Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How to keep your ride rolling down the road

BWL Column
The News-Press, 6/22/2017
by Ken Gooderham

People who like bikes like to ride. Makes sense.

Well, if you like to ride, you ought to like preparing your bike for that ride. That makes your ride smooth and increases the chances you’ll make it home in one piece and on both wheels.

Maintaining your bike is pretty simple, with one big qualifier: Be realistic about your mechanical skills going in. If your skills are basic, keep your maintenance efforts equally rudimentary. If your skills (and tool kit) are more extensive, you can consider tackling some of the more complicated maintenance items (which we’re not covering here… go online and you’ll find way more information than you’ll ever need).

So, the basics:

Before every ride:
  • Check your tire pressure. If you don’t know it, check the sidewall… but low pressure is the quickest path to a flat tire. Invest in a pump with a gauge built in and you’ll never regret it.
  • Check your tires for debris (to avoid a flat) and tread (to be able to stop and go as necessary).
  • Check your brakes… squeeze the levers and make sure the pads are engaging. If not, make the necessary adjustments (if you know how) or get to your bike shop (if you don’t).
  • Lube your bike chain… OK, not every time, but every other? Invest in chain-specific lubricant (not WD-40) geared to how or where you ride.
  • Check your gear and your toolkit… make sure both are in working order. If you don’t carry tools, carry a cell phone to call for help should a breakdown occur.

After every ride:
  • If you got wet, dry off your bike and components, and lubricate any moving parts (chain, brakes, gears, derailleur, etc.) with the appropriate lubricant.
  • If you had any problems, fix them (or get them fixed for you) NOW. There’s nothing more frustrating than heading out on your next bike ride only to discover that wobbly seat or squeaky pedal did not heal itself.
  • If you used anything from your tool kit, replace it… for the reason just mentioned above.

Regularly (interval based on your mileage)
  • Clean and lube your chain and gears, and look for degreasers and tools that are bike-specific and make it an easier chore.
  • Lube your brakes and check the pads for wear.
  • Clean your frame and check for cracks
  • Check your tires more thoroughly, and replace them if worn or brittle. If you’ve been having more than your share of flats, this is also a good time to upgrade your tubes and tires to more impervious materials that can stand up to the debris found on our roadways. There are number of choices and, if you’re willing to take on a little weight on your bike (not an issue for most of us) they can keep you rolling for a long time.
  • Unless you’re a serious wrencher, take your ride into the bike shop for a thorough review by one of their mechanics. That’s also a good excuse to wander through the store and see what’s new in gear and gadgets.

If you don’t know how already, the one skill you may want to develop is learning how to change a flat – particular if you don’t have the Kevlar-backed tires and thorn-proof tubes mentioned above. Most local bike shops are happy to show you how, and may even offer regular clinics on the skill. Learning how to change a flat and having the right tools on hand to undertake that mid-ride can save many a bicycling day… and it’s easier than you think.

Lighting the way

While you’re roaming the aisles at your local bike shop, check on the bike light options. If you don’t have some, consider making a purchase… and if you already have some, perhaps get some upgrades.

We’re seeing more bicyclists sporting lights night AND day, even front AND back. Typically, it’s a solid white light in front, blinking reds in the back… and while it’s not required (except at night), it can be a good way to be a little more visible to other riders and motor vehicles. That’s especially important if you ride in traffic or in the early morning/evening when visibility is at a premium.

The cost for bike lights is reasonable, and the safety they offer can be invaluable. Worth a look.

Ready to ride or run?

Run? Start planning your July 4th run, with three 5Ks to choose from: the Freedom 5K, Cape Coral Parkway/Bridge (; the USA Independence Day 5K, Germain Arena, Estero (; and Moe’s Firecracker 5K, Fleischmann Park, Naples (

Ride? Critical Mass rides ahead? The Saturday Slow Roll is June 24 at 9 a.m.; the Cape Coral night ride is Friday, June 30, at 7:30 p.m.; the downtown night ride is Friday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m.; and the Sanibel night ride is Saturday, July 8, at 7:30 p.m. For night rides, lights are required; helmets recommend for all riders, and required for those age 16 or under. Details at

Both? The American Sprint triathlon/duathlon comes to Naples July 2 (, followed by the Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri in Englewood July 8 ( Also, registration is open for the Galloway Captiva Tri Sept. 9-10… spaces are limited and the kid’s races usually fill up first, so don’t miss out.
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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

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dr. Margaret Banyan honored as 2017 Complete Streets Champion of the Year

On June 17th, BikeWalkLee presented Dr. Margaret Banyan with the 2017 Complete Streets Champion of the Year award.  BikeWalkLee, along with the larger transportation world in SWFL, owes a great debt of gratitude to Margaret for her decade-long efforts to put complete streets and livable community principles into action.

