Sunday, October 4, 2015

Oct. 6th: Upcoming running/walking/biking/tri events

Don't forget to sign up to participate in Healthy Lee's Million Mile Movement, in which they've challenged Lee County to get more active by moving 1 million miles in 90 days. Just think how many miles you'll contribute if you participate in the activities below! 

Upcoming events
·         Saturday, Oct. 10: Cops & Joggers 2015 5K, Starts from Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers, at 7:45 p.m. (
·         Saturday, Oct. 10: 2015 Busey Bank Run For Prevention 5K, 7:45 a.m. at Florida Gulf Coast University. (
·         Saturday, Oct. 17: 7th annual 10K 4 FISH (Friends In Service Here). Starts at  Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, at 7:30 a.m. (
·         Sunday, Oct. 18: Rocktoberfest 10 Miler & 2x5 Mile Relay, North Collier Regional Park. Rock n' Roll joins with Octoberfest in the only 10-mile race in Southwest Florida. (
·         Saturday, Oct. 24: 8th annual Race the Roof. 15K and 5K runs, 5K walk, Tot Trot. Benefits Habitat for Humanity, at the Verandah Community. (
·         Saturday, Oct. 31: 4th Annual LCEC Goblin Gallop to benefit the United Way. The Goblin Gallop 5K Run/Walk and Trick Or Trot will be held at Jim Jeffers Park in Cape Coral. Since its inception, this 5k has netted over $9,800 for the United Way! Sign-up today and join others as we help our community!
·         Wednesday, Nov. 11: Veterans Day 5K Midpoint Madness. To benefit YMCA, race starts at 7 p.m. (
·         Thursday, Nov. 26: The 36th annual Turkey Trot kicks off Thanksgiving with its traditional 5K run/walk and more. Starts at Cape Coral Wellness Center, 609 SE 13th Court, Cape Coral. (
·         Sunday, Oct. 25: Tour de North Port. 15-, 35- and 65-mile rides, full SAG, breakfast and lunch. (
·         Sunday, Nov. 8: Veterans Day Honor Ride, a ride to honor our veterans and support Honor Flight of Collier County. Ride from Naples Cyclery to Fat Point Brewery in Punta Gorda, up U.S. 41 with a police and military escort at 22 mph. $50 includes supported ride, lunch and Craft Beers at Fat Point and a souvenir pint glass. Ground transportation back to Naples Cyclery (motor coach) and your bike will be transported inside one of Naples Cyclery's enclosed trucks. You'll be able load a bag with a change of clothes into the trucks in the morning so they will be available when we arrive at the brewery. There will be a second distance option starting at 9:30 from the Crowne Plaza in Fort Myers. This ride is 30 miles to the brewery and does not offer return transportation.
·         Friday, Nov. 27: Skip the leftovers and the shopping and join the Caloosa Riders for their traditional Turkey Leg Century Ride, leaving at 7:30 a.m. from the Publix at Daniels Crossing Shopping Center, 6890 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers. (

 Sunday, November 29, Iron Joe Turkey Ride - The revelry begins and ends in the side lot of Fit and Fuel Bicycle Cafe. There are rides for all levels – 62 mile, 30 mile, 14 mile - followed by ice cold beer, a great band, a raffle, and a delicious, hearty lunch from Moe's Southwest Grill. This year’s event is dedicated to the joy of cycling. Proceeds help support the advocacy and education work of Naples Pathways Coalition.  We are making great strides with our outreach program to at-risk commuter bicyclists and our work to promote Complete Streets and infrastructure that creates bikeable/walkable communities throughout Collier County. (

Sunday, January 24, 10th Annual Naples Bike Brunch & Family Festival - Bring Your Bike! Bring Your Kids! Bring Your Dog! Community festivities begin and end in beautiful, beachside Lowdermilk Park. Rides: 62, 31, 20, 10 miles. Walks: power walk to Fifth Avenue or bring your pooch and join the Pooch-Fit Parade down Gulf Shore Blvd.  Kids’ Events: bike rodeo, bike decorating, bouncy house, beach run, and kids’ ride. There will be fitness-fueling refreshments, goodie bags, music, prizes, a silent auction with something for everyone, fun vendor expo, and a delicious brunch. This event is dedicated to community fun and fitness. Proceeds help support the advocacy work of Naples Pathways Coalition on behalf of bicyclists, walkers, and runners. (

