Monday, September 17, 2018

Save the date! Stakeholder meeting SUN trail Cape Coral

You are invited to the stakeholder meeting/presentation on September 25th, beginning at 5PM for the Florida Shared-Use Non-Motorized (SUN) Trail Van Buren Pkwy/El Dorado Blvd/Kismet Pkwy Burnt Store Rd to Del Prado Blvd in Cape Coral.

The Stakeholders Meeting is essentially a meeting for the internal/external stakeholders. At this meeting, we will discuss the scope of the project and 30% plans developed with the local governments, utility companies, affected agencies, and key external stakeholders. The purpose of this meeting is to solicit information from these stakeholders.

The meeting will be held at the City of Cape Coral Public Works Large Conference Room A200 (Green Room) located at 815 Nicholas Parkway East, Cape Coral. 

 

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

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

  • Thursday, Oct. 4: GCR Corporate Run, 6 p.m., Gordon River Greenway, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 6: Busey Bank Run for Prevention 5K, Centennial Park, Fort Myers, 5-8 p.m. (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 13: Cops & Joggers 5K, downtown Fort Myers. 7:45 p.m. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 20: Gulf to Gulf 80 Relay, 80-mile relay race starting and ending at Cambier park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 20: St Andrew Catholic School Run for the Stars 5K, 7:30 a.m., Jim Jeffers Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Sunday, Oct. 21: Rocktoberfest 10 Miler and Relay, North collier Regional Park, 7 a.m. (eliteevents.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 27: F.I.S.H. 10K, Sanibel Community House, 7:30 a.m. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 27: Halloween Monster 5K, Fleischmann Park, Naples 7:30 a.m. (gcrunner.org
  •  Saturday, Oct. 27: Babcock Ranch Trick or Trot 5K, 7:30 a.m., Babcock Ranch (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Olde Naples 10K run/2K walk, 7:30 a.m.(gcrunner.org)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: Midpoint Madness 5K, Midpoint Bridge (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Naples Fall Classic Half Marathon and 5K, 7 a.m., Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: 39th annual Turkey Trot 5K, 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Wellness Center, Cape Coral (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk, 7 a.m., Germain Arena, Estero (eliteevents.org
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: GCR Thanksgiving 5K, 7:30 a.m., Cambier Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:

  • Sunday, Sept. 23: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Sept. 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, Sept. 29: Saturday Slow Roll. 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, Sept. 30: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Monday, Oct. 7: Gran Fondo Sarasota, Nathan Benderson Park, four courses/distances (caloosariders.org
  • Sunday, Oct 7: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.  (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Oct. 12: 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)
  • Saturday, Oct. 13: 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)
  • Sunday, Oct. 14: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.  (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, Oct. 29: 9th annual Tour de North Port, 15-, 35- and 65-mile rides, 7:30 a.m., Imagine School, Upper Campus, 2757 Sycamore Street, North Port (caloosariders.org
  • 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:
  • Saturday, Sept. 22: (“The Original”) Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon, Siesta Key (trifind.com
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Longboat Key Triathlon & Duathlon, sprint and Olympic tris, sprint and Olympic duathlon. Longboat Key Club & Resort (longboatkeytriathlon.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Can biking bring them back?


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 9/13/2018
by Ken Gooderham

When your biggest industry relies on clean water and sparkling beaches, a double dose of sea life-killing attacks is a real hit in the pocketbook.

That is painfully clear when the nearshore waters are not, as has been the case this summer after the one-two punch of blue-green algae and a robust red tide bloom put our local economy back on its heels. Visitors and residents alike were driven from our beaches and shorelines by the dangerous outbreaks, the vile smell and the tons of dead fish washing or floating ashore.

What’s the long-term impact? Hopefully, not much – IF the waters start to clear and stay that way, and IF steps are taken to prevent such outbreaks from recurring in the near future, and IF the visitors and part-time residents repelled by the wretched water can be convinced to give our region one more try.

Unfortunately, after a number of algae outbreaks back to back, some former visitors may decide to turn their back on our coasts and waterways – and that’s not good for business and, eventually, all of us.

So, besides redoubling our commitment to clean up this mess – which is still going to take years, even if every plan in the works was fully funded tomorrow – we may need to look at other ways to bring visitors back to Southwest Florida.

We’ve already spent a lot on baseball, both spring training and amateur events. But people drawn to the diamonds need something to do when the games aren’t playing. If they are afraid to go to the beach or to fish local waters, what else is there?

Why not cycling?

