Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It’s still steamy, but enjoy biking, running competitions


Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 7/19/17
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Southwest Florida offers many opportunities to participate, train and compete in bike events, road and trail races and triathlons (although you’ll have to travel to compete in an Ironman qualifier).

The Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org) lead rides every day except Mondays and Fridays. Area bike shops also facilitate rides. Dates and times change with the season but those confirmed at press time included Trek Bicycle Stores (trekbikestoreusa.com) in Fort Myers and Estero; Fort Myers Schwinn (schwinncyclery.com) in Old Fort Myers; Coastline Cyclery (coastlinecyclery.com) in southeast Fort Myers; Bike Bistro (thebikebistro.com) in the Iona area; EA Bicycles (eabicycles.com/) also in the Iona area (they organize mountain bike rides locally and out of town); JRA Bikes (find on Facebook) in North Fort Myers; and Paradise/Go Girl Cycling (gogirlcycling.com) in Fort Myers.

The Captiva Tri grows each year in popularity
as a local competition.
To take a first step into triathlons or to continue training, a local tri that’s upcoming is the Galloway Captiva Triathlon (captivatri.org), a two-day event that includes three different kids’ distances on Saturday, Sept. 9, and the adult sprint distance (1/4-mile swim, 10-mile bike ride and 5K run) on Sunday, Sept. 10. To get ready for that event there are a number of organized group rides taking place regularly throughout the area as well as group runs and 5K races happening between now and early September. Visit swimflorida.com for swim training opportunities.

The Captiva Tri grows each year in popularity as a local competition. The Captiva Tri grows each year in popularity as a local competition. Even in summer running remains popular, although the distance running race season doesn’t get into high gear until the fall. But a few 5K races and summer fun runs (usually 2-milers) are happening, as are group runs. The final Fort Myers Track Club Summer 2-Mile Fun Run Series happens on Tuesday evening, July 26, from Run Florida (McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers) and 3D Racing’s Cape 5K takes place on Saturday,

Aug. 12, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com).

One not to be missed comes next: Fort Myers Track Club’s annual Membership Run 5K on Saturday, Aug. 19. Instead of trophies each participant receives a one-year membership to FMTC and a club singlet shirt for registering. It takes place in and around Century Link Sports Complex (Twins & Miracle stadium) and also includes tickets to a Miracle game. Go to ftmyerstrackclub.com for all the details and to register. Also, check bikewalklee.blogspot.com for a more comprehensive listing of running, walking, biking, and tri events that are happening in and around Southwest Florida.

For more Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudc utters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site bikewalklee.blogspot.com has information to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally. ¦

- 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 bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417. 









Getting ready for group rides

BWL Column
The News-Press, 7/20/2017
by Ken Gooderham


Illustration: Pinterest
Interested in riding in a group? There are some significant skills you’ll want to master beforehand, but it isn’t as daunting as it can appear.

First, there are at least two kinds of group rides: One where you ride AS a group (as in an intentional and organized group ride) and one where you ride WITH a group (as in when single riders happen to run into other single riders in a common lane or path).

The latter is the simpler to explain: In this instance, you as the cyclist have three duties:
  • Be polite. Yield the right of way as necessary, greet other riders as appropriate, acknowledge drivers who acknowledge you as a show of thanks for their consideration.
  • Be predictable. Follow the common rules of the road and ride smart (no weaving or other boneheaded moves).
  • Be proactive. Signal your intentions, either by hand or voice. Ride defensively, and be ready to act to ensure your safety. Assume the worst, and be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t happen.

If you’d like to try riding as a group, check out your options… which, around here, pretty much is the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (although other group rides are available). The club offers more than 10 rides per week, and they are open to most (although you should plan on joining the club if you want to make this a habit).

