Monday, February 18, 2019

February 18: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Saturday, Feb. 23: Swamp Stomp 5K run/walk. The beautiful 5K course takes runners and walkers through a lovely area of LaBelle with glimpses of the Caloosahatchee River. The race will Start & Finish at Grandeur Oaks Plaza. All of the proceeds for the Swamp Stomp 5K Run/Walk go towards the care of the homeless pets that temporarily reside at Caloosa Humane Society. We are a no-kill shelter and care for approximately 1,000 animals each year. 6:30 a.m, Grandeur Oaks Town Center, 850 W. Hickpochee Ave, Labelle (caloosahumanesociety.org) (ftmyerstrackclub.com) 
  • Saturday, Feb. 23:Naples High School Golden Eagle Run. The Golden Eagle Run is a chip timed race, starting at Lowdermilk Park and traveling a course through the tranquil streets of Coquina Sands and the Moorings neighborhoods and returning to Lowdermilk Park to the finish line. 6:15 a.m, 1301 Gulf Shore Blvd N, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Feb. 23: Run the Lakes for Cypress Lake Middle 5K. Cypress Lake Middle School is hosting a 5K Run/Walk at beautiful Lakes Park. We are raising funds to be able to continue to support our students as they strive for success in academics, arts and athletics at Cypress Lake Middle School. Lakes Park is a popular 5K course winding through one of our beautiful Regional Parks! 9:00 a.m, 7330 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers (runsignup.com) 
  • Saturday, March 2: City of Palms half marathon & 5K. The inaugural City of Palms Half Marathon and 5K at FGCU will take you on a tour of the beautiful Florida Gulf Coast University campus and surrounding areas. 6:00 a.m., Fort Myers (eliteevents.org/cityofpalmshalf.com
  • Sunday, March 3: Lazy Flamingo half marathon and relay, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, March 9: The Yo Taco Shrimp Run 5K, Fort Myers Beach (active.com)
  • Saturday, March 16: Scope for Hope 5K run and 2-mile walk. 8 a.m., CenturyLink Sports Complex, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, March 16: Lee County Medical Society Foundation 2019 Fun Run, 5K run, 2K walk, Lakes Park, Fort Myers. (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, March 23: The Inaugural Marlins 5K run or walk, begins and ends at Marlins Brewhouse on Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers (3dracinginc.com
  • Saturday, March 23: Baker Park 5K, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Friday, Feb. 22: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7 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. (meetup.com)
  • Saturday, Feb. 23: Saturday Slow Roll 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com)
  • Sunday, Feb. 24: Tour de Marco, 5-, 15- and 30-mile routes (active.com)
  • Sunday, Feb. 24:Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths).The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com)
  • Sunday, Feb. 24: Dirty Hamster Hundred, off-road ride at Babcock/Cecil Webb Wildlife Management Area, Punta Gorda. 25-mile loop, 10- mile loop, 10-mile paved route, no registration and no SAG (caloosariders.org)
  • Friday, March 1: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers gathering at 7:14 p.m. and starting at 8 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. (meetup.com)
  • Sunday, March 3: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com)
  • Saturday, March 9: Sanibel Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com)
  • Sunday, March 10: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com)
  • March 9-10: Royal Palm Challenge, 32- or 42-mile bonus ride Saturday (new), with the traditional RPC rides Sunday of 15, 40, 62 and 80 miles. Full support, swag and more. (calusariders.org)
  • March 22-23: Pedal & Play in Paradise, 15-, 30- and 62-mile routes plus a Mystery Tour Sunday, plus a City Manager’s Tour Saturday (pedalandplayinparadise.com/)
  • 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 www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Triathlons:
  • Saturday, May 11: Cape Coral Sprint Tri. The race features a 1/4 mile swim from the Yacht Club Beach, 11 mile bike ride and a 5k run through the beautiful, historic area of Southeast Cape Coral. (trifind.com)
  • Saturday, May 18: Life’s a Beach Tri, Sarasota (trifind.com)
  • Sunday, June 2: 33rd Annual Fitness Challenge Triathlon, Naples (trifind.com)
  • Sunday, June 9: Heartland Sprint and Olympic Tri, Sebring (trifind.com)
  • Sunday, June 23: Sirens Sprint Tri, Sarasota (trifind.com
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.