·         Saturday, Oct. 3: Siesta Key triathlon (sprint). Benefits the YMCA Sharks swim team. (
·         Sunday, Oct. 4: Marco Island Triathlon (sprint). Starts at 8 a.m. from Marco Mariott Beach Resort. (
·         Sunday, Oct. 18: Longboat Key International/Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon. Starts at 7:30 a.m. from Longboat Key Club & Resort. (
·         Sunday, Nov. 8: Challenge Venice, Olympic and half Ironman, based at Sharky's on the Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive, Venice. Kid’s tri offered the day before (

Thursday, October 1, 2015

BWL Column: Good news for Lee County bikers and walkers

Today's column reports on the progress that has been made over the past 4 years (2010-2014) in adding biking and walking facilities throughout Lee County, based on BikeWalkLee's new report. 

Example Before/After photo provided by BWL
BikeWalkLee's Column:News-Press Go Coastal Section, Oct. 1, 2015

 How is Lee County doing in bike/ped facilities? Good — in total miles and in kinds of facilities. 

BikeWalkLee took a look at how bike/ped facilities added in up the county from 2010 to 2014, using data collected by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) from the Departments of Transportation for Florida and Lee County along with local municipalities.

In this four-year period, we added 130 miles of bike/ped facilities, an 18 percent increase, with almost 40 miles of new facilities in Cape Coral and almost 60 miles in unincorporated Lee County.

The greatest increase in type of facilities over this four-year stretch came in bike lanes — with the total mileage almost doubling to make up 1/4 of all facilities by 2014. Even with a drop in the miles of paved shoulders — the result of some road sections being upgraded to some other type of (more protected) facility — on-road facilities increased by 60 miles while off-road ones (in some cases more focused on walkers) added 70 miles.

Overall, good news for bikers and walkers countywide. Much of these gains came due to new-road construction rather that retrofits to existing roads — where a huge backlog still exists. We applaud the efforts of local officials (county and municipality) to achieve these kinds of improvements, and urge them to keep up the good work to continue to expand and connect the bike/ped network throughout the county and its cities. Every day we’re reminded of the importance of walking and biking to improving the overall health of the community, so more and safer bike/ped facilities are crucial to encouraging people to go take a hike or a bike!

The BikeWalkLee report also reviews other bike/ped improvements during this period, as well as looking ahead at expected upgrades we all should see soon. The full report is online at BikeWalkLee.

Ready to ride or run?
Run: October race season is here, starting with the Lexington Cares 5K Run/Walk on Saturday to benefit the Regional Cancer Center’s Breast Health Center. The following weekend, pick from the Busey Bank Run for Prevention in the morning (at FGCU) or Cops and Joggers in the evening (downtown Fort Myers).
Ride: Tomorrow is the first Friday of the month, which means the SW Florida Critical Mass ride, starting at the field next to the downtown Publix at 7:30 p.m. Bring your lights and helmet, and join the fun.
Both: Looking for a sprint tri? Head north to Siesta Key on Saturday (, or south to Marco Island on Sunday (

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bike Florida announces Share the Road Challenge Grant for 2016

Here's an opportunity for local Lee county governments, our school district, any of our bike clubs or advocacy organizations to apply for the new Bike Florida challenge grant for innovative ideas to improve cycling and bicycle safety in our community. 

On Sept. 13, the Board of Directors of Bike Florida authorized the creation of a $25,000 Share The Road Challenge Grant for 2016. It will be a matching grant, so the potential amount of money available will be $50,000.

The Share The Road Challenge Grant will be offered to a local government, school district, bike club or bike-ped advocacy organization that comes forward with the most innovative idea to improve cycling and bicycle safety in their community. 

“We’re very excited about this new challenge grant,” Bike Florida Executive Director Ron Cunningham said. “The idea is to stimulate creative thinking about how to better facilitate cycling and improve bike-ped safety at the community level. Ideally we would like to support a model initiative or program that could then be exported to other Florida communities. We want applicants to come to us with their best ideas, whether it be a protected bike lane demonstration project, a creative design for a bike boulevard, a new approach to bike safety and education or some other initiative.”

The $25,000 Share The Road Challenge Grant will take the place of the Share The Road mini-grants that Bike Florida has been offering for years. The mini-grants provide small amounts of seed money, usually no more than $2,000, to support modest cycling projects. “The intent of the Share The Road Challenge Grant is to maximize Bike Florida’s available resources to help fund a larger, more ambitious project,” Cunningham said. “With a total of $50,000 available, including the local match, grant applicants may then be able to leverage additional funding for their initiative in the form of state or federal grants.”

