Monday, September 16, 2019

September 16: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

  • Friday, Sept. 20: Downtown Dash 1-mile run/walk. This is Southwest Florida’s only timed mile run/walk event for all ages. This run/walk is the first of its kind, offering participants the option to test themselves in a mile run or simply enjoy jogging or walking a mile in beautiful downtown Fort Myers. 6 p.m., Lee county regional Library, downtown Fort Myers (
  • Wednesday, Oct. 3: GCR Corporate Run, non-timed 5K, Gordon River Greenway, Naples (
  • Saturday, Oct. 5: Busey Bank Run for Prevention 5K, Centennial Park, Fort Myers (
  • Sunday, Oct. 6: Rocktoberfest 5K/10K, North Collier Regional Park, Naples (
  • Saturday, Oct. 12: Fort Myers Cops and Joggers 5K, downtown Fort Myers (
  • Saturday, Oct. 19: Gulf to Gulf 80 Mile Relay, downtown Naples to the Sanibel Causeway and back for 6-person relay teams (
  • Saturday, Oct. 26: FISH 10K, Sanibel (
  • Saturday, Oct. 26: Eighth annual LCEC Goblin Gallop 5K, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (
  • Saturday, Oct. 26: Halloween Monster 5K, Fleischmann Park, Naples (
  • Saturday, Nov. 2: St. Andrew Catholic School Run for the Stars 5K, Cape Coral (
  • Saturday, Nov. 9: Olde Naples 10K, 7:30 a.m. (
  • Saturday, Nov. 9: Run 4 Your Lungs 5K Run/Walk, Lakes Regional Park, Fort Myers (
  • Monday, Nov. 11: Midpoint Madness 5K run/walk, Midpoint Bridge, Fort Myers, 7 p.m. (
  • Saturday, Nov. 16: CCPS 5K, competitive run, fun run and walk, Barron Collier High School, Naples (
  • Saturday, Nov. 16: Sprint for Students 5K run/walk, FGCU campus (
  • Sunday, Nov. 26: Fall Classic Half Marathon, Naples (
  • For more running events visit;; and


  • Monday, Sep. 16: 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, Sep. 17: 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 (
  • Friday, Sept. 20: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended.  (
  • Sunday, Sep. 22: 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, Sept. 27: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m., start at 8 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.(
  • Saturday, Sept. 28: 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. (
  • Friday, Oct. 4: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers gathering at 7:15 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. (
  • Sunday, Oct. 20: 10th annual Tour de Northport, distances of 15, 35 and 65 miles (
  • 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 (


  • Saturday, Sept. 21: The Original Siesta Key Tri, sprint (
  • Sunday, Nov. 17: Longboat Key Sprint/Olympic Triathlon and Duathlon and 5K (
  • Check to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

BikeWalkLee: Races are here, even if cooler weather isn’t

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, September 12, 2019
by Ken Gooderham

Are you ready to run? Well, the races are ready for you.

The calendar says September even while the thermometer says it’s still summer. Nevertheless, the fall racing season kicks off this weekend with three event that seemingly cater to your level of run readiness:
  • If you’ve been putting in the miles all summer (for which I doff my sweat-soaked cap to you), there’s the Venice half marathon (with a 5K as well, if you’re not quite ready for 13.1 miles of steamy fun).
  • Haven’t laced up the running shoes in a while? Consider the Average Joe 5K in Naples, where the pitch is: “Welcome to ‘The World’s Easiest 5K’ where the person who finishes in the middle is the winner!”
  • Somewhere between the two you’ll find the Tunnel to Towers 5K run/walk at Lakes Park, organized to honor FDNY firefighter Steven Siller (a victim of 9/11) as well as first responders and the military overall.
After this launch, you’ll find almost every weekend through Thanksgiving hosting a running event of some ilk, from the typical 5Ks to the next-step 10Ks, then to a half-marathon and finally reaching an 80-mile relay from downtown Naples to the Sanibel Causeway and back. And that’s just this year!

So what do you need to do if you want to join the race? The first question may be what have you been doing already?

If you’re a regular runner used to the still-sultry temps, pick a distance you feel comfortable doing (or have the time to train for) and go. You’ve likely gotten the acclimatization thing down cold (or warm), and you know what you need to do to stay hydrated and happy for an early-morning race (which most of these will be until we shave a few more degrees off the thermometer).

Not used to the heat or distance, but still used to running? Pick a short and simple event and watch the weather for a break in the humidity (we got a little taste of that with Dorian’s passage to the east, short-lived as it was). And if the going gets too tough, stop going (or at least walk it off). How well you are able to handle the heat may determine how long you will be able to run in it… and living to run another day is smarter than making yourself sick (or worse).

A better compromise? Look at the upcoming events and distances, and pick one to set for a goal. That will give you the time you need – and the drop in temperature you want – to help you have a great race.

There could just be a 10K or half marathon out there with your name on it.