Sunday, February 17, 2019

News-Press Op Ed: Lee County is growing so fast, we are losing the quality of life

BikeWalkLee's mission is to promote complete streets and livable communities.  Today's commentary in News-Press focuses on what it means for our communities to be walkable, bikeable, and livable.  This is key to the quality of life for our citizens.  "This is not a partisan issue...We all seek a good and healthful way of life no matter how we vote."  Kudos to Charlotte Newton for her thoughtful commentary.  What has been happening to the quality of life in your community? Is your area safer or more dangerous than it used to be for walking and biking? Let your elected officials know you care about having walkable, bikeable, and livable communities.

News-Press Opinion
Feb. 17, 2019
Lee County is growing so fast, and we are losing the quality of life
By Charlotte Newton, Guest contributor 
Do you enjoy living in Lee County?  I do – but will admit to worrying about its future.
Rampant development is increasing traffic and impacting our schools.  Lee Health tries, but can’t seem to keep up with our growing population, resources for early childhood learning are limited, and there is minimal funding for mental health treatment.  Clean water appears to be a thing of the past.  Increasingly, Lee County is becoming unlivable.

So how do you define livability?  According to AARP, “a livable community is one that is safe and secure, has affordable and appropriate housing and transportation options, and offers supportive community features and services.”   When you bike on our roads, do you feel safe?  Can you walk to your local Publix without having to dodge cars?  When you take your child to the school bus stop, are there sidewalks, lighting?  How long do you have to wait to see a doctor, either at the local emergency room or at a medical office?  And how long does it take you to travel the Cape Coral Bridge to get home after a tiring workday?

More: We need to expand roadways in Lee County to offset population growth: your say
The fact is that Lee is growing so fast, we are losing the quality of life we have enjoyed and until we get the situation under control, it is not going to get any better. 

This is not a partisan issue; it doesn’t matter one’s political party.  We all seek a good and healthful way of life no matter how we vote.

Nobody is calling for a halt to development, which is an important part of our economy.  But unfortunately, development is the tail wagging the dog and negatively impacting our quality of life in so many ways.  For example, in Lee, we have a plan called Density Reduction/Groundwater Resource (DR/GR) which originally was aimed at controlling overdevelopment in southeast Lee County due to the potential for wetlands destruction and the demands on our water resources from increased housing density.  Time and again, the DR/GR plan is either simply ignored or cast aside by those charged with county zoning.

Building more roads just invites more cars.  Our population is aging and our roads are jammed to capacity. We need a viable bus network that covers the entire county and offers those who cannot or do not want to drive alternatives to getting around. 

We also can no longer wait for our county leaders to act on the blue-green algae in our waterways.  It’s still there – we just can’t see it. The governor’s water quality proposals are welcomed; however, they will take years to implement. 

Our county leaders are turning a blind eye to taking action here, now.  The economy is one reason to act, but let’s also prioritize the health and recreational effects on our year-round residents.
Third, a livable community is one that invites its citizens out – out biking, out walking and hiking, out enjoying public gatherings.  With so many gated communities, it’s a difficult challenge but one from which we should not shy away.  Cape Coral has built a network of bike paths and is developing a system of parks. 

The rest of Lee County should follow suit by requiring developers to build these amenities for all our citizens, not just those who buy houses inside their gates. 

Our concerns are not new and have been voiced by others over the years.  But no matter how many speak up, nothing seems to change – or slow down.  Perhaps the answer is to remind our county officials that listening to those they represent – rather than those who donate to their campaigns – is critical to staying in office. 

Charlotte Newton is a citizen member of The News-Press Editorial Board.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

It’s a great time to get outside!



BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, Febuary 14, 2019
by Ken Gooderham

It’s gorgeous outside! What are you doing sitting here reading a newspaper?

Yes, if you like to ride, run or walk, it’s a great time of year weather-wise to be outdoors. Moderate temperatures and low chances for rain (mostly)… what’s not to love?

The only real obstacles you might face are wind and traffic – and both can be made more bearable with a few simple hacks.

Windy days are more frequent during the SW Florida winter, especially as cool fronts approach or pass through. We’ve had a few days this year where it was wiser to stay home than to brave the 25+ mph winds, but that’s rare. Otherwise, here’s some idea on how to cope:

    • Pick your route to lessen your time riding into a headwind, or tackle that stretch of the ride first, when your legs are fresher. If you’re going out and back, that means either going into the wind first and last or adjusting your route to avoid heading directly into the breeze.