The Challenge Grant will be funded by revenues received from the sale of Share The Road license tags. Bike Florida will also be soliciting sponsors to help support its grant program.

Bike Florida will schedule a Challenge Grant workshop for potential applicants during its Share The Road Celebration of Cycling event on Friday, Nov. 13, in the City of Clermont. That event will feature a daylong series of speakers and forum discussions about how to improve bike-ped safety in Florida and what communities are doing to facilitate bicycle travel. Details about Share The Road Celebration of Cycling can be found at

Questions about the Share The Road Challenge Grant can be directed to Ron Cunningham, Executive Director, at, or 352-262-5798.

Bonita Bay Bicycle Club's "Do-Good Bike Project"

This guest blog post was originally posted 9/29 on Florida Bicycle Association's blog and reprinted here with the writer's permission (Steve Nicks of Bonita Bay Bicycle Club). Kudos to the BBBC for undertaking this project to benefit the Bonita Springs community.

The Do-Good Bike Project
  Lyman Philips of the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club and Steve Nicks started the “Do-Good Bike Project” to benefit the Bonita Springs Community. They are collecting and refurbishing bicycles no longer in use from owners in the retirement community of Bonita Bay. These bicycles are then donated to any person in the community in need of a bike for transportation or recreation.  Steve Nicks wrote the following for local media:
Steve Nicks doing good for bicycles and future bicyclists

It must have been during a trip to the Reje Universal Supermarket in old Bonita Springs for a half kilo fix of fresh, still warm, white corn Los Arcos tortillas that it dawned on me: many, many people of all ages rely on the humble bicycle for basic transportation. This is not recreational biking; this is biking to get somewhere.
Before moving to Bonita Springs full time, I was deeply involved in two bike projects which received donations of unneeded bikes and, after some care, attention and repair, gave them to people who had a need for a bike, but limited ability to get one.

One was Wheels for Winners in Wisconsin where I volunteered when I first retired. There I learned how to fix bikes as part of a nonprofit that took donated bikes, fixed and refreshed them, then gave them to school age kids who earned a bike with extra school work or community service. At the same time, with the patience of my wife who tolerated bikes and bike parts strewn all over our garage and under our side deck, I spent over 7 years fixing and furnishing about 250 bikes on free loan to University of Wisconsin foreign exchange students. In all, I gave bikes to students from 43 different countries and enjoyed the wonderful experience of being a friend to so many interesting young people.

Back to now.   Even though there are lots of bike riders in old Bonita Springs, finding a bike that someone of limited means can afford is problematic. Unlike up north where places like St. Vincent de Paul’s or Goodwill have many donated bikes for sale, here, even though there is a welter of thrift shops, there are almost no used bikes at any of them. I know this first-hand having been dragged by my wife through the seemingly endless array of such shops for reasons that still elude me.

That being said, we have here in Bonita Bay a unique resource to meet this need.  Lyman Philips, a member of the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club, and myself have initiated a project to benefit the Bonita Springs community.  Bikes that are no longer needed, bikes that came along with the purchase of the condo or house, bikes that the grandkids outgrew, bikes that have a repair issue which makes no economic sense to have a bike shop fix, all clutter up many of our garages and storage areas.  This bicycle clutter can now be “re-positioned” to those in need with a little effort and good will. That’s the idea behind the “Bonita Bay Do-Good Bike Project”.
A partnership has been developed with the Literacy Council Gulf Coast in Bonita Springs to connect such bikes with their adult students learning English.  So far, mainly adult students have eagerly received 19 bikes and there is now a waiting list.   We had five children’s bikes that went to the Mom and Tot language class. The moms were ecstatic!

The Bonita Bay Bicycle Club has been very helpful with the initial outreach and Joe DuBois of Trek Bicycle Store has been a valuable resource as well.  A new bicycle lock goes along with each ‘re-positioned’ bike; even the cost of a decent lock is daunting to some in this target group.

Why is this article here?  Well, the project needs more donated bikes. Do you live in the Bonita Springs area and have a bike or two that could be ‘re-positioned’ for good use?  If you can help, please email me at

Right now this project is at the “it keeps the old guys out of trouble” stage.  There are no employees.  This is a self-funded, garage based and volunteer driven initiative.  We appreciate your time and any help you can provide.