Look around the state. A lot of other areas have plunged into the pedaling market, not just building bike lanes and shared-use paths to get from here to there but also putting together trails where bicycling becomes the main attraction and not just a convenience. They’ve invested in trails where cyclists can ride all day – or over many days – to see the wonders of our state up close and personal from the saddle of their bike.

But when you look over the state’s trail network, Southwest Florida is noticeably absent. Sure, we have Sanibel, which earns its due as a cycling destination with an island-wide network. Soon, one expects, Cape Coral will join that list as its bike infrastructure grows. And, slowly, there are individual trails being put in place around the region that expand the cycling options in that area.

There has even been talk about a more concerted effort to string together existing piecemeal trails into a more substantial route – either stretching along the coast or further inland. That talk is appreciated, but action would be appreciated even more.

Other areas have figured out that bike tourism brings in business, that people will pay to stay, eat, drink and more as they ride along a formally designated route. They’ve seen that connecting places for biking makes a connection with visitors who want to have a safe and interesting place to ride.

Why haven’t we?

We have the perfect climate (at least for half to two-thirds of the year) and the perfect albeit boring terrain (flat). And we have a lot of places that could easily be connected for biking by using existing roads or rights-of-way.

Imagine a trail that could take riders from Sanibel’s island network to the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. Or one that tied together our coastal cities from Naples northward to Sarasota. Even a cross-state trail that could do for South Florida what the Coast-to-Coast Trail is striving for in the middle of the state.

I’d even settle for a trail that took cyclists from one part of Lee County to the other safely, building off our existing network to extend the cycling reach a little farther. Include in that a recommitment to making more of our roadways “complete” – with space for all the users to safely travel – and we might have something to talk about, something that adds to our potential allure to tourists who’ve seen too many images of dying waters and dead sea life lately.

Is that going to bring the wary visitor back? We don’t know for sure.

But if this area doesn’t continue to diversify its tourism offerings as well as clean up its messes, our economy will still be held hostage any time something goes wrong with our bread-and-butter attractions of sand, surf and sunshine.

Cycling is working in other areas. Maybe we should try it – and try harder – here.

Ready to ride or run?

Run?  Not much on the calendar until October, so this is a good time to fine-tune your training to be ready when the rash of 5K and other runs finally arrive.

Ride? Due to a quirk of the calendar, the only Critical Mass ride in sight is the NE Lee event on Friday night. Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all; details at http://www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/. You can also join the no-drop Wakey, Wakey! Sunday morning ride leaving from Fort Myers Trek. The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.

Both? Upcoming events include:
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri, with the kids’ events (three age groups) Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday. (captivatri.org)
  • Saturday, Sept. 22: (“The Original”) Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon, Siesta Key (trifind.com
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Longboat Key Triathlon & Duathlon, sprint and Olympic tris, sprint and Olympic duathlon. Longboat Key Club & Resort (longboatkeytriathlon.com)

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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, September 12, 2018

Advocacy groups are raising awareness for pedestrians, cyclists

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 9/12/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com


Hanson Street, above, in Fort Myers is an example of an incomplete street.
North Estero Boulevard on Fort Myers Beach, right, is a complete street.
DAN MOSER / FLORIDA WEEKLY
As much as I find lacking in our area in terms of the precarious environment for people on foot and bicycles, the dedication among individuals, groups and formal organizations working to affect change isn’t one of our weak points.

My Aug. 1 column delved into some of the projects coming online that should improve things and I briefly touched on folks who are organized in one way or another in order to affect change for the better. This time I’d like to expand on a few of those positive efforts taking place.

Southwest Florida Critical Mass just marked its fifth anniversary. This loose-knit group of people that meets up each month at four or five different locations around Lee County to enjoy parade-like rides is going strong. While having fun is the primary purpose, members also raise awareness about traffic safety and the many benefits of cycling, on their brightly lit-up, oftentimes tricked-out bikes. In some parts of the country the term “critical mass” is associated with bike advocacy that involves civil disobedience. The Lee County group is just the opposite as it represents fun and positive advocacy.

