News-Press "Go Coastal" Section: June 26, 2014
Note: For many, bicycling is more than a way to get from Point A to Point B or to keep themselves fit… it's an opportunity to build camaraderie as well as callouses, to build friendship ad well as muscles, by being part of a bike club. We'll let Robin Tucker Goyette, president of the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club, explain it.
Bicycling is better in retirement. That's the attitude of the 150 enthusiastic men and women I cycle with on a regular basis. We are the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club (bonitabaybicycleclub.com), the largest private cycling club in Southwest Florida.
The promised gifts of retirement — be they leisure, friendships or a chance to take up a new hobby — lead many in my community to join our bike club. We have time for a morning full of exercise (in fact, we break at the halfway point in our rides for coffee and conversation.) Group cycling is noncompetitive and requires close cooperation, the result being special friendships based on support and trust. And biking is a pursuit that can be relatively inexpensive, easy on our aging joints and can be enjoyed outdoors nearly every day in this delightful climate.
The Bonita Bay Bicycle Club was formed in 2001. At that time most of the 16 cyclists rode hybrid bicycles and a "long" ride was 20 miles. These days, all our members ride road bikes, ride length is 30-60 miles depending on group preference, and average speed has steadily increased year by year. Those who say that the physical abilities of seniors are diminishing need to have a look at our group; for example, our eldest cyclist (85 years old) rode 1,200 miles over the just-completed winter season.
When the wind is from the north we ride to Fort Myers, and when the wind is from the south we ride to Naples along traditional bike routes established by the club. But we like variety, too, and will sometimes plan a jaunt to Sanibel/Captiva or even an 80-mile spin to Ave Maria.
But our very best rides occur when we vacation together as a group. In the past five years we have cycled across the state of Iowa, along the Hudson River from Albany to Battery Park, on the Mesabi Trail in the Iron Range of northern Minnesota, all over the state of Florida, through the Loire Valley of France, and even 3,000 miles across the United States. Later this summer we will congregate in Door County, Wisc., to spend a week cycling, dining, and gallery-hopping together.
Needless to say, we of the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club strongly endorse cycling as a pursuit worthy of your consideration in retirement. If you spot us at a local cafe, stop by to share a cup of coffee — we'd love to talk bicycling with you.
— 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.