Mr. Nicks and Mr. Phillips enjoy using their fundraising and mechanical skills in the service of others.  Bonita Bay residents who no longer have an interest in cycling are pleased to “clean the garage” for a good cause.  It’s a win-win and a great Positive Spin for Florida cycling!

Walking into the Future: Designing pedestrian-friendly communities

Walkability is key to the economic future of SWFL, as demonstrated by Florida Weekly's feature story this week.  Includes interviews with Fort Myers Mayor Henderson, Naples Pathways Coalition, and BikeWalkLee, and local leaders in Florida walkable communities.  Don't miss the Oct. 15th full day symposium on creating walkable urban communities sponsored by the City of Fort Myers.

Walking into the future

Designing pedestrian-friendly communities

CityPlace Plaza in West Palm Beach provides an example of a walkable mixed-use development. 
COURTESY PHOTO CityPlace Plaza in West Palm Beach provides an example of a walkable mixed-use development. COURTESY PHOTOLike a perfect economic storm of the future showing only the first real edges of new urbanism, the following events took place almost simultaneously late last week:
• Jeri Muoio and Raphael Clemente, the city’s mayor and the director of its Downtown Redevelopment Authority, flew back into West Palm Beach from Copenhagen, Denmark, where they’d traveled to study one of the world’s most successful bicycling and walking cities;
• Mayor Randy Henderson drove past the home where Thomas Edison once lived in Fort Myers, the city where the mayor was born and raised, and insisted that “walkability and urban infill is the most relevant issue with regard to our quality of life” — and that was only 24 hours after seven people had been shot in the course of a single evening in an economically challenged part of town. Then he put his money where his mouth is, and pointed to an Oct. 15 seminar for all comers with some of the most renowned urban planners and walkability experts in the nation and the state;

MUOIO MUOIO• Jane Cheffy and Beth Brainard, the president and executive director of Naples Pathways Coalition, returned from the two-day Transplex conference hosted by the Florida DOT at which bicycle and pedestrian-friendly communities received top billing. Ms. Cheffy’s simple idea to retrofit public-transportation busses that could haul a number of bicycles for commuters who could then get to work or shopping won a shark-tank competition for good ideas;
• And finally, about 50 people took advantage of the free bicycle-for-a-day loaner program along Punta Gorda’s 18 miles of bicycle and pedestrian pathways. The pathways connect homes, parks and commercial shopping zones. The freebike program is funded by the nonprofit Team Punta Gorda, which counted 5,000 users in 2014, the program’s inaugural year.

CLEMENTE CLEMENTEAll that energetic commotion could ultimately prove to be a huge economic boon to the Florida of the future, and it comes on the heels of the U.S. Surgeon General’s call to action earlier in September. Bicycle-pedestrian apologists cite that call-to-action as potentially the most important federal support for their efforts in years.
“What if we labeled unwalkable neighborhoods like we do cigarettes?” a blogger wrote on the Transportation For America website.
“A similar call from the surgeon general in 1964 was the watershed event that kicked off a decades-long decline in cigarette use.”
In the communities
To many of those who look at our contemporary and future cities, walking and bicycling is about a lot more than just health. Those who create cities where people can walk or bicycle to work or to shop, will create wealth, too. And not simply because healthier people reduce the huge drag on the American health care system that obesity and related diseases bring.

HENDERSON HENDERSON“This is not something you have to do guesswork on, walkable cities — there’s a formula that I discovered at Carnegie Mellon University in May,” says Mayor Henderson, who attended a conference there for American city leaders.
In downtown Fort Myers where pedestrians crowd streets paved with the same restored bricks Mr. Edison and his wife, Mina, once strolled, many elements of the formula are already in place, he notes.
But elsewhere in the city and county and in spite of miles of trails, walking and bicycling is as dangerous, or more so, than anywhere else in the United States. That fact is borne out by the high per-capita statistics for bicycle and pedestrian fatalities and injuries on the Southwest coast.

