The News-Press, 6/7/2018
by Ken Gooderham
We have some new rides and new runs, and therefore new ways to stay engaged in exercise this summer – when heat and humidity can hamstring the most ardent enthusiast.
Runners first: If you’re not a member of the Fort Myers Track Club – which this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary of promoting local running and runners – here’s a good way to join. Sign up for the 2018 Membership Run, set for Saturday, June, 30, 7:30 a.m. at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, and you’ll become a FMTC member for the next year.
That gets you discounts at FMTC events and local run shops, information on club events and more… including participation in the FMTC Summer Social Schedule. That’s a series of evening events twice during each summer month at either Millennial Brewery or the Lazy Flamingo in Fort Myers. These include networking, shoe demonstration and (of course) food and drink… and maybe even a little running.
The next Summer Social is June 19 at Millennial Brewery, then July 10 at Lazy Flamingo; details online at ftmyerstrackclub.com.
Now on to the cyclists, particularly those interested in finding out more about group rides. The Critical Mass crew and Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (which is celebrating its 30th year) are promoting a new Sunday ride every week (weather permitting, of course), open to all riders and bike types.
It’s a “no drop” ride, meaning even the slower riders can stay with one of the groups. It’s typically 13-15 mph and 18-22 miles, mostly on paths and with a variety of destinations. It’s also a good way to get a feel for how group rides run, with all the warnings and signals that make it a safe and fun activity.
The ride leaves from the Fort Myers Trek Store on Dani Drive (corner of Colonial Blvd. and Six Mile Cypress Parkway) at 7:30 a.m. Details on either the Caloosa Riders or Critical Mass websites (caloosariders.org or meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/ respectively) or by contacting Steve Rodgers at the Trek store.
This could inspire you to try some of the other CRBC rides (there is one almost every day of the week) or even to become a member (which also means discounts at local stores and events). However, because this is a CRBC ride, helmets are required and no ear buds or aero bars allowed.
The circle game?
There’s something about a roundabout that seems to set some drivers on edge. Bring up the option of including one in a road re-design and the opposition is fierce and focused.
That’s odd, because studies have proven roundabouts are safer and move more traffic more efficiently than the traditional four-way stop or traffic-light intersections.
Drivers should like them because full stops can often be eliminated and (once everyone agrees on the rule of yielding to traffic in the roundabout) vehicles can move more smoothly. Pedestrians should like them since they easier to navigate (since traffic is coming only one direction) and safer (many roundabouts have what are called splitter islands between each exit/entrance where pedestrians can wait, thus having to cross only one lane of traffic at a time).
And cyclists should like them because they’re safer whether you’re on or off the road, either acting like another vehicle (rules are clearer) or like a pedestrian (see above).
Sure, a lot of the opposition to roundabouts is fear of change… but once all road users see how they work, most end up supporting the change. (One before-and-after tabulation showed 75% opposition before a roundabout was installed and 75