BikeWalkLee column in News-Press "Go Coastal" Section, Feb. 18, 2016
When it’s wet:
- If it’s raining and you have a choice, stay inside – unless you have the right gear and are appropriately prepared. If that’s not an option, then put on the most water-resistant thing you’ve got (which may also keep you warmer in the process), dress in (breathable) layers both for exterior wet and interior warmth, and get out of your wet gear ASAP once you’re done. Also, take care of your equipment afterward… if you bike, dry and lube your bike to battle rust; if you walk or run, dry and clean your shoes well before using them again.
- Be visible… always important when you bike or walk, but doubly so when it’s cloudy, dreary or even drippy. Motorists have a lot of extra distractions between inclement weather and increasing traffic, so make sure you stand out from the surroundings.
- Be aware of what water does to the roads and paths – particularly important for our winter residents/visitors who don’t have the experience that summer deluges can bring to riding and walking. Beware of puddles (unless you know what’s beneath them), avoid areas that usually flood first and drain last, and remember that water + road markings = a very slippery surface.
- Check the wind direction and plan accordingly. Head into the wind when you start your ride or walk (and when your legs are the freshest), so you’ll have the breeze at your back coming home.
- Dress accordingly… wind chill isn’t just for up north. Walking or riding when it’s 55 degrees and calm is a very different experience than when it’s 55 with a 20 mph headwind. Dress in layers you can button up going into the wind and open up when it’s behind you.
- Adjust your exertions appropriately. Riding into the wind means dropping down a gear and working to lower your wind resistance (if that’s possible), or running/walking a little slower (while making sure your attire stays attached to you). Crosswinds mean you need to stay steady (and careful) if it’s gusty… and it’s all worth it if you can enjoy a few miles with a good breeze at your back to help you pick up the pace with less work to boot.
If that happens, don’t let any wild weather keep your from taking advantage of the cooler temperatures, just take a few simple steps to make your ride, run or walk safe, dry and delightful.
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 www.BikeWalkLee.org.
Ready to ride or run
Run: Join the crowds (on the road or on the sidewalks) for the Edison Festival of Light 5K on Saturday night (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com). Too much too soon? There are three 5Ks the following weekend, to benefit the Humane Society (Swamp Stomp 5K), high school scholars (TALC Scholarship Fund Run 5K) or Naples youth groups (Naples Coconut 5K).
Ride: Critical Mass rides abound, with the Cape Coral ride Feb. 26, and the starter ride the morning after that in Fort Myers, and the Fort Myers night ride March 4. Mark your calendars: The Royal Palm Classic ride is Sunday, March 13. Join the Caloosa Riders for what is always a fun event, whatever the distance you choose.
To keep people safe at night while biking, we’re working to provide free bike lights to those unable to afford them (but who have to ride at night). BikeWalkLee partners (including Pawnbroker Marketing and Billy's Bikes) will be coordinating events during this campaign. Be sure to watch the BikeWalklee Facebook and Twitter pages for more #BeSeenLee event announcements and details.