News-Press "Go Coastal" Section, BikeWalkLee Column, May 29, 2014
It's a beautiful day, late December. How lucky am I to be living in Fort Myers and working on the beautiful island of Sanibel? After a great day at work I'm ready to get home, go for a walk, hop on my paddleboard or go for a long nice bike ride. I get in my car, head out to Periwinkle Way and into stopped traffic. It takes me an hour and 10 minutes to drive the eight miles to get home. As I'm sitting in traffic I say to myself, "Nope, this is not gonna work for me."
|View from the bridge|
|Biking by the Causeway islands|
People often say to me, "Oh, you have to cross that bridge" — like it's a bad thing. My answer is always, "No, I get to cross that wonderful bridge." It is so beautiful! I have seen so many dolphins, swimming and playing I have lost count. There was a dolphin that was under the second bridge every night for four days, same spot doing somersaults. He would go round and round — it was so fun to watch him play.
Then there was the osprey I watched dive to the water and catch a huge fish. I watched as he would put such power in his wings to lift that fish; he worked so hard, I was sure he would let it go. But as I watched him, he skimmed along the water's surface, and slowly he rose higher and higher until he was on his way across the water above me. What a beautiful sight — and I saw it all from my bike.
|Dolphins playing as Logan cycles by|
I have seen manatees come to the water's surface and just float — and again I think to myself, "I am so lucky." As I bike many nights after work, I am on one of the bridges and I have a partner flying next to me, at eye level, gliding along with me — no fear, just peace between us. It's a beautiful pelican; I have seen all the colors in his feathers as they glisten in the sun.
I have seen sharks, stingrays, dolphins, manatees, ospreys, pelicans, and fishermen hauling in some big fish, all out in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. All atop this wonderful bridge called the causeway, all on my bike.
I have watched the water change from a dark blue to a beautiful aqua blue, have seen the winds lift the water up making whitecaps and waves. I have seen color in the sky, the kites from kite boarders soaring, flipping, skimming across the water. And the view atop the tall bridge — breathtaking.
As the sun is setting its rays hit a building and the reflection from the windows hits the water, I can't begin to describe how this really looks. All I can say is it is incredible. I can see for what seems like forever from atop that bridge. I see how the water changes as it gets deep or shallow, I see dolphins swimming everywhere -- all on my bike. And again I think to myself, "I am so lucky."
|View of the Pine Island Sound from the bridge|
BikeWalkLee is 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 BikeWalkLee.org.
• Saturday, June 7: Fort Myers Track Club Membership Run, Hammond Stadium, 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers. Age 19-plus, $20; under 19, $12; families, $40. Registration 6:30 a.m., run 7:30 a.m. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
Cycling & other events:
• Sunday, July 6: Wheels and Wings V Bicycle Ride. 62/32/15 mile rides and a 10-mile gentlemen's mass start race within the 62-mile route. Speed Trap Alley — break the speed limit and receive a written warning from Punta Gorda Police, suitable for framing. Mystery Ride for the 15-milers. Beef O'Bradys 1105 Taylor Road, Punta Gorda. $30 includes ride, SAG stops, T-shirt, 10 Wings and two drinks (peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com)
• Sunday, June 1: 28th annual Fitness Challenge Reverse Triathlon. Run/bike/swim, sprint distance. The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, 851 Gulf Shore Blvd., Naples. $95 individuals, $180 teams. (thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
• Saturday, July 19: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood Beach, 2100 N. Beach Road, Englewood. 7 a.m. start. $70 individuals, $140 teams to June 9. (http://www.southcountyfamilyymca.org)
• Sept. 13-14: Registration is now open for the fourth annual Galloway Captiva Tri weekend. Saturday is the kids' day with three age groups (6-8, 9-10 and 11-13) enjoying the fun of multisports. Sunday, the adults take to the water and roadways in a sprint triathlon (swim/bike/run) covering all of Captiva Island. Spaces are limited for all events, so register now – no waiting lists this year. Information at www.captivatri.org.
• Sunday, Oct. 5: Marco Island Triathlon 2014, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, 400 South Collier, Marco Island. 8 a.m. start $85 individuals, $160 teams (http://www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)