Streets Alive of Southwest Florida, originally created in 2012 as a Healthy Lee coalition effort to plan and facilitate our area’s first two Cyclovias, has expanded its focus beyond event management. It is now engaging directly with the community by undertaking bike/ped-related projects and efforts, primarily in at-risk and underserved neighborhoods. It is also conducting symposiums for government, private sector developers and individuals who are concerned about how growth affects our quality of life. Their achievements include needed improvements being made to the pedestrian infrastructure in and around Franklin Park Elementary School in Dunbar. Thanks to formal walking audits they undertook with residents, nearby nonprofits, and the school’s students and personnel, Streets Alive was able to document the need to add bike/ped facilities on school property and surrounding streets. It also secured grants to purchase bikes, safety equipment and to develop a curriculum specific to their needs to teach bike/ped safety. Many Streets Alive members have received formal training from the Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Program so are certified community instructors who can conduct bike safety, clinics and assist schools, recreation programs, and others with hands-on bike/ ped safety education. It also planned and facilitated two exemplary conferences to educate professional community and transportation planners, elected officials, developers and concerned citizens about the benefits of sustainable development and Complete Streets.

BikeWalkLee continues to work behind the scenes to promote, monitor and inform the public related to Complete

Streets policies and practices in our area. This coalition, which came together in 2008 as a result of outrage over transportation policies and practices that focused almost exclusively on moving cars and that put pedestrians and cyclists at risk when using our public roads, has been instrumental in convincing local governments and even Florida Department of Transportation to embrace Complete Streets as official policy. The challenge now facing BikeWalkLee is ensuring the various governments follow through with their policies and not backslide by giving in to certain developers and others who would rather go back to accommodating cars over people. This is no easy task as our economy thrives and we again experience breakneck growth.

To sum up, along with other group efforts, such as Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition, Healthy Lee, Community Traffic Safety Team and supportive governmental agencies like the Metropolitan Planning Organization, there should be success in getting Lee County off the top of the list of most dangerous places for pedestrians and move us toward being truly bike/ped-friendly.

For more information on these projects and efforts, see bikewalklee.blogspot.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 bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417. 

For 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). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.




Monday, September 10, 2018

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

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

  • Thursday, Oct. 4: GCR Corporate Run, 6 p.m., Gordon River Greenway, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 6: Busey Bank Run for Prevention 5K, Centennial Park, Fort Myers, 5-8 p.m. (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 13: Cops & Joggers 5K, downtown Fort Myers. 7:45 p.m. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 20: Gulf to Gulf 80 Relay, 80-mile relay race starting and ending at Cambier park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 20: St Andrew Catholic School Run for the Stars 5K, 7:30 a.m., Jim Jeffers Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Sunday, Oct. 21: Rocktoberfest 10 Miler and Relay, North collier Regional Park, 7 a.m. (eliteevents.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 27: F.I.S.H. 10K, Sanibel Community House, 7:30 a.m. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 27: Halloween Monster 5K, Fleischmann Park, Naples 7:30 a.m. (gcrunner.org
  •  Saturday, Oct. 27: Babcock Ranch Trick or Trot 5K, 7:30 a.m., Babcock Ranch (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Olde Naples 10K run/2K walk, 7:30 a.m.(gcrunner.org)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: Midpoint Madness 5K, Midpoint Bridge (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Naples Fall Classic Half Marathon and 5K, 7 a.m., Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: 39th annual Turkey Trot 5K, 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Wellness Center, Cape Coral (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk, 7 a.m., Germain Arena, Estero (eliteevents.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:

  • Friday, Sept. 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)
  • Sunday, Sept. 16: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, Sept. 23: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Sept. 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, Sept. 29: Saturday Slow Roll. 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, Sept. 30: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Monday, Oct. 7: Gran Fondo Sarasota, Nathan Benderson Park, four courses/distances (caloosariders.org
  • Sunday, Oct. 29: 9th annual Tour de North Port, 15-, 35- and 65-mile rides, 7:30 a.m., Imagine School, Upper Campus, 2757 Sycamore Street, North Port (caloosariders.org
  • 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:
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning (captivatri.org
  • Saturday, Sept. 22: (“The Original”) Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon, Siesta Key (trifind.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

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

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Monday, Sept. 3: Labor Day 5K, 7 a.m., Lowdermilk Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Thursday, Oct. 4: GCR Corporate Run, 6 p.m., Gordon River Greenway, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 6: Busey Bank Run for Prevention 5K, Centennial Park, Fort Myers, 5-8 p.m. (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 13: Cops & Joggers 5K, downtown Fort Myers. 7:45 p.m. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 20: Gulf to Gulf 80 Relay, 80-mile relay race starting and ending at Cambier park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 20: St Andrew Catholic School Run for the Stars 5K, 7:30 a.m., Jim Jeffers Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Sunday, Oct. 21: Rocktoberfest 10 Miler and Relay, North collier Regional Park, 7 a.m. (eliteevents.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 27: F.I.S.H. 10K, Sanibel Community House, 7:30 a.m. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 27: Halloween Monster 5K, Fleischmann Park, Naples 7:30 a.m. (gcrunner.org
  •  Saturday, Oct. 27: Babcock Ranch Trick or Trot 5K, 7:30 a.m., Babcock Ranch (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Olde Naples 10K run/2K walk, 7:30 a.m.(gcrunner.org)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: Midpoint Madness 5K, Midpoint Bridge (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Naples Fall Classic Half Marathon and 5K, 7 a.m., Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: 39th annual Turkey Trot 5K, 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Wellness Center, Cape Coral (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk, 7 a.m., Germain Arena, Estero (eliteevents.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:

  • Saturday-Monday, Sept. 1-3: Tour de Sebring, three days of riding in and around Sebring. Ride of varying lengths and skills (caloosariders.org
  • Sunday, Sept 2: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.  (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Sept 7: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 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)
  • Saturday, Sept. 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)
  • Sunday, Sept. 9: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Sept. 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)
  • Sunday, Sept. 16: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, Sept. 23: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Sept. 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, Sept. 29: Saturday Slow Roll. 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, Sept. 30: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Monday, Oct. 7: Gran Fondo Sarasota, Nathan Benderson Park, four courses/distances (caloosariders.org
  • Sunday, Oct. 29: 9th annual Tour de North Port, 15-, 35- and 65-mile rides, 7:30 a.m., Imagine School, Upper Campus, 2757 Sycamore Street, North Port (caloosariders.org
  • 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:
  • Saturday, Sept. 8: Venice Sprint Triathlon, Sharkey’s on the Pier, Venice
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning (captivatri.org
  • Saturday, Sept. 22: (“The Original”) Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon, Siesta Key (trifind.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Your mistake, my problem


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 8/30/2018
by Ken Gooderham

This week, we’re going to make some amends:

To the guy driving the pickup truck on Crystal Drive: I’m sorry the cyclist pulled in front of your moving vehicle and, when you hit the horn after slamming on your brakes, responded with a rude one-handed gesture rather than thanking you for not running him over.

To the line of vehicles on Captiva Drive one recent weekday morning: I’m sorry those three cyclists were riding side-by-side-by-side slowly up the island in a “No Passing” area, rather than riding in a line that would have easy to pass safely (and legally).

And to the motorists on West First Street in downtown Fort Myers: I’m sorry you had to stop, swerve and (probably) swear at the cyclist weaving through traffic who was too engrossed in some cell-phone conversation that he did not have the time to either pay attention to his fellow vehicles OR keep his hands on the handlebars while pedaling (erratically) down the street.

Why the apologies? Well, even though I did not commit any of these offenses, as a cyclist I will eventually be held responsible for them… because each of those drivers sped away from those incidents with a new disrespect (or at least distrust) for cyclists in general.

It’s only human nature… stupid actions by one individual tend to be projected onto the larger group. Since there’s an almost innate distrust of cyclists by some drivers already, one bad action by one bad actor only serves to confirm the existing enmity. And if the driver generally has (had) a positive view of pedalers, that one bad interaction will linger in the memory for a while, until savvy cyclists act in sufficiently sane ways to erase that error.

I can’t blame them, frankly. When on a bicycle, I hold the same view of motor vehicle drivers: The default defense is they are all out to get me, so I ride accordingly and am pleasantly surprised when drivers end up doing the right thing on the roadway. But I never assume that driver is going to not stop in the crosswalk, or will not open their car door when I’m riding, or any number of actions that will put me at risk (intentionally or inadvertently).

Because I also know that any one of those drivers could assume I’m going to do something stupid that they will have to react to in order to avoid a collision… because some other cyclist on some other roadway did exactly that.

So, to all the boneheaded bicyclists who ignore the rules of the road, common sense and even their own self-preservation: Knock it off.

You’re putting yourself at unnecessary risk, and you’re giving the rest of us cyclists a bad reputation. Worst of all, you’re giving motor vehicle drivers an easy excuse to view all bicyclists by your bad actions… and we want them to share the road with us cyclists, not view us all as an enemy who must be driven back to the sidewalks where we belong. (We’re not, and we don’t.)

And the rest of you cylists? Remember to ride right… because any stupid mistake one of us makes, all of us end up having to live with.

Ready to ride or run?

Run?  It may be too hot to run for most, but the hardier harriers can get up early for a Labor Day 5K on Monday, Sept. 3, kicking off at 7 a.m. at Lowdermilk Park in Naples (gcrunner.org). Otherwise, hang on until October, when the fall race season kicks off.