However, group riding takes some skills and savvy, at least if you want to be invited back (or be allowed to participate at all).
  • Know your abilities. Most rides will state up front the likely mileage and pace for that particular route – and if you can’t do either, then that ride is not for you. Typically, a more accessible ride is offered for the novice (including “no drop” rides, where no rider will be left behind)… but these still require some stamina, so don’t attempt this on your first time back on the bike.
  • Know how to ride as a group. These skills include both hand signals (to warn the riders right behind you of imminent action) and voice signals (to inform riders around you and down the line of potential hazards, obstacles or issues). You also need to be comfortable riding in close proximity to others (which makes the riding easier for all) and how to share the biking burden via a paceline (where riders take turns leading out the group so everyone shares in riding into the wind). This takes skills to ride consistently, maintaining proper speed and knowing how and when to move up or back in the line.
  • Be prepared to ride. This means both having the necessary equipment to deal with mid-ride repairs (think flat tires, mostly) and knowing how to use them (although other riders may offer to help, you should not expect them to do it for you). This also means being ready to head out at the appointed time – not showing up late or lacking some essential ingredient for cycling such as properly inflated tires, hydration/nutrition and more. Oh, and have a clue about where you’re going… most rides include maps and, if they do, look at one beforehand just so you’re ready for whatever may be ahead.

It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that good road manners include getting along with motorized traffic. It may also include certain requirements… in the case of many clubs, helmets are mandatory and you will need to either be a member (to be protected by the club insurance) or sign a waiver (so the club is protected if you hurt yourself). You can find out more about the Caloosa Riders at caloosariders.org

Critical Mass rides deserve their own mention, since they are a unique and accessible event which focuses on fun over fitness. The pace is slower, the route is shorter, rides can include themes and pre-ride parties (and adult beverages can be involved). You still have to play by the rules, but the rider organizers make it a lot easier and safer for anyone to be involved by controlling surrounding traffic and working with police and more skilled riders to clear the way. It’s a fun time and a good way to pass a pleasant evening with fellow bike enthusiasts.

A Critical Mass anniversary

 

Speaking of Critical Mass, the group celebrates its fourth anniversary with a special Saturday night ride in Fort Myers on Aug. 5. Festivities kick off at 5 p.m. at Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers. Expect food and fun, plus raffles and music… and the usual ride, which sets out at 8 p.m. Helmets encouraged, lights required and don’t for get to bring a good attitude… and join the fun. Details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/.

Ready to ride or run?

 

Run? Summer has dried up most organized running events, but there’s a few stalwart souls: The Eagle Lakes 5K will be held on Saturday, July 29, at Eagle Lakes Community Park, Naples. Details at eliteevents.org.

Ride? You can always count on Critical Mass rides: Friday night is the Estero ride, massing at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 28, is the Cape Coral ride at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, July 29, is the monthly Slow Roll ride in downtown Fort Myers ay 9 a.m.. Lights are required for night rides, helmets recommended, and details and sign-up info is online at www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events.

Both? Willing to drive a little? There’s Tri Sarasota (sprint and international) on Saturday, Aug. 5, and Tri at Siesta Key (sprint and super-sprint) Sunday, Aug. 6. Nearby, there’s the Naples Junior Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 12, at North Collier Regional Park (naplesjuniortriathlon.com), and the Galloway Captiva Tri weekend Sept. 9-10… kids events in three age groups on Saturday and the adult sprint on Sunday (captivatri.org).

# # #

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. 


 

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Friday, July 21: Roll Estero, 7:30 p.m. 10021 Estero Town Commons Place #108, Estero. Lights required, helmets highly recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Friday, July 28: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, July 29: Saturday Slow Roll. 9 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, August 5: SWFL Critical Mass ride and 4th year Anniversary Party. The August ride for the main SWFL CM ride will take place on Saturday August 5th instead of Friday the 4th.  Come and celebrate the SWFL Critical Mass 4 year anniversary!  Starts at 5 p.m., fun, eats, games and fun til 7:45, then we ride; and have more fun. Its a Pirate theme, so if you want to have fun with that, then get your character on! 5 p.m., Centennial Park, Fort Myers. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/241614306/ and (www.SWFLcriticalmass.com).
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). 
  •  
Triathlons:



Monday, July 10, 2017

July 10: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Friday, July 14: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  •  Friday, July 21: Roll Estero, 7:30 p.m. 10021 Estero Town Commons Place #108, Estero. Lights required, helmets highly recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Friday, July 28: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, July 29: Saturday Slow Roll. 9 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). 
  •  
Triathlons:



Thursday, July 6, 2017

What would make us more walkable?