MINICOZZI MINICOZZI“There is pent-up demand for walkable communities,” says Darla Letourneau, a leader of the nonprofit BikeWalkLee, which promotes walking and bicycling safely through the region.
“Those areas around the country that have created vibrant walkable neighborhoods are reaping the economic benefits from their investment, while Florida lags behind. Much is at stake for Southwest Florida in making our roadways and streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Palm Beach County leaders, and especially those in West Palm, appear to be ahead in the game of catch-up, or as the term of art has it, urban infill.
The European journey undertaken by Mayor Muoio and Mr. Clemente, for example, was paid for by a grant from the Knight Foundation, which has chosen to support specifically 26 urban areas in the United States vigorously trying to improve the quality of life on their streets.

LEINBERGER LEINBERGERIn Florida, those include all of Palm Beach County, along with the cities of Tallahassee, Bradenton and Miami.
West Palm’s Mayor Muoio in a press release praised European cities in general for offering “a lot of valuable place-making lessons.” Both she and Mr. Clemente, who directs the 46-year-old special taxing district downtown, applauded Copenhagen in particular for its combined use of mass transit and bicycles.
“Copenhagen is the best example in the world of how to design a city for people, instead of fitting people into a city structure,” he said.
But the grant offers more than just a trip for two to Copenhagen. In mid- October, urban designers from Denmark’s Gehi Architects, who helped make Copenhagen the ultimate in pedestrian and bicycle friendly cities, will travel to West Palm Beach to offer ideas and consultation.

SPECK SPECKAnd this week the Knight Foundation kicks off its second annual Knight Cities Challenge, beginning Oct. 1. The Challenge ultimately awards $5 million to fund the best new ideas to be implemented in any of the 26 Knight communities nationwide. Applicants have until Oct. 27 to submit their ideas to and winners will be announced in early 2016, according to the organization website.
Last year’s winner, a planner in Philadelphia, won for an idea he called “popup pools” created in neighborhoods all over the City of Brother Love.
In Naples, Immokalee and elsewhere, meanwhile Neapolitans Ms. Cheffy and Ms. Brainard have pointed out that walkability is not just important for health reasons, but for economic reasons.

CLICKSTEIN CLICKSTEINPeople want to walk, and they’ll pay for the privilege of walking or pedaling safely and comfortably from their homes to destinations that include shopping and eating or recreational opportunities.
When businesses get on board to help make that happen, usually their incentive is economic and practical, not just charitable, say promoters of such urban environments.
The list of sponsors in the Naples area is therefore significant as an indicator that walkability is a money-maker and everybody is starting to recognize it: there are banks, real estate companies, breweries, restaurants and hotels, major wealth consultants and major supermarket chains, along with bicycle and running shops, and many others helping to fund the Coalition and its efforts.
Punta Gorda Councilwoman Nancy Prafke, who helped lead Team Punta Gorda efforts to make Charlotte County more accessible to bicyclists and pedestrians after Hurricane Charley dismantled the place more than a decade ago, reflects the pragmatism of many elected leaders as well.
“Team Punta Gorda hired a renowned urban planner to develop a citizens’ master plan,” she recalls of retrofitting her town.
“Yes, becoming more bicycle and pedestrian friendly fits in with the new urbanism. So we can choose to take the view of a planner or a governmental entity or the medical community or the business community, and we can cite all the positive reasons why we think this is good, and that’s fine.
“But in reality, what today’s residents want are more active lifestyles.
“So in my view, we’re looking to satisfy the desire of today’s residents who support active lifestyles. That’s the first reason for doing this.”
Fort Myers Mayor Henderson seconds that notion: “People move to infill cities so they can be closer to work and amenities, both public and recreational. And so it follows that walkability would drive the value of the environment up — economically as well as in terms of desirability.” ¦
>> What: Meeting Market Demands for Walkable Urban Communities, all-day seminar.
>> When: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 (doors open 7:30 a.m.).
>> Where: Harborside Event Center, downtown Fort Myers
>> Cost: $55 per person (special student pricing available).
>> National Keynote Speakers: Joe Minicozzi, Urban3; Professor Chris Leinberger, George Washington University; Jeff Speck, author of “Walkable City.”
>> Other Speakers: Cary Clickstein, mayor, Delray Beach; Tim Hernandez, principal, New Urban Communities Corp.; Brooke Myers, president, Emerge Real Estate Ventures, LLC; Larry Pierce, director, Realco Group; Kevin Rickard, principal, New Urban Communities Development Corp.; Bill Spikowski, urban planner, Spikowski Planning Associates; Ken K. Stoltenberg, partner, Management Mercury Advisors.
>> For more information or to register: 321- 7100 or online at cra