Ride? Critical Mass rides ahead include the Cape Coral ride Friday night, the downtown Fort Myers night ride on Sept. 7, and the Sanibel night ride on Sept. 8. Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all; details at http://www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/. Looking for a longer ride? Look east to Sebring, for three days of riding and camaraderie for all skills over the Labor Day weekend Saturday-Monday, Sept. 1-3 (caloosariders.org). You can also join the no-drop Wakey, Wakey! Sunday morning ride leaving from Fort Myers Trek. The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.

Both? Upcoming events include:
  • Saturday, Sept. 8: Venice Sprint Triathlon, Sharkey’s on the Pier, Venice (active.com)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri, with the kids’ events (three age groups) Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday. (captivatri.org)
  • Saturday, Sept. 22: (“The Original”) Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon, Siesta Key (trifind.com
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Longboat Key Triathlon & Duathlon, sprint and Olympic tris, sprint and Olympic duathlon. Longboat Key Club & Resort (longboatkeytriathlon.com)

 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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, August 29, 2018

Bad environment for cyclists, pedestrians increases danger

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 8/29/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com


For anyone who gets around on foot, on bike and behind the wheel it’s quite easy to conclude that we clearly have a one-sided traffic environment geared toward moving drivers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

That means, of course, pedestrians and cyclists are second-class users of our transportation network. This disparity creates a dicey and inefficient situation for non-motorists that has led to our area having some of the worst overall statistics for crashes, injuries and fatalities. It’s also why Lee County is one of the most dangerous places in the country to be a pedestrian. And cyclists aren’t too far behind.

Not only do our dismal traffic crash statistics confirm this but the Dangerous by Design report (www.smartgrowthamerica.org/dangerous-by-design) further underscores the situation. Now another recent study adds credence to what many of us know: when the overall traffic environment is poor, pedestrians take more chances and use traffic controls and features less often. This isn’t a chicken-or-egg situation but rather confirms exactly what the Dangerous by Design report reveals, as expressed in its name.

The State Smart Transportation Initiative (www.ssti.us) reports that in order to get people on foot to adhere to traffic rules road designers need to consider not only the immediate walking environment (features such as sidewalks and designated crossings) but also the entire traffic safety climate of an area, an aspect where our area completely fails.

According to the abstract of “The Mediating Effect of Traffic Safety Climate Between Pedestrian Inconvenience and Pedestrian Behavior,” researchers conclude: “Pedestrians’ perceived inconvenience is an important factor that affects pedestrian behavior, and the influence of pedestrians’ perceptions of the traffic safety climate cannot be disregarded.” It’s no surprise then that pedestrians tend to break the rules and make bad judgments more often when they perceive overall traffic environment as out of control and blatantly skewed toward drivers. Poorly designed or non-existent sidewalks and motorists’ noncompliance at intersections and marked crosswalks affect people’s overall perception of traffic safety and lead them to decide to break the rules, whether for self-preservation, efficiency or both. Using the Complete Streets model can improve people’s opinions of the transportation environment and perhaps make them more compliant even if, and when, encountering minor inconveniences, not to mention an actual reduction in crashes, injuries and fatalities among all road users.

As for how this also applies to the cycling environment, too many law enforcers and even some of our court officials are still getting wrong what constitutes the safest and legal position for road-using bicyclists. I once wrote about a cyclist who was cited for illegally obstructing traffic by riding away from the right edge of the roadway. Some law enforcement officials - and, unfortunately, even some ill-informed judges - believe those on bikes who aren’t riding in the gutter are illegally impeding traffic and are being arrogant. Those of us who know how to operate safely are well within our rights to take a position as far away from the right edge/curb as necessary to discourage unsafe passing, even if it does indeed obstruct traffic, albeit legally. Yet the bias continues - in this case the judge upheld the citation.

Let me go over it again for the benefit of cyclists, drivers, law enforcers and traffic court officials: While Florida law states that a cyclist must ride “as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway” it also lists a number of exceptions, including “when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side.” (FSS 316.2065(5)). Even though the term “practicable” is open to interpretation, the fact is that any lane under 14 feet wide is considered sub-standard in terms of even an average-sized car and bike being able to safely share.

