Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Check these events to help you burn off football, holiday calories

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 11/02/2016 

Watching football on Saturday and Sunday is quite popular this time of year but it comes with a price. Specifically, the combination of sitting for hours, getting one’s mind numbed by the onslaught of repetitive commercials, and overeating foods that otherwise wouldn’t be consumed so frequently or in such quantity, are the culprits.

And let’s not forget the extra calories that come with beer and sugary beverages, sometimes starting to be imbibed in the early afternoon and going into the late evening when the last game is finally over. But there’s a way to offset the damage, at least to some degree.

With so many active outdoor events in which to participate this time of year it’s pretty hard to justify not taking part in one or another as a check and balance to enjoying the games as passive spectators.

It’s a given that these participatory events mean there’s physical effort involved, but they can be just as much fun as sitting, eating, drinking and cheering on one’s team.

Top: Riders taking off at this year’s Epilepsy Ride at Coastline Cyclery. Above: Runners at the Sanibel FISH 10K last month.
Riders taking off at this year’s Epilepsy Ride
at Coastline Cyclery.
Below are a few options upcoming through the end of the year and beyond.

Friday, Nov. 11, the annual Midpoint Madness/Veterans Day 5K takes place at Royal Palm Square on the Fort Myers side of the bridge. This evening race is always a unique experience as it’s the only time one can access the bridge on foot (there are no sidewalks and pedestrians are banned at all other times). Details and registration can be found at and

Those who are especially ambitious can roll out of bed the next morning and run or walk the Coconut Run 5K at Sun Splash Water Park in Cape Coral.

Happening the following Saturday is a new race, the Bonita Rotary 5K, staging at Riverside Park in downtown Bonita Springs. Register for the two afore mentioned events at

Runners at the Sanibel FISH 10K last month
Up next is Cape Coral Hospital’s Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 24. This very popular run/walk is just what’s needed to diminish guilt associated with the overindulgence that comes from the combination of holiday feasting and football watching on this long weekend.

Soon afterward is one of the oldest races in our community: River Run 10K and 2-miler. The 10K crosses the Caloosahatchee River Bridge (another structure off limits to pedestrians so this is the only chance to use it) and Edison Bridge. Both races begin and end in downtown Fort Myers. Turkey Trot and River Run are both conducted by the Fort Myers Track Club.

If running or walking isn’t your thing, or if you want to mix it up, biking options abound. Southwest Florida Critical Mass rides are happening on a regular basis with the next ones being Friday, Nov. 11, Winn-Dixie parking lot, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. (at Buckingham Road), 7:30 p.m; Saturday, Nov. 12, Sanibel, Jerry’s parking lot, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 25, Cape Coral, Farmers Market Parking Lot, 4706 SE 11th Place (at 47 Terrace, across from Dixie Roadhouse and behind Iguana Mia and Nevermind), 7:30 p.m.; and the local granddaddy of the Critical Mass Rides, Friday, Dec. 2, downtown Fort Myers in the empty parking lot next to Publix on McGregor at Victoria Avenue, 8 p.m.

For those looking for rides that test one’s physical limits the Caloosa Riders are conducting a membership appreciation ride on Sunday morning, Nov. 12, from the Bike Bistro, 20351 Summerlin Rd. (across from Sanibel Outlets Mall); come and join the club for this free ride (

Then on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 27, the Iron Joe Turkey Ride takes place in Naples (

As an alternative to riding, volunteers are needed at Fort Myers Schwinn Cyclery on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 10, to repair and refurbish bikes that will go to at-risk kids; contact the bike shop at 939- 2899 or or learn more about the program at I Will Mentorship Foundation (

Finally, it’s a good time to sign up for the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb (, being conducted April 29 at the 30-story Oasis Condo in downtown Fort Myers.

Whatever you do, get out there and burn off those holiday calories. ¦

- 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 and 334-6417.

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