Proceeds to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Tiburón Golf Club, Naples (
  • Saturday, Dec. 14: Naples Christmas Glow Run 5K. Run on paths lined with thousands of lights and dozens of lighted characters! Add to the excitement and fun by running or walking with glowing decorations. Runners will have the choice of running in the Competitive Wave that has a 30 minute time limit or have fun with family and friends in the non competitive wave. Sugden Regional Park, Naples (
  • Sunday, Dec. 15: Naples Distance Classic 5K/10K/Half Marathon, Eagle Lakes Community Park, Naples (
  • Sunday, Dec. 15: Jingle Bell 5K. Join us on December 15 for our 3rd annual Jingle Bell 5K! We’ll have live music, food, and drinks. Babcock Ranch ( or
  • Saturday, Dec. 21: Marco 5 Mile Hill Run, Marco Island (
  • Jan. 5: Hooters River, Roots and Ruts 10-mile and 5K run, Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva (
  • Jan. 11: Pine Island Kiwanis Club Calusa 5K, Pine Island ( 
  • Jan. 18: Run to Home Base 5K run/walk, 1 mile walk and kids dash, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers ( 
  • Jan. 19: Naples Daily News Half Marathon, Naples ( 
  • Jan. 25: BUG Chase 5K run/walk, Calusa Nature Center, Fort Myers ( 
  • Jan. 25: Run for the Paws 5K, to benefit the Collier Humane Society (
  • Feb. 1: Strides for Education 5K Run/Walk, Florida Southwestern Stats College (
  • Feb. 1: Running Water 5K, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (
  • Feb. 16: Paradise Coast Half Marathon/5K, North Collier Regional Park (
  • For more running events visit;; and

  • Monday, Dec. 9: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers ( 
  • Tuesday, Dec. 10: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (
  • Saturday, Dec. 14: Sanibel Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. (
  • Sunday, Dec. 15: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit ( for details.
  • Friday, Dec. 20: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. (
  • Friday, Dec. 27: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:00 p.m., start at 7:30 p.m. at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (; Florida Mudcutters (; and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (
  • Tuesday, Dec. 17: 2019 Christmas Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Dr., Naples (
  • Sunday, Jan. 5: HITS Sarasota Tri, with sprint/Olympic/half distances, Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota (  
  • Check to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Cape Coral retains Bronze level of bike friendliness

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, December 5, 2019
by Ken Gooderham

The latest rankings of Bike Friendly Cities (and more) are out, and Cape Coral (the only local community whose ranking was up for review this fall) retained its Bronze level of bike friendliness. It joins three other Southwest Florida communities honored for bike friendliness: Sanibel (gold), Venice (silver) and Naples (bronze).

Why is this a big deal?

It’s independent: The ranking is done by the League of American Bicyclists, formed in 1880 to promote the newfangled transportation mode known as cycling. The group established the criteria, handles the judging and confirms conditions on the ground.

It’s quantifiable: For its five levels of friendliness, the League established metrics in five areas… its “Five Es”:
  • Engineering: Creating safe and convenient places to ride and park.
  • Education: Giving people of all ages and abilities the skills and confidence to ride.
  • Encouragement: Creating a strong bike culture that welcomes and celebrates bicycling.
  • Enforcement: Ensuring safe roads for all users.
  • Evaluation & Planning: Planning for bicycling as a safe and viable transportation option.
It’s achievable: Communities are told where they rank in a number of preset categories, and are given suggestions on how to move up to the next level to boot.

For example, for Cape Coral the “Steps to Silver” include more (and more nuanced) bike facilities, a look at speed limits, more bike parking throughout the community, encouraging bike commuting and safety for young riders, establishing a Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee for the city and enhanced data collection.

However, the way the program is matrixed communities can quickly and easily see the points of progress up the scale of friendliness. FYI: the five levels mentioned above run from Bronze to Silver to Gold to Platinum (five of those nationwide) to Diamond (which no one has met… yet).

The Bike Friendly Community program, established in 1995, currently recognizes 488 communities for their commitment to bike safety, plus almost 100 more who earn Honorable Mentions for beginning the steps to win a BFC ranking.

This year also brings the biennial Bike Friendly State rankings – and Florida ranked No. 10 overall!

Since the state is ranked the most dangerous for pedestrians (according to Smart Growth America’s 2019 rankings), with eight of the 10 most pedestrian-dangerous metro areas (including Cape Coral-Fort Myers at No. 8), a decent showing for bike friendliness is a bit of a surprise.

What pushes Florida up the rankings is its spending on infrastructure (tops in the nation) and its policies and programs (fourth in the country). Holding the stat back is its ranking for evaluation and planning (particularly bike/ped safety) and for legislation and enforcement (winning a D for laws restricting bicyclists and pedestrians).

As with the communities, the League offers advice and ideas for improvement, along with kudos for past successes. One hopes information plus incentives inspires improvement.

There also are rankings for Bike Friendly Businesses and Bike Friendly Universities, each of course with its own metrics.

Local business ranks by the League:
  • Acme Bicycle Shop, Punta Gorda – gold
  • Real Bikes Venice – gold
  • Bikes International (Venice) – silver
As for university campuses, seven in the state are honored – none in Southwest Florida, an omission we hope to eventually see corrected by one of our local institutes of higher learning.