The Florida Department of Transportation states: “With the exception of a few types of high-speed, limited-access roadways (for example an Interstate Highway or the Turnpike), every FDOT travel lane is also a bikeway — no special signs or markings needed. In the state of Florida, the bicycle is considered a legal vehicle and may be operated on the street, unless there is some guidance otherwise, such as marked bicycle lane. Standard travel lanes are 12’ wide and too narrow to share, so you will need to control the lane.” (www.fdot.gov/roadway/BikePed/BikePedBF.shtm)

To further illustrate why it’s both practicable and safe to stay away from the gutter I implore everyone - but especially law enforcers and traffic court officials - to view a short video produced by CyclingSavvy (www.cyclingsavvy.org/cycling-law).

Finally, I’d like to invite readers to take part in a survey about your perception of our local cycling environment (www.peopleforbikes.org/placesforbikes-community-survey-tell-friend).

As always, you can find more about these projects and efforts at bikewalklee.blogspot.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 bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417. 

For 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). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.




Monday, August 27, 2018

August 27: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Tuesday, Aug. 28: Fort Myers Track Club Summer Social, 7 p.m. at Millennial Brewery, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Monday, Sept. 3: Labor Day 5K, 7 a.m., Lowdermilk Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)

Cycling:
  • Friday, Aug. 31: 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday-Monday, Sept. 1-3: Tour de Sebring, three days of riding in and around Sebring. Ride of varying lengths and skills (caloosariders.org
  • Sunday, Sept 2: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.  (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Sept 7: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 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)
  • Saturday, Sept. 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)
  • Sunday, Sept. 9: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Sept. 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)
  • Monday, Oct. 7: Gran Fondo Sarasota, Nathan Benderson Park, four courses/distances (caloosariders.org)
  • 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:
  • Saturday, Sept. 8: Venice Sprint Triathlon, Sharkey’s on the Pier, Venice
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning (captivatri.org
  • Saturday, Sept. 22: (“The Original”) Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon, Siesta Key (trifind.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Monday, August 20, 2018

August 20: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events


Running/walking:
  • Saturday, Aug. 25: North Collier Regional Rampage. The third and final event in the Elite Events Summer 5k Series will take place at North Collier Regional Park. Runners will race through the park on closed pathways and have plenty of views of vegetation, fountains, and water.  This flat and shady course will give runners a great chance to run a fast time.  7 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (elitevents.org
  • Tuesday, Aug. 28: Fort Myers Track Club Summer Social, 7 p.m. at Millennial Brewery, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Monday, Sept. 3: Labor Day 5K, 7 a.m., Lowdermilk Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 6: Busey Bank Run for Prevention 5K, Centennial Park, Fort Myers, 5-8 p.m. (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 13: Cops & Joggers 5K, downtown Fort Myers. 7:45 p.m. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 20: Gulf to Gulf 80 Relay, 80-mile relay race starting and ending at Cambier park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Sunday, Oct. 21: Rocktoberfest 10 Miler and Relay, North collier Regional Park, 7 a.m. (eliteevents.org)
  • Saturday, Oct. 27: F.I.S.H. 10K, Sanibel Community House, 7:30 a.m. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Oct. 27: Halloween Monster 5K, Fleischmann Park, Naples 7:30 a.m. (gcrunner.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Saturday, Aug. 25: Saturday Slow Roll 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, Aug. 26: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Aug. 31: 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. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday-Monday, Sept. 1-3: Tour de Sebring, three days of riding in and around Sebring. Ride of varying lengths and skills (caloosariders.org
  • Sunday, Sept 2: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.  (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Sept 7: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 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)
  • Saturday, Sept. 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)
  • Sunday, Sept. 9: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. All levels, all bikes, leaves from Fort Myers Trek store at 7:30 a.m. on a different route each week (mostly on bike paths). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Sept. 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)
  • Monday, Oct. 7: Gran Fondo Sarasota, Nathan Benderson Park, four courses/distances (caloosariders.org)
  • 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:
  • Saturday, Sept. 8: Venice Sprint Triathlon, Sharkey’s on the Pier, Venice
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri. Kids’ events Saturday morning (three age groups), sprint tri Sunday morning (captivatri.org
  • Saturday, Sept. 22: (“The Original”) Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon, Siesta Key (trifind.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Ken Nies' Bike Legacy

Ken Nies, who recently passed away, was a true hero in the BWL world, running a Bike Ministry Program providing bikes to the homeless and other needy adults in Lee County who needed a bike for transportation, while teaching the homeless how to repair bikes, and asking recipients to put in 8-10 hours of service with a nonprofit. A true win-win-win formula.

 Thanks to Fred Matthews for his 8/18/18 News-Press letter to the editor highlighting the legacy of this unsung hero in our community. Ken will be missed by the BWL community and the many lives throughout Lee County that he touched.
 

