Monday, June 25, 2018

June 25: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:


Cycling:
  • Friday, June 29: 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, June 30: 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/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, July 6: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, July 8: Wheels & Wings with four different rides of 15, 32, 50 and 62 miles plus a 40 mile Gravel Grinder. 7 a.m. at Beef O’Brady’s, Punta Gorda
  • Sunday, July 8: 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/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, July 13: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended.(meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, July 14: 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/Biking-SWFL)
  • 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, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning. (captivatri.org)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rain, rain, won’t go away


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 6/21/2018
by Ken Gooderham


Southwest Florida’s rainy season arrived with a bang (or maybe that was just thunder) in late May, and so far has continued to deluge the area ever since.

While it started a little early, the downpours are no surprise and certainly welcome… unless you like to bike, walk or run outside. For you all, the rain means you may need to adjust your schedule (or your outdoor activities) a little to accommodate the weather.

The first adjustment is one you may have already made, once the temperatures started to rise. Most days, getting out early improves your chances of staying dry (as well as a little cooler), assuming our afternoon thunderstorm routine stays on track.

Speaking of which, it should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway): If there’s lightning and thunder, stay inside. Exercise may be important, but so is staying alive. If you happen to get caught outside in a thunderstorm, stay low and away from trees, seek shelter if possible and let the storm pass.

If it’s just raining without the life-threatening fireworks, then you either stay inside (to the gym, anyone?) or dress to stay dry (which works better walking or running than on a bike). Jackets can keep the rain at bay (but may leave you dripping with sweat instead), and hats with a brim can keep rain out of your eyes. Of course, opt for quick-drying materials (which we all need in the Florida heat anyway), and layer to keep the stuff next to your skin as dry as possible.

There’s not much you can do for your feet, alas, although waterproof boots may make walking possible. (I have yet to meet a pair of truly waterproof running shoes, unfortunately.) If your shoes get soaked, be sure to dry them thoroughly afterwards – and remember that wet socks and clothing can be very uncomfortable to skin in ways that does not crop up when you’re dry.

Riding in the rain is less fun, but can be done if you’re determined (and prepared) enough. More likely, your ride may run into some rain unexpectedly, so being prepared is also wise.

How?
  • Throw in a rain jacket – water-resistant if not waterproof – to keep you from getting soaked. There are many options that pack into themselves to make a very carry-able pack.
  • Have lights front and back. Visibility (for everyone) drops dramatically in a downpour, so making yourself easier to see keeps you safer.
  •  Slow down and ride smart. Wet surfaces are inherently slippery, so ride with more caution. In particular, any painted lines on the road or metal surfaces (including train tracks) will be like riding on ice, and the first few minutes after the rain starts is when the road oil is at its worst. (If you see a rainbow spot ahead, avoid it – that’s a sign of oil mixing with rainwater.)
  • Also remember brakes don’t’ work as well when wet – both yours and the ones on motor vehicles (if you’re riding near traffic). Allow more time to stop, and hope that the drivers do the same.
  • Beware of puddles, both for what you can see (water) and for what you cannot (potholes, nails or other tire-eating items.
  • Once you’re back home safely, take some time immediately to wipe off your bike (to avoid corrosion), lube your chain and brakes (to replace what washed away or drive out any lingering moisture), and check over your cables and wheels (just to make sure everything is OK).
Around here this time of year, rain is inevitable. Being prepared and prudent can make it possible to keep you safely moving  whatever your mode of propulsion.

 

Ready to ride or run?

Run? The Fort Myers Track Club Membership 5K Run is June 30 at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers. Participation gets you a membership, tickets to that night’s Miracle game and a good run to boot. The following Wednesday is July 4, which means a lot of 5Ks mixed in with the celebration and fireworks. All the races are morning ones, in Cape Coral, Estero and Naples. Details at ftmyerstrackclub.com, eliteevents.org and gcrunner.org respectively.
 
