Thursday, March 1, 2018

Don’t leave home with them

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 3/1/2018
by Ken Gooderham

If you take the Boy Scout motto to heart, what are the things you should never leave on a bike ride without? Here’s a dozen suggestions for your starter list, feel free to add your own ideas:
  • Cell phone: The way to stay in touch, to find your way home, to call for help or just to take photos of the cool things you see on your ride. Absolutely essential… and think about putting it in a sealable plastic bag for added protection.
  • Courtesy photo
    Water bottle: Another essential, particularly as the weather gets warmer. You need to stay hydrated to stay sharp and stay strong. Depending on the length of your ride, pack two bottles (freeze one so it can thaw as you ride and will be cold when you need it).
  • Snacks: Not crucial, but help if it’s a longer ride (or you’re skipping a meal to do this). Go for protein to give you a boost.
  • Identification: Just in case… if you want to make it easy, consider Road ID, all the ID you’ll need in a durable bracelet (or other choices).
  • A few bucks: Also just in case.
  • Helmet: Yeah, we know, a lot of people don’t like them or think they’re necessary. Too bad… they’ll save your life (or, more particularly, your brain), which is reason enough.
  • Repair kit/tools/spare tube: The will depend on your level of handiness. If you know how to do on-road repair, bring the necessary tools and parts. If you don’t… well, that’s why you bring a cell phone.
  • Mini-pump or compressed air: Perhaps not essential if you check your tire pressure before you leave (which you should always do), but handy if you (or someone you meet along the way) is having tire issues.
  • A lock: Useful if you are planning to stop, particularly if you’d like your bike to still be there when you get back.
  • Sunglasses (and glasses): Sunglasses to protect your eyes from that abundant Florida sun… and the Florida bugs and branches and other airborne debris. Glasses if you need them to see, especially if you need to make repairs, make a call, etc.
  • Something to make you more visible: This could be bright attire, flashing lights, even just a high-visibility shade of helmet. Anything to make you stand out from the background and more easily seen by your fellow road or path users.
  • Something to keep you _____ (dry/cool/warm/etc.): This depends on the season or time of day. Make it something that’s easy to carry or stow, and that can be put on or off quickly.
The only thing missing? Perhaps a good attitude… so you can enjoy the day, greet the people you see along the way and ignore the ones who want to ruin your ride.

Ready to ride or run?

Run? Try something a little different Saturday, with the 15th annual Hooters River, Roots and Ruts trail run taking the action off-road for a half marathon or 5K fun run at the Caloosahatchee Regional Park. The following weekend features the Shrimp Run 5K (on the Matanzas Bridge, for those of you looking for a little elevation in your run), with a St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Naples on March 15. Details at and and, respectively.

Ride? March is Florida Bike Month, and there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate in the saddle ahead. Friday night is the big Critical Mass ride in downtown Fort Myers, with the NE Lee and Sanibel rides following on March 9 and 10. Lights required (for night rides), helmets recommended  ( March 10 is also a big weekend for organized rides, with the venerable Royal Palm Challenge offering 32- and 42-mile rides both days starting from Fort Myers Brewing Co. ( Pedal and Play in Paradise is back March 10, with 62-, 30-, and 15-mile rides plus a 10-mile Mystery Ride, all in and around Punta Gorda ( For something completely different, take the Pan-Florida Challenge… six routes from 10 miles to 200 miles, going from Naples all the way to Vero Beach if you choose. The event motto is “Ride for a weekend, feed a child for a year” (

Both?  Since it’s good to plan your tris in advance, put these three on the calendar:
  • Sunday, April 15: FGCU Eagle Sprint Tri and Duathlon, Florida Gulf Coast University (
  • Saturday, May 12: Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint Tri (
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (


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

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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 


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