BWL Column
The News-Press, 7/6/2017
by Ken Gooderham

Image: seniorcarecorner.com
What would it take to make Southwest Florida more walkable?

There are a number of obstacles to overcome, some manmade and some natural. The natural issues are obvious, at least this time of year… it’s hot and it rains a lot some days. However, there are many places where weather can be an issue for walkers, and yet people walk just the same. Why? Because the manmade issues are less of an impediment, giving people more reason to brave the elements.

You can push back against some of the weather-related woes -- think trees for shade and shelters for a brief break --and remember that, for more than half of the year, our weather is an asset for walkers compared to more northern climes.

For improved walkability, you’d need to address the two kinds of walkers – the “utilitarians,” who walk to get somewhere, and the “recreationals,” who walk for pleasure and health. The latter will walk if you give them a place to do it, so appealing to them is easy (assuming they get how good walking can be for your body).

Appealing to the destination-driven takes a little more work, particularly in our area where walking infrastructure can be lacking and development patterns are grounded in the old suburban model of homes way over here and businesses way over there.

Still, this is not an insurmountable challenge, and communities are making moves to make walking more welcome. How can that be done?

  • Make walking easier than the other transportation options. When it’s easier (or less expensive or less hassle) to walk to some place than it is to drive, people will walk. And if you target the appropriate areas for pedestrian infrastructure – places that have destinations, just not sidewalks or paths – you’ll see a much quicker return on that public investment.
  • Plan for walking from the beginning, not after the fact. Building roadways with sidewalks and bike lanes designed in is a lot cheaper than installing them after the fact Making parks and other public spaces both walkable and connected to a larger network of transportation makes them both destination and thoroughfare, and increases their use and value. And making infrastructure conducive to walking will encourage use, unlike some of our local roadways that almost defy someone to walk on or along them.
  • Make walking safe. Safe from injury, safe from crime, safe consistently and overall. In an area with some of the worst pedestrian safety rankings in the country, this point cannot be overstated.
  • Give people a destination they can walk to. That may mean rethinking our neighborhoods, so shops can mix in with homes like the good old days. It certainly means rethinking our transportation planning, where bike and pedestrian infrastructure is underfunded and under-appreciated.
  • Look at walking as a viable part of your transportation system. Not everyone has a motor vehicle, and not everyone should have to drive to survive. (There are some people you really don’t want behind the wheel, for example.) So if walking can get them to and from some reliable form of mass transit, that makes a vehicle a little less essential.

Why would we want to make our area more walkable? That’s easy… it’s healthier, it gets people out of their cars and it improves our sense of community. It would be an attractive asset for tourists and residents alike, particularly as more people look for alternatives to being trapped in a car every day. It can certainly be good for business, since you notice a lot more walking by a storefront than you do driving by one. And it is a clear boon to health, a physical activity almost everyone can do and gain benefits from almost immediately.

What’s not to love?

Stop it!

A quick quiz for drivers: You’re approaching an intersection in your vehicle. Where do you stop?

A) At the thick white line that crosses your lane (or lanes)?
B) At the first of two parallel lines that cross the entire road?
C) At the second parallel line, the one closest to the intersection itself?

If you answered A, congrats. You obeyed the law and made a pedestrian very happy. If you answered B, you’re wrong… but at least you stayed out of the crosswalk.

If you picked C, not only did you impinge on the pedestrian crosswalk (not cool) but you may have blocked the line of sight for right-turning drivers watching for oncoming traffic (also not cool) – and, at some intersections, you also missed the trigger to turn the traffic signal green. So you may be stuck there until someone pulls up behind you and stops in the correct spot.

Ready to ride or run?

Run? Heat and humidity are taking their toll on run events, but there’s still a few to choose from: Try the Beat the Heat 5K at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral on Saturday, July 15 (3dracinginc.com) or join the Fort Myers Track Club for a two-mile fun run on Tuesday, July 18 (ftmyerstrackclub.com).

Ride? You can always count on Critical Mass rides: Friday night is the big downtown monthly ride, massing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday is the Sanibel ride, and Friday, July 14 is the NE Lee ride. They all start at 7:30 p.m., lights are required and helmets recommended, and details and sign-up info is online at www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events. For a longer ride, head to Punta Gorda for the 9th annual Wheels and Wings on Saturday, July 9; details at www.peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com.

Both? Saturday brings the Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri in Englewood (www.swflymca.org/programs/englewood-triathlon). Planning ahead, there’s the Naples Junior Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 12, at North Collier Regional Park (naplesjuniortriathlon.com), and the Galloway Captiva Tri weekend Sept. 9-10… kids events on Saturday and the adult sprint on Sunday, captivatri.org.


# # #

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. 


 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

It’s time to clear the way


Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 7/5/17
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Dan Moser
If you thought your lawn and landscaping were all but dead just a few short weeks ago, you weren’t alone. That’s now just a memory as summer rains have come, sometimes with a vengeance. This windfall of life-giving water is welcome but there can be too much of a good thing, especially when so much comes so soon. Flash-floods and early season ground saturation are two pitfalls of the weather we’ve experienced. Warp-speed grass and foliage overgrowth is another. Unsightly aesthetics are one thing but there’s a much more disruptive aspect of untrimmed trees, bushes and hedges.

Sidewalks and bike paths are frequently obstructed by overgrown vegetation this time of year, a problem that may seem minor to some people but not those of us who walk, run, skate and ride bikes on these facilities. Just as is the case with illegally parked vehicles, we are all put at risk by being forced onto roadway travel lanes. For those with mobility issues or other disabilities these obstacles can be even more problematic and, in fact, constitute a breach of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Overgrowth is especially problematic this
time of year. Sidewalks can become
impassable with growth.
Each year at this time of year I make it a point to remind readers to be aware of problems created by unaddressed overgrowth and to take action, whether that means trimming back your own sidewalks and pathways or reporting obstructions, including illegally parked vehicles and other impediments that block the way.

In every jurisdiction, whether it’s a city, town, village or unincorporated area of the county, overgrowth emanating from private property into the public right of way is the responsibility of the property owner to remove, cutback or otherwise keep public spaces such as sidewalks and pathways free of obstructions. But in some jurisdictions, property owners have even more responsibility.

Florida law allows local governments to put in place a provision transferring to property owners the additional responsibility of keeping sidewalks and pathways adjacent to their property clear and safe even if the problematic vegetation is planted in the public right of way. Such an ordinance can also include maintaining the sidewalk itself, even replacing damaged segments when they become a hazard or are not accessible by persons with disabilities — for example, ADA non-compliant. In our area, that policy is in effect in the city of Fort Myers Ordinance 134.2.25.C.

Generally speaking, the public works or transportation departments are responsible for keeping the public right-of-way safe and accessible, although most do so only upon complaints and, in my opinion, don’t do the kind of preventive maintenance that’s necessary (much more time, energy, and money is spent on keeping roadway median landscaping looking good). That being the case, in most instances they are usually prompt in taking care of problems when there’s a public safety issue or sometimes when ADA access is at issue (although the city is less than consistent as to how it responds in such circumstances because of their specific ordinance). Regardless of who’s responsible, we should all do what’s necessary to ensure pedestrians and bicyclists unfettered access. Especially this time of year, when things can quickly get out of hand, be sure to keep your own vegetation trimmed back, ask your neighbors to do the same, and make the appropriate government’s public works department aware of problems you believe it should handle. Of course, the requirement to keep the pathway clear includes non-organic items, such as parked cars, trash receptacles, and other moving or stationary objects.

Below is a listing of public works departments to make requests for maintenance (this information can also be found on bikewalklee.blogspot.com). If public works isn’t responsive because the problem is related to private property it may be necessary to contact code enforcement. Also, be aware that roads under the jurisdiction of Lee County and/or Florida DOT run through our municipalities so it may be necessary to direct your request to either of those entities in some cases. If you’re hesitant to call in a complaint please consider this: would a roadway’s motor vehicle travel lanes be left in a condition that makes them fully or partially impassible?

- 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 bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417. 









Monday, July 3, 2017

July 3: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Friday, July 7: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at 7:15 p.m. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, July 8: Sanibel Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Sunday, July 9: 8th annual Wheels & Wings, 15-, 32-, 50- and 62-mile rides and a 40-mile Gravel Grinder plus more. Peace River Riders (www.peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com
  • Friday, July 14: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). 
  •  
Triathlons: