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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dan Moser column: Cape Coral Bike-Ped advocacy group launched

Florida Weekly, Feb. 27, 2013       
 This week's Moser column highlights the new Cape Coral Bike-Ped advocacy group, along with upcoming events.
dan@floridabicycle.org
Cape Coral has long been known by cyclists, especially group and club riders, as having had many good options for long rides. But as this 100-square-mile community has developed, quite a few of those choices have been eliminated for all but the most confident and experienced cyclists. BikeWalkLee has worked to encourage improvement to the situation, not just for distance cyclists, but for all non-motorized modes of transportation and recreation.

Now, however, there’s an organization fully dedicated to that effort. Below is what the group has to say about its mission:
“Cape Coral Bike- Ped is a new volunteer organization whose mission is to develop a system of interconnecting bike and pedestrian routes throughout Cape Coral for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are an avid runner or cyclist or someone who seldom exercises, connecting bicycle and pedestrian routes in Cape Coral is good for our economy, improves quality of life for citizens, and increases tourism. “Tourism is big business in Florida and Cape Coral is not getting its fair share of bicyclists, runners, and walker’s tourist dollars.

As Craig Dearden, an avid cyclist and CFO and COO of Realmark Development notes, ‘Being outside is what Florida is all about, improving the walking and bike lanes will promote our community as a place to exercise and safely enjoy our paradise.’ “The monetary effect of cycling tourism can have a huge impact on the city. Cyclists alone contribute an estimated $133 billion to the U. S. economy. More than $46.9 billion is spent on meals, transportation, lodging, gifts and entertainment during bike trips and tours. When you add in the contribution from runners and walkers the economic impact is even more substantial.

Patricia Young, a member of the Lee County MPO Bicycle- Pedestrian Coordinating Committee notes, ‘Connecting bike lanes, paths and sidewalks  improves the quality of life for everyone. It encourages health and well- being and spurs economic development.’ “Cape Coral Bike- Ped volunteers are stepping up to work in partnership with the city of Cape Coral to make a difference in the way the city improves and builds its bike lanes, paths and sidewalks. Visit our newly created website to learn more, donate and volunteer. We need your help through tax- deductible contributions and your willingness to volunteer to make this vision a reality. Together, we can develop a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly Cape Coral.”




Having been involved in advocacy for decades, I’m confident their approach will be effective. Even prior to becoming a formal organization, the core members of Cape Coral Bike-Ped developed relationships with key decision makers, influential community leaders, and the public that will be served by the increase in access and safety. If you’re a resident of Cape Coral and enjoy cycling, walking, running, or skating — and believe transportation options are vital — I encourage you to get involved.

Events update
It was cool and windy for this year’s Edison Festival 5K, but it still attracted almost 1,500 runners and walkers, most not fazed by the weather. Of course, having an excellent post-race event — including one of the country’s largest nighttime parades — probably influenced the numbers and lack of concern over the temperature. As usual, the Fort Myers Track Club did an excellent job managing this huge undertaking, something it will do again this coming weekend when it conducts Hooters to Hooters Half Marathon.

Speaking of well-managed events, Caloosa Riders holds its annual Royal Palm Ride from Buckingham Community Park on St Patty’s Day, Sunday, March 17. For the past few years, this popular ride unfortunately coincided with the Hooters race, but volunteers will once again be able to provide support on the half-marathon course, something race organizers greatly appreciate.

Finally, High Point Place is open for those training for the American Lung Association’s annual Fight for Air Stair Climb being held on Saturday, April 27. Through this month the stairwells are open on Saturday mornings; Wednesday evenings will be added beginning in March. Stair climbing is one of the most efficient and effective physical workouts one can engage in and you needn’t be some kind of super athlete to benefit. Try it, you’ll like it.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.
— Dan Moser is a league cycling and CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and programs director for the Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at dan@floridabicycle.org or 334- 6417.



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