Issued June 17, 2017
Contact: Darla Letourneau, (239) 850-3219,

BikeWalkLee, a local community coalition advocating for complete streets in Lee County Florida, has selected Dr. Margaret Banyan, FGCU Associate Professor and a founding member of BikeWalkLee, as the 2017 Complete Streets Champion of the Year for her outstanding contributions to taking complete streets and livable community principles and putting them into action in the real world -- academia, government organizations, and local communities throughout Southwest Florida--for more than a decade.

Dr. Margaret Banyon
 “Today we honor Dr. Banyan as an outstanding champion of complete streets and livable communities in multiple capacities throughout Lee County over the past decade." said BikeWalkLee’s Darla Letourneau. "As one of the founding members of BikeWalkLee, we also honor Margaret for incredible contributions to our organization since it was founded in 2009. Many of our successes would not have been possible without Margaret," said Letourneau. 

Dr. Banyan's impact on the community is considerable thanks to  the various "hats" she wears and how she has used the synergy of those roles to introduce, educate and implement the concepts of complete streets, livable communities, a balanced transportation system, transit and transit oriented development, integration of transportation and land use planning, and community engagement. She has the unique opportunity to bring these ideas to both the future generation (i.e. her students), to government agencies and officials that make decisions on these issues, and to make them part of citizen community planning efforts.
BWL's Dan Moser presents award to Margaret
As the lead faculty for FGCU's land use planning certificate, she has trained and mentored many up-and- coming staffers and leaders in regional governmental and nongovernmental agencies and organizations. 

As a consultant to many local cities and community planning organizations, Dr. Banyan has worked to incorporate the principles of complete streets and livable communities into the fabric of the local government policymaking. Those many consulting projects gave her an opportunity to train her students about the real world of public administration and public policy, encouraging many to continue their careers in this field and to consider staying in Southwest Florida.

From her FGCU seat, she organized many seminars and workshops with national experts to introduce new ideas to our area, bringing in the area players from academia, government, consultants, advocacy organizations, community groups, along with students.

Friends and colleagues at Margaret's award presentation
She also played a critical leadership role on many government committees and task forces, which allowed her to move complete streets ideas into recommendations for government action:

  •  Within FGCU, she served on several committees to advocate for better bike/ped facilities, improved transit on campus, reconsideration of parking policies, and incorporation of these concepts into the Campus Master Plan. 
  •  She was chair of the county's Smart Growth Committee, which drafted the county’s Complete Streets Policy in 2009.
  •  She remained as chair and member of the reconstituted committee, the Community Sustainability Advisory Committee, as well as a member of its Complete Streets working group. 
  •  She was the Chair of the Tice Planning Community and worked tirelessly to improve the community and to develop its capacity and interest in citizen engagement.
  •  She also worked as a consultant on the development of the Community Plans for Buckingham and North Captiva, and provided her planning expertise to several Fire Districts.
  •   She was a member of the MPO's Citizen Advisory Committee and played a key role in the development of the Long Range Transportation Plans. She was a respected expert on transit and spoke at numerous MPO Board meetings on transit and related land use and transportation planning issues.
  • She was also selected by the MPO Board in 2015 to be part of its team to participate in the prestigious national Transportation Leadership Institute, focused on innovative uses of performance measurement for transportation investments. 
  •  She was chosen to be a panel member on the National Academies Panel on Livable Transit Corridors. She also served on the FDOT statewide committee developing its 2060 Plan.
CS Award Trophy
As an FGCU facility member, she successfully pursued grants for complete streets/livable community projects that would provide opportunities to partner with others in the community as well as provide opportunities for her students to participate. The awarded grants ranged from the national technical assistance grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for the walking audit and community engagement in the Tice community, to Health Improvement Assessments in Tice funded by the Centers for Disease Control, to the joint BWL/FGCU/Goodwill partnership that received a Southwest Florida Community Foundation grant to conduct walking audits in the Tice and Dunbar communities as a community empowerment and civic engagement tool.

"Over the past decade, Dr. Banyan's leadership and commitment to the complete streets movement has left a legacy of accomplishment, and an impressive group of talented young leaders who will carry the complete streets/livable communities movement forward into the future," said Letourneau. "BikeWalkLee is deeply grateful to Margaret for her many contributions to making our community a better place, and to being a key part of the BikeWalkLee Steering Group team from the beginning."

June 19: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events


  • Saturday, June 24: Saturday Slow Roll. 9 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (
  • Friday, June 30: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (
  • Friday, July 7: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at 7:15 p.m. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (
  • Sunday, July 9: 8th annual Wheels & Wings, 15-, 32-, 50- and 62-mile rides and a 40-mile Gravel Grinder plus more. Peace River Riders (
  • 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 (