    • Make yourself a smaller target, at least when it gets gusty. When riding into the wind, get as aerodynamic as you can so the wind has less of you to push against. Bend over your handlebars even if you don’t have a road bike (and use the drop handlebars if you do. Similarly, when the wind is at your back make yourself as big a target as possible to let nature give you a boost.

    • Drop down a gear (if you have that option) when headed into the wind, to give your legs a break and keep your pedaling cadence closer to normal. It will also keep you steadier on the bike, which is handy if the winds are pushing you around.

    • Dress appropriately. Think layers (to add or subtract depending on the direction) and fabrics (something more wind/water resistant on the outside to help you keep body heat, something wicking closer to your skin to keep moisture under control.

    • Know your limits. Wind is the closest things we have to hills here, in terms of making you work to make headway... which means if your legs aren’t used to extra resistance, you may want to work up to a long windy-day ride.

As far as traffic, it’s that time of year for both roadways and pathways. A lot of users, many of whom aren’t familiar with where they are or where they’re going, and a range of skill sets to boot.

That means the smartest thing you can do as a rider, runner or walker is be aware, be patient and be in control.

    • Be aware: On the pathways, know what’s going on around you and watch out for other creatures (human and otherwise) who may not know what to do as you approach. On roadways, paying attention is even more crucial in case other vehicle drivers are not watching out for you. Use all your senses (especially hearing, so lose the earphones so you can hear vehicles approach), ride bright (colors and lights) and smart (obey the rules, painful as that can be, when there are other vehicles around).

    • Be patient. If there’s a bottleneck on the bike path or construction on the roadway, don’t barrel through and hope for the best but back off and let things sort themselves out. You’re never in such a rush that putting yourself at risk is a smart idea.

    • Be in control. If there are dangers on the path ahead – be it inattentive children, wandering dogs or debris on the path – take charge of the situation and take whatever steps necessary to keep you and everyone else safe. That could mean warning people you’re coming through (always a good idea in a crowd, as well as required by law), even dismounting to walk past the problem (or move the problem out of the way if necessary).

On the road with other vehicles? Know your rights and know the rules – but also know that, in an argument between a motor vehicle and a bicycle, the little guy never wins. So if you have to yield even though you have the right-of-way, or if you run into a motorist who’s not altogether happy about sharing the road, you need to do whatever is necessary to keep yourself safe first, not count on everyone else to do the right thing (or anything at all).

Remember, wind and traffic are temporary inconveniences, and a small price to pay for getting to ride, run and walk in paradise.

So put down this newspaper and get outside!


Ready to ride or run?

Run?  A big running weekend, with the Edison 5K (featuring a new route with a start/finish downtown) Saturday and the Paradise Coast half (and 5K) in Naples Sunday. Back to the 5Ks the next weekend, with Feb. 23 events in Labelle, Naples and Fort Myers. Details at ftmyerstrackclub.com, gcrunner.org, 3dracinginc.com, and runsignup.com.

Ride? Critical Mass ahead… tomorrow in NE Lee, Feb. 22 in Cape Coral and Feb. 23 in downtown Fort Myers for a slow roll. ON Feb. 24, two options: The Tour de Marco with 5-, 51- and 30-mile routes on the island’s roads and lanes, or the Dirty Hamster Hundred in the Babcock/Webb wildlife preserve south of Punta Gorda, with a 10- and 25-mile off-road loop and a 10-mile paved loop where you can ride till you drop, if that’s your thing. (meetup.com)

Both? Upcoming events include:
  • Saturday, May 11: Cape Coral Sprint Tri (trifind.com)
  • Saturday, May 18: Life’s a Beach Tri, Sarasota (trifind.com)
  • Sunday, June 2: 33rd Annual Fitness Challenge Triathlon, Naples (trifind.com)
  • Sunday, June 9: Heartland Sprint and Olympic Tri, Sebring (trifind.com)
  • Sunday, June 23: Sirens Sprint Tri, Sarasota (trifind.com)
  • Willing to drive? Check trifind.com or active.com for tris around the state.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at info@bikewalklee.org, 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 www.BikeWalkLee.org.