BikeWalkLee's Column in "Go Coastal" section of News-Press, Dec. 8, 2016
|(Photo: petrunjela, Getty Images/iStockphoto)|
Looking for holiday ideas for family and friends who bike, walk or run? Look no further than their favorite fitness activity for inspiration.
It should be a no-brainer. You know they like to do the aforementioned activity – that’s why they do it. You know what they use (and therefore could use) while participating – you’ve seen them head out the door almost every day. And you know that a gift which supports their sport will be used and appreciated (at least if you make the right selections).
So what should you be looking for?
Support their fitness. There are all kinds of gadgets to let people track their activities, for example… but be sure to check that the monitor you have in mind actually tracks their action, since not all sports are included in every monitor.
Is your recipient ready to take their efforts to the next level? Why not give them the gift of a few sessions with a sport-specific coach who can help them with their form and provide the tips they may need to get better at getting down the road (or path).
And if you’ve noticed some of their gear is getting a little grotesque, help them replace the run-down with something new. (Gift cards are always an answer if you don’t know exactly what they want but you know where they want to buy it.)
Support their safety. You want to them come back home in one piece, of course… so help them stay safe by helping them be seen. Lights are a must this time of year, with less daylight and more people out and about. Walkers and runners can use flashers or head lamps, while bikers can use lights for their rides.
Attire is also key to safety, so look for something bright and something that can keep them safe from the climate, too. Hats, jackets and gloves (don’t laugh, hands get cold this time of year) are good options.
You can keep them safe out on the road, too – by making it easier for first responders to act should something go awry. Buy them a subscription such as Road ID, an ID system that allows you to have all your health and other pertinent info online and accessible to first responders – all in a handy bracelet with options for every sport and preference.
Support their fun. Does your walker or runner need some tunes to keep them motivated? Help them buy new music to download, or upgrade their earphones to something easier to use or better to listen with.
Since your cyclist should not be riding with headphones (the better to hear approaching traffic), look for something unique for their ride. Perhaps something to customize their cycle, or a carrier to make carrying things easier. In the spirit of the season, get them some battery-operated lights with which to decorate their bike.
Perhaps it’s a good time to swing by your local bike shop or running store, to see what’s out there and be inspired in your gift selection (not to mention finding something for yourself). Lots of good ideas, and you’ll help support some local small businesses to boot!
Maybe give them the best gift of all… more time to walk, run or ride (by offering to do something to free them up) or, better yet, more time with you (by joining them in their run or ride a few more times in the months ahead).
-- 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.
Critical Mass for Christmas?
Looking for something different to celebrate the holidays? Consider joining the Crappy Sweater and Cookie Ride being offered by SWFL Critical Mass on Saturday, Dec. 17.
Join up with the Mass at 7 p.m. at 2180 McGregor Blvd., then roll out at 7:30 p.m. for a slow ride through downtown Fort Myers to enjoy the decorations. Some of the best lights may be on the bikes themselves, as riders are encouraged to light up their rides for the season – and you can expect some stellar work.
You can also bring a holiday treat to share, as the group will amass back at the starting lot for post-ride festivities.
It’s a slow ride, so everyone can keep up. But it’s at night, so lights are a must (loaners available) and helmets are strongly encouraged (more protection than a Santa hat). Crappy sweaters are optional, but recommended. Find out more on Facebook.
Ready to ride or run?
Run: Collier County has all the upcoming action, with a Naples 5K and Marco 5-milers on Dec. 17 after a Dec. 10 5K (gcrunner.org and eliteevents.com). All are good training for the River Roots and Ruts half marathon at Caloosahatchee Regional Park on Jan. 8.
Ride: Critical Mass rules, with rides in NE Lee (Friday), Sanibel (Saturday) and Estero (Dec. 16) prior to the Xmas ride in downtown Fort Myers on Dec. 17. Details at http://www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events or on Facebook.
Both: Get ready for the Christmas with a sprint tri (or duathlon) on Dec. 18 at Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org).