Mary and Ken Nies

Bike legacy

3,000 bikes given away. Who does that? Ken Nies, "the bike guy", who operated his ministry out of City Gate Church, did. Ken recently passed away. He was a one-of-a-kind volunteer who was known by many and respected by all who knew him.
The bike ministry was started to provide working bicycles to homeless people who needed transportation. The ministry had rules – 8 to 10 hours of community service, documented in writing. In exchange you received a quality bike, including a lock and lights, both front and rear. 
There were many stories that came out of the bike ministry. One of the best that I remember was that of a young man who came to work at the bike ministry. He was sleeping on the streets, but through Ken's efforts he became a United States citizen and now has a good, paying job and a place to live. Ken, we will miss you. Ken did not own or ride a bike, but his bike legacy will be remembered by the many people he served.
 Fred Matthews, North Fort Myers
Related BikeWalkLee blog posts:  
 
 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A challenging time to be outdoors


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 8/16/2018
by Ken Gooderham

For those who like their exercise outdoors, summer is always a challenging time of year. The heat, the humidity, the thunderstorms… and, now, the double whammy of red tide and blue-green algae.

But all of these threats don’t have to drive you indoors (although that is always an option). There are ways to work around most of them without sacrificing your exercise routine.

Heat is the most consistent Florida challenge, and the obstacle that can be easiest to overcome.

First, get outside when it’s the coolest (early morning). It’s lowers the stress on your body and can be a useful routine to get you through the May to October bake.

Second, lower your expectations. You can acclimate yourself to running or riding in the heat (strongly encouraged), but you still need to realize that it’s hard to keep up your cool-weather pace and distance when your body has to work extra hard to cool itself down. That fact that you’re out there putting in the miles matters more than how fast or how far you’re going right now.

Third, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You need to replace the liquid you’re losing to perspiration (or you’ll have real problems to deal with), and taking in cool liquids can in itself help lower your body temperature.

Fourth, plan your route. Look for shady paths, pay attention to wind direction (to both cool and boost you), and consider a route that leaves you options if the heat is just too much… such as cutting the run or ride short or including a longer walk break.

Fifth, dress for the weather. Light colors, sweat-wicking materials, and keeping your attire as light and as little as possible will help. (But don’t ignore sunscreen if you’re leaving body parts exposed to the sun during the peak times of the day… when you shouldn’t be out anyway.)

Finally, consider cooler options. If you run, consider walking more… or try running in the pool or inside (yes, boring, but often necessary). If you ride, carry plenty of cold liquids – even start out with one frozen bottle of water (along with a cold but liquid one), knowing that by the time you switch it out further in the ride it will be more liquid but still refreshing.

Maybe throw in a different exercise – say, swimming – that’s better suited to summertime (and hard to do many times the rest of the year). It will keep you cooler and still give your body a new challenge… and you might find you like it to boot!

Thunderstorms are easy – don’t go out in them. It’s dangerous on every front, and a hazard that’s easy to avoid.

This summer’s new challenge is the waterborne assault of blue-green algae and good old red tide. For in- or on-water activities, avoid the impacted areas if at all possible or minimize your time there to be safe. And, of course, don’t swim in the blue-green muck or eat seafood that’s been caught where there is a bloom.

What about water-adjacent activities? Take it easy and see how you react… and expect coughing, sneezing and other allergic reactions the closer you get to impacted waters. If/when that happens, beat a hasty retreat and live to run or ride another day.

What we don’t know about the risks of both blue-green algae and red tide is astounding and more than a little appalling… but the little we do know is not good. The risk to sea life is clear – just look at the body count from local shorelines – so the impact on humans is certainly suspect.

If the blooms drive you indoors, take the unexpected break to reach out to your elected officials and urge immediate and effective action on the driving forces behind these outbreaks. Push back against the polluters, lessen the nutrient loading of our waters and find ways to clean up and better manage Lake O and send its excess water somewhere other than down the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie outlets.

Cleaner water and safer shorelines… now that’s something to get exercised about!

Ready to ride or run?

Run?  The summer running doldrums continue, but there are two 5Ks on tap for the dedicated: The Omega Youth 5K this Saturday at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com), and the North Collier Regional Rampage 5K on Aug. 25 (eliteevents.org). There’s also another Fort Myers Track Club social on Aug. 28, this time at Millennial Brewery in Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com). 

Ride? Critical Mass rides ahead include the Saturday Slow Roll the morning of Aug. 25 in downtown Fort Myers, and the Cape Coral night ride Aug. 31. Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all; details at http://www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/. You can also join the no-drop Wakey, Wakey! Sunday morning ride leaving from Fort Myers Trek. The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.