Ride? Critical Mass rides ahead include Cape Coral on the night of June 29 and the Saturday Slow Roll in downtown Fort Myers the next morning. Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all; details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/. You can also join the no-drop Wakey, Wakey! Sunday morning ride leaving from Fort Myers Trek. 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.

Both? Upcoming events include:

  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (active.com)
  • Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri, with the kids’ events (three age groups) Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday.

 

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. 


 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

It’s time again for some sidewalk talk

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 6/20/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Wondering how it’s allowed to get this bad?
It’s that time again when summer rains lead to extensive growth of any and all vegetation, from planted landscaping to wild flora. As I do every year at this time, I remind readers to keep sidewalks and pathways clear of overgrowth that can create obstacles for pedestrians and others. Whether the growth originates from your property or from the public right of way, it should not be allowed to create problems for users. What might be a minor inconvenience for some could be a major hindrance and even a hazard for others, particularly those who have mobility limitations or who are pushing a baby stroller or pedaling a bike.

In all of Lee County, any overgrowth that emanates from private property is the responsibility of the property owner. In most of the county, trees and bushes growing from within the right of way are the jurisdictional government’s responsibility. The one exception to that is in the city of Fort Myers, where adjacent property owners are responsible for maintaining all of the right of way from the edge of their property up to the edge of the roadway, including the sidewalk if one exists. Per city ordinance 134.2.25.C, repair and replacement of the sidewalk is technically the financial responsibility of the adjacent property owner, even though it’s within the public right of way.

While this ordinance might seem unfair, it is nonetheless enforceable, at least in jurisdictions that follow their own policy. I say that because the city usually repairs and replaces sidewalk — or leaves it in disrepair — but rarely if ever requires the property owner to pay for or do the work.

Right of way foliage, however, is generally left to the property owner.

The lack of enforcement of the sidewalk obligations and the application of the right of way trimming requirement are so inconsistent that I think the ordinance should be amended to reflect practice, meaning Fort Myers should replicate what every other jurisdiction in Lee County does: Remove the sidewalk element. Also, considering how much personnel time and effort the city spends maintaining its roadway medians, one would think it would do the same where it would have real impact verses strictly for aesthetic purposes.

On a similar note, obstacles such as illegally parked vehicles and other items such as waste containers and debris piles are also prohibited on all sidewalks and pathways. While most neighborhoods aren’t teeming with such obstacles, it only takes one car parked across a sidewalk to create a big problem for the whole street.

Unfortunately, my experience in trying to encourage proactive enforcement is that no matter how easy it is to identify and deal with those who are chronic violators, local officials have little interest in doing so. Usually it takes a formal complaint to get any kind of action, and even then it’s done reluctantly, as if it’s too petty a matter for them to be concerned with.

As I’ve said many times, I believe failure to enforce the law means the responsible jurisdiction is itself violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. But just like the way law enforcement fails to address obvious parking violations, so is the case for the U.S. Department of Justice: It takes a formal ADA complaint for a violation to be even be considered. While blocking the travel lanes of a roadway on a regular basis is not to be tolerated, denying pedestrian access is another story.

One last matter involving blocked sidewalks: As downtown Fort Myers continues to undergo change, a special segment of sidewalk is currently blocked from public access and might never be the same. The street-level pedestrian area at the Monroe Street entrance to Harborside Event Center is the home of more than 100 personalized bricks that were sold as a way for the city to raise money for the center’s construction and for individuals, families and businesses to be recognized or memorialized. Now the entire area surrounding the convention center is cordoned off in anticipation of construction of an adjacent hotel (one that might never be completed, thanks to the city overlooking title issues).

The plan is to inventory and map the bricks, dig them up, store them and then replace them at the completion of work. At least that’s city officials have told me. But if the loss of some personalized bricks due to earlier repair work is any indication, I have my doubts. Being one whose family has a few bricks there, I can only hope officials will indeed do as they say in order to preserve history and keep the promise that was made when they took the public’s money.

To stay abreast of these matters, visit bikewalklee.blogspot.com. Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways.¦

- 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 bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417. 

For 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). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) 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.