Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It’s still steamy, but enjoy biking, running competitions

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 7/19/17

Southwest Florida offers many opportunities to participate, train and compete in bike events, road and trail races and triathlons (although you’ll have to travel to compete in an Ironman qualifier).

The Caloosa Riders ( lead rides every day except Mondays and Fridays. Area bike shops also facilitate rides. Dates and times change with the season but those confirmed at press time included Trek Bicycle Stores ( in Fort Myers and Estero; Fort Myers Schwinn ( in Old Fort Myers; Coastline Cyclery ( in southeast Fort Myers; Bike Bistro ( in the Iona area; EA Bicycles ( also in the Iona area (they organize mountain bike rides locally and out of town); JRA Bikes (find on Facebook) in North Fort Myers; and Paradise/Go Girl Cycling ( in Fort Myers.

The Captiva Tri grows each year in popularity
as a local competition.
To take a first step into triathlons or to continue training, a local tri that’s upcoming is the Galloway Captiva Triathlon (, a two-day event that includes three different kids’ distances on Saturday, Sept. 9, and the adult sprint distance (1/4-mile swim, 10-mile bike ride and 5K run) on Sunday, Sept. 10. To get ready for that event there are a number of organized group rides taking place regularly throughout the area as well as group runs and 5K races happening between now and early September. Visit for swim training opportunities.

The Captiva Tri grows each year in popularity as a local competition. The Captiva Tri grows each year in popularity as a local competition. Even in summer running remains popular, although the distance running race season doesn’t get into high gear until the fall. But a few 5K races and summer fun runs (usually 2-milers) are happening, as are group runs. The final Fort Myers Track Club Summer 2-Mile Fun Run Series happens on Tuesday evening, July 26, from Run Florida (McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers) and 3D Racing’s Cape 5K takes place on Saturday,

Aug. 12, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (

One not to be missed comes next: Fort Myers Track Club’s annual Membership Run 5K on Saturday, Aug. 19. Instead of trophies each participant receives a one-year membership to FMTC and a club singlet shirt for registering. It takes place in and around Century Link Sports Complex (Twins & Miracle stadium) and also includes tickets to a Miracle game. Go to for all the details and to register. Also, check for a more comprehensive listing of running, walking, biking, and tri events that are happening in and around Southwest Florida.

For more Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (; Florida Mudc utters (; and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group ( The Florida Bicycle Association ( is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has information to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally. ¦

- 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 334-6417. 

Getting ready for group rides

BWL Column
The News-Press, 7/20/2017
by Ken Gooderham

Illustration: Pinterest
Interested in riding in a group? There are some significant skills you’ll want to master beforehand, but it isn’t as daunting as it can appear.

First, there are at least two kinds of group rides: One where you ride AS a group (as in an intentional and organized group ride) and one where you ride WITH a group (as in when single riders happen to run into other single riders in a common lane or path).

The latter is the simpler to explain: In this instance, you as the cyclist have three duties:
  • Be polite. Yield the right of way as necessary, greet other riders as appropriate, acknowledge drivers who acknowledge you as a show of thanks for their consideration.
  • Be predictable. Follow the common rules of the road and ride smart (no weaving or other boneheaded moves).
  • Be proactive. Signal your intentions, either by hand or voice. Ride defensively, and be ready to act to ensure your safety. Assume the worst, and be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t happen.

If you’d like to try riding as a group, check out your options… which, around here, pretty much is the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (although other group rides are available). The club offers more than 10 rides per week, and they are open to most (although you should plan on joining the club if you want to make this a habit).

However, group riding takes some skills and savvy, at least if you want to be invited back (or be allowed to participate at all).
  • Know your abilities. Most rides will state up front the likely mileage and pace for that particular route – and if you can’t do either, then that ride is not for you. Typically, a more accessible ride is offered for the novice (including “no drop” rides, where no rider will be left behind)… but these still require some stamina, so don’t attempt this on your first time back on the bike.
  • Know how to ride as a group. These skills include both hand signals (to warn the riders right behind you of imminent action) and voice signals (to inform riders around you and down the line of potential hazards, obstacles or issues). You also need to be comfortable riding in close proximity to others (which makes the riding easier for all) and how to share the biking burden via a paceline (where riders take turns leading out the group so everyone shares in riding into the wind). This takes skills to ride consistently, maintaining proper speed and knowing how and when to move up or back in the line.
  • Be prepared to ride. This means both having the necessary equipment to deal with mid-ride repairs (think flat tires, mostly) and knowing how to use them (although other riders may offer to help, you should not expect them to do it for you). This also means being ready to head out at the appointed time – not showing up late or lacking some essential ingredient for cycling such as properly inflated tires, hydration/nutrition and more. Oh, and have a clue about where you’re going… most rides include maps and, if they do, look at one beforehand just so you’re ready for whatever may be ahead.

It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that good road manners include getting along with motorized traffic. It may also include certain requirements… in the case of many clubs, helmets are mandatory and you will need to either be a member (to be protected by the club insurance) or sign a waiver (so the club is protected if you hurt yourself). You can find out more about the Caloosa Riders at

Critical Mass rides deserve their own mention, since they are a unique and accessible event which focuses on fun over fitness. The pace is slower, the route is shorter, rides can include themes and pre-ride parties (and adult beverages can be involved). You still have to play by the rules, but the rider organizers make it a lot easier and safer for anyone to be involved by controlling surrounding traffic and working with police and more skilled riders to clear the way. It’s a fun time and a good way to pass a pleasant evening with fellow bike enthusiasts.

A Critical Mass anniversary


Speaking of Critical Mass, the group celebrates its fourth anniversary with a special Saturday night ride in Fort Myers on Aug. 5. Festivities kick off at 5 p.m. at Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers. Expect food and fun, plus raffles and music… and the usual ride, which sets out at 8 p.m. Helmets encouraged, lights required and don’t for get to bring a good attitude… and join the fun. Details at

Ready to ride or run?


Run? Summer has dried up most organized running events, but there’s a few stalwart souls: The Eagle Lakes 5K will be held on Saturday, July 29, at Eagle Lakes Community Park, Naples. Details at

Ride? You can always count on Critical Mass rides: Friday night is the Estero ride, massing at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 28, is the Cape Coral ride at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, July 29, is the monthly Slow Roll ride in downtown Fort Myers ay 9 a.m.. Lights are required for night rides, helmets recommended, and details and sign-up info is online at

Both? Willing to drive a little? There’s Tri Sarasota (sprint and international) on Saturday, Aug. 5, and Tri at Siesta Key (sprint and super-sprint) Sunday, Aug. 6. Nearby, there’s the Naples Junior Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 12, at North Collier Regional Park (, and the Galloway Captiva Tri weekend Sept. 9-10… kids events in three age groups on Saturday and the adult sprint on Sunday (

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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, July 17, 2017

July 17: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events


  • Friday, July 21: Roll Estero, 7:30 p.m. 10021 Estero Town Commons Place #108, Estero. Lights required, helmets highly recommended. (
  • Friday, July 28: 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. (
  • Saturday, July 29: 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. (
  • Saturday, August 5: SWFL Critical Mass ride and 4th year Anniversary Party. The August ride for the main SWFL CM ride will take place on Saturday August 5th instead of Friday the 4th.  Come and celebrate the SWFL Critical Mass 4 year anniversary!  Starts at 5 p.m., fun, eats, games and fun til 7:45, then we ride; and have more fun. Its a Pirate theme, so if you want to have fun with that, then get your character on! 5 p.m., Centennial Park, Fort Myers. ( and (
  • 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 (