The next deadline for submitting to be a Bike Friendly City is Feb. 5, 2020. (Businesses and universities have different application deadlines, but all in 2020.) Details at

Ready to ride or run? 

Run? A burst of events before the holiday hiatus: The venerable City of Palms River Run (10K and walk) is Saturday in downtown Fort Myers, followed by the Florida West Coast half marathon and 5K Sunday at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. The following weekend brings two events – the QBE Shootout 5K and the Naples Christmas Glow Run 5K – Saturday, followed by two more – the Naples Distance Classic 5K/10K/half marathon at Eagle Lakes Community Park, and the Jingle Bell 5K at Babcock Ranch – Sunday. Details at,,,, and, respectively.

Ride? Critical Mass has these regularly scheduled rides on tap:
  • Friday, Dec. 6: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. The usual First-Friday Critical Mass ride through downtown Fort Myers is on hold this month.
  • Saturday, Dec. 14: Sanibel Critical Mass ride (also their Christmas ride), gathers at 7 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel.
  • Friday, Dec. 20: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd.
Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all, details at

If you’re looking for a good ride and some cycling camaraderie, look no further than the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club. Check out their ride calendar and you see a ride for almost every day of the week (never on a Friday, but even more on weekends), all mapped and planned for your enjoyment. The Riders even tell you how fast (or not) you’ll need to be to keep up… click on the ride of your choice for all the details and even a map. All at

Both?  Sunday, Jan. 5: HITS Endurance Sarasota Tri, with sprint/Olympic/half distances, Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota (


Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County — streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at 


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Infrastructure for non-motorists isn’t aging; it’s lacking

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, December 4, 2019

City bridge with bi-directional bike path, sidewalk, bus lane, and motor vehicle lanes (source: Google)

It’s generally agreed upon that America’s aging transportation infrastructure is in need of significant repair and upgrades. To most, that means everything from our bridges to highways and airports; here in Southwest Florida, however, things aren’t as dire as they are in many other parts of our country, primarily because much of our area was developed post-WWII and is relatively “new.”

But that’s doesn’t mean we don’t have critical needs — especially where infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists is concerned. It’s not that we need to replace/repair aging facilities, but that we need to provide the basics where none has ever existed.

The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization ( has a list that includes more than $200 million in projects to accommodate non-motorists awaiting design and construction. Some of the most significant are:

Shared use paths, or SUPs, on both sides of Estero Boulevard on the islands that connect Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach. This will allow non-motorized access to Lovers Key State Park, one of our area’s natural gems. The estimated cost is $3.5 million.

Dan Moser is a long-time bicycle/pedestrian
advocate and traffic safety professional
who cycles, runs and walks regularly for
transportation, recreation and  fitness.
Contact him at
and 239-334-6417.
SUPs on both sides of Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers from where the pathways currently end just west of the I-75 overpass to SR-31 (just under $4 million) and SR-31 from Bayshore Road across the drawbridge to Palm Beach Boulevard ($1.6 million).

In east Lee County, SUPs on both sides and bike lanes along parts of Orange River Road ($3.1 million) and sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of segments of Buckingham Road ($7.7 million).

In Lehigh Acres, sidewalks and bike lanes along parts of Joel Boulevard ($9.3 million) and sidewalks on Bell Boulevard from Joel Boulevard to SR 82 ($2.3 million).

In southwest Fort Myers, bike lanes along McGregor Boulevard from Cypress Lake Drive to south San Carlos Boulevard ($5.7 million).

Many of these are only a portion of a full project. And there generally are no “bells and whistles” on any of them.

Another list MPO keeps is for our portion of the statewide SUN Trail network for which we’re seeking trail-specific dollars to build. One of three segments along Kismet Parkway in Cape Coral (from Del Prado Boulevard to Nelson Boulevard) is in the design phase and will cost almost $5 million; the two additional segments that will close the gap from Del Prado to SE 24th are estimated at $2.6 million.

Across the river in Fort Myers, the next phase of John Yarbrough Trail (from Colonial Boulevard north to Hanson street) comes in at $1.8 million. But a pedestrian bridge spanning Colonial to meet the existing trail is estimated at another $3.27 million, bringing the cost to just over $5 million.

I’ve pointed out many times Lee County’s critical shortcoming in the complete lack of pedestrian access on all but one of our major bridges. Those on foot cannot cross the Sanibel Causeway, the Cape Coral Bridge, the Midpoint Bridge or the Caloosahatchee River Bridge. The southbound span of the Edison Bridge is the only structure a pedestrian can legally traverse.

As part of a SUN Trail grant application, some type of facility is being considered for the Caloosahatchee River Bridge that would serve pedestrians and cyclists. But the cost to add such access to any of those bridges — the estimate for retrofitting the Caloosahatchee River Bridge is around $30 million for 8-foot cantilever structures and $5 million$ 8 million to narrow travel lanes to make room for 5-foot sidewalks and raise the railings — means we’ll likely only see this happen when new bridges replace existing ones. And even that might be a risky assumption, considering three of the offending bridges have been constructed in the relative recent past without those features.

To learn about this topic and more, visit and

Highway bridge with (electric) bus lane and guard-railed bidirectional bike lane (source: Google)

For Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (; Florida Mudcutters (; and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group ( The Florida Bicycle Association ( is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.