The official Blog for bikewalklee.org. BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County, FL.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Dan Moser Column: May is National Bike Month
Dan's column this week reviews the many activities in our area during May in celebration of National Bike Month.
Yes, it’s hot, hot, hot in May. But riding a bike is one outdoor physical activity that’s fairly tolerable when the heat and humidity reach Southwest Florida’s excruciating summertime levels. And although Florida’s official Bike Month is technically designated as March, the fact is that the majority of Bike Month activities take place throughout the state in May each year, in conjunction with the rest of the country during National Bike Month.
To kick things off in style, our area’s popular first-Friday ride, known as SWFL Critical Mass, leaves at 7:30 p.m. on May 1, from the empty lot next to First Street Village Publix, between McGregor and First Street in Fort Myers’ River District. According to organizers, SWFL Critical Mass rides are brightly-lit, family-oriented, safe and fun events. The rules of the road are safety and courtesy to all others — other riders and those we share the road with or pass by. The group ride rolls through downtown and around the Edison historic district at speeds of 8-10 mph for a total of about 11 miles with a 10-minute break at Edison restaurant at Fort Myers Country Club. Bike lights are required and helmets highly recommended. You’ll find more info on Facebook by searching for “SWFLcriticalmass” or swflcriticalmass.wordpress.com
Next up is Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 6. At least seven schools in Lee County are participating in some way. Similar to October’s Walk to School Day, this event is intended to spark interest among families in having students ride their bikes to school or the bus stop. Based on the empty bike racks that are common at almost every school in Lee County there’s a lot of room for improvement in terms of getting parents to forego chauffeuring their children and instead allow them some independence while lowering the number of cars creating havoc around our schools. That unnecessary congestion is one of the reasons parents say makes them reluctant to let their kids ride a bike or walk to school. So the more cars removed from the student drop-off and pick-up lines the better.
CycloFemme is something fairly new to the Bike Month mix and happens on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10. The website, cyclofemme.com, describes it in the following way: “Our annual Mother’s Day ride unites riders, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or bicycle preference to share in the joy of cycling. Year round, our global community inspires and empowers other women, by making their passion public and the joy in cycling contagious. In our first year, 163 rides were registered in 14 countries with many others joining in to celebrate in their own special way. By our third, we grew to 303 rides in 25 countries, including participation from Bicycle Share programs in three metropolitan areas to reduce the barrier of owning a bike. Ride with us as we Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Empower the Future of Women in Cycling.” While there’s nothing listed for events happening in Southwest Florida, anyone can plan a ride and post it on his or her website.
The month then gets into high gear with Bike to Work Week, May 11-15, with May 15 being National Bike to Work Day. Whether you’ve tried commuting in the past or are thinking about it, the League of American Bicyclists provides tips to make the journey practical and enjoyable at bikeleague.org/content/commuting. For some it might mean having real options in getting to work, at least some of the time. My next column, which publishes that Wednesday, will include details of any commuter-related events that may be happening on Friday.
Finally, the annual Ride of Silence, honoring those who were killed or injured while riding their bikes, takes place on Wednesday, May 20. In Fort Myers, the ride begins in Centennial Park at 7 p.m. It’s a ride we’d all rather not have to host, but, unfortunately, that’s never the case because there are always friends and relatives who have met that fate and deserve to be honored. We’ll ride at a slow pace (10-12 mph) and keep talking to a minimum, as the name implies. Visit rideofsilence.org for more on our ride and others happening around our area and throughout the world. Remember, too, that you can learn more about this and many other important community matters at bikewalklee.blogspot.com.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways. ¦
Run for Kayla 5K, Saturday, May 2, Patriot School, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
— 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 334- 6417.