ERRATA: Checking the event calendar for Critical Mass (the street party where a bike ride break outs), it appears the group shifted both the date and location for its sixth anniversary party. Now it’s planned for this Saturday (Sept. 14) beginning around 5 p.m. at Millennial Brewing Company in downtown Fort Myers. Details online at

Ready to ride or run? 

Run? As mentioned above, things really pick up on Sept. 14, with the Tunnel to Towers 5K run/walk in Lakes Park, the Average Joe 5K in North Collier Regional Park, and a half-marathon in Venice. Details at,, and This is followed by the Downtown Dash 1-mile run/walk on Friday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m., Lee County Regional Library, downtown Fort Myers (

Ride? Besides the anniversary celebration Saturday at Millennial Brewing, Critical Mass has the regularly scheduled rides on tap as well:
  • Saturday, Sept. 14: Sanibel Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel.
  • Friday, Sept. 20: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd.
  • Friday, Sept. 27: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m., start at 8 p.m. at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street.
  • Saturday, Sept. 28: 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.
Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all, details at

Both? Upcoming events include:
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: The Original Siesta Key Tri, sprint (
  • Sunday, Nov. 17: Longboat Key Triathlon/Duathlon, Olympic and sprint distances (
  • Willing to drive? Check or for tris around the state.


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, September 11, 2019

Pedestrian, bicycle improvement projects moving along

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, September 11, 2019

A rending of the temporary improvement on Fowler Street looking south toward Hanson Street. COURTESY IMAGE

As Lee County and all of Southwest Florida continues to grow at a breakneck pace many transportation projects are taking place as well. While most road improvement projects or new road development include sidewalks or shared-use paths and sometimes even bike lanes, the fact is that what generally continues to be designed and built are facilities intended to move motor traffic as quickly and efficiently as possible with non-motorists being treated as secondary users.

This approach means pedestrians and those on bicycles continue to face dangers and difficulties when navigating our public rights of way. In fact, many of the improvement projects turn our streets and roads into full-fledged highways with design speeds increased by 10 mph or higher than the posted speed limit (usually 40 mph higher), making using them a challenging and largely unpleasant task for non-motorists.

Here are a few project updates.

¦ Fowler Street from Hanson Street to MLK/SR-82 is the last segment of the Metro corridor stretching from Alico Road in south Fort Myers to just north of the Shell Factory in North Fort Myers. It’s been left unimproved for decades and is the definition of a dysfunctional road segment. Although it’s under the jurisdiction of FDOT, the city of Fort Myers has held up any kind of improvement since the late 1980s, all at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists. There are no sidewalks or even usable shoulders, not to mention driver safety is compromised, as it’s a four-lane road with no median or left- turn lanes. FDOT and Fort Myers have finally come to a tentative agreement on at least an interim plan that provides accommodation for pedestrians (bicycle users will be accommodated on parallel Evans Avenue with the addition of an on-road, two-way cycle track; the existing sidewalk will remain on Evans). As part of the plan, Evans will turn one of its three northbound lanes into a southbound one; Fowler will have two southbound lanes and one northbound.

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.
The fact that FDOT is willing to take this temporary approach after almost 40 years of taking no action tells me there’s really no satisfying the city of Fort Myers, so what a final plan might be remains to be seen. This segment is appropriate for a one-way pair as there are a number of perpendicular streets running between Evans and Fowler, allowing for easy access to locations on both streets. But because the city has dug in against a one-way pair (even though that’s what exists from MLK to both spans of the Edison Bridge) we’re stuck with this temporary solution which may last for another few decades.

¦ The spine of Lee County’s trail network runs adjacent to the rail line between U.S. 41 and Metro Parkway and includes John Yarbrough Park Trail (JY Trail), which currently exists from Six Mile Cypress Parkway to Colonial Boulevard. The next phase continues north to Hanson. This is indeed welcome news. But there’s really no plan to extend it as a pathway that’s not along a highway from Hanson (it’ll run along Metro/Evans from there and the path is a sidewalk not a shared-use path). Additionally, one of the key features that was supposed to be part of this extension will not come to be: there will be no direct connection between JY Trail and North Colonial Linear Trail. FTOD even redesigned the Metro overpass just north of Winkler Avenue to accommodate this planned connection.

¦ On the southern end of JY Trail a long-overdue trailhead parking lot is in the works. Lee County purchased property west of Metro and the railroad tracks and east of Independence Circle and is currently designing the trailhead facility, which is slated to be constructed in 2020.

¦ The SUNTrail statewide trail system segment in Cape Coral is making progress. This 12-foot wide, 6.5-mile project runs from Burnt Store Road to the east along Van Buren Parkway, El Dorado Boulevard and Kismet Parkway, terminating at Del Prado Boulevard. It’s broken into two phases with design of phase 1 — from Burnt Store to Nelson Road — about complete and construction slated to begin next year. What should be interesting is how a segment east of Del Prado that’s necessary to meet up with the north-south SUNTrail corridor in North Fort Myers along 41 will be dealt with. Lee County is currently designing a realignment to directly connect Littleton Road to Kismet, but it does not appear to be including a shared-use path facility along it in the plan.

To learn about this topic and more, visit and

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.