Both? Upcoming events include:
  • Saturday, Sept. 8: Venice Sprint Triathlon, Sharkey’s on the Pier, Venice (active.com)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16: Galloway Captiva Tri, with the kids’ events (three age groups) Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday. (captivatri.org)
  • Saturday, Sept. 22: (“The Original”) Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon, Siesta Key (trifind.com)

 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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, August 15, 2018

Healthy Harvest Community Farms an unusual venue

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 8/15/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com
A group of women called the Weekend Worriers Team carried the thin blue line police flag in honor of fallen Officer Adam Jobbers- Miller. DAN MOSER / FLORIDA WEEKLY


When I arrived at a run/walk on a recent Saturday to promote and encourage safe behavior when cycling, running and walking I quickly realized this was not a typical 5K. First off, the venue was at an unusual place: a compact community farm that sits on the edge of a golf course that’s no longer being used for that sport but that continues to be maintained by ownership. The next difference was that the run/walk was part of a summer-long series of activities offered by a nonprofit community farm, not your usual sponsors of such things.
  
I first learned about Healthy Harvest Community Farms (healthyharvestfarms.org) and its Summer of Fit Festival Series at a Healthy Lee (healthylee.com) meeting in July when Joe Pearson and Virginia Lesko from the organization told the group about its efforts that go far beyond the Summer of Fit activities. It’s no surprise that most of what they do revolves around growing and distributing healthy food products (mostly at no cost to recipients) but the physical activity element and their community focus were what interested me enough to venture out very early that Saturday morning to their eastern Lehigh Acres location. It was well worth the 4 a.m. wake-up alarm.

As expected, being a mid-summer run/walk that was taking place quite a distance away from most population centers, the number of participants was modest. But all who made it there were enthusiastic. Among those who took part were a group of women running in honor of fallen Officer Adam Jobbers-Miller (the day’s event proceeds went to his fund), local high school cross country runners, and a mom with a gaggle of young kids in tow. The atmosphere was different than most 5Ks in that it was very laidback with a decidedly non-competitive feel. There were no traffic cones, police presence, mile markers, or even a formal finish line other than Joe barking out times as participants crossed the imaginary line. Nonetheless, it looked like everyone had fun and got in their miles, whether running, walking or a combination of both.

The group of women called themselves the Weekend Worriers Team and carried the thin blue line police flag the length of the run. They told me they’re training to take part in November’s New York City Marathon and running to raise money for the Carolyn Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund (findacure.org). A fundraiser for the Weekend Worriers will be held at Millennial Brewery (millennialbrewing.com) in September so keep an eye out for it.

What’s most impressive to me about this ongoing event, the nonprofit organization, and the location is the unbelievable potential each represent. Although the “farm” is quite compact and resembles more of a large community garden. The fact that it’s on a portion of a now-closed golf course means there may be room to expand exponentially. The course itself is what really stirred my interest because it reminded me of what’s going on in Cape Coral with two big differences: the grounds remain maintained and the ownership sounds to be much more cooperative than the Cape property owners have been.

Mirror Lakes Golf Course manager David Deetscreek was quoted in an April 11 NBC-2 interview (nbc-2.com) shortly before its closing in late spring as saying the owners don’t plan on developing residential or commercial buildings on the property. “We want to change the use of the property into something the community can use,” he said. The story goes on to say that some suggested ideas management is looking into are creating a preserve, park-like setting or even a fitness area. “It’s in its infancy. We’ve just made the decision to close it. Now we are investigating the potential uses,” Mr. Deetscreek said.

Talk about potential. If the owners of Mirror Lakes Golf Course go the route of allowing its use for community purposes the possibilities are all positive. Besides there being plenty of space to expand food growing areas it could be a ready-made recreation area the size of a regional park with paved paths already in place. The rolling terrain could also become a high school cross country running mecca like no other in all of Lee County (East Lee County High School is barely a mile away). Should one or more of these conceivable outcomes come to pass the benefits would go well beyond the local Lehigh community.

In the meantime Healthy Harvest Community Farms is always in need of volunteers to work the gardens as well as other tasks required to allow this nonprofit thrive. To see for yourself what’s going on they always welcome visitors, including when they host another Summer of Fit event on Saturday, Sept. 1 Spokesperson Virginia Lesko can be reached at 738-1327 or vlesko@healthyharvestfarms.org. ¦

- 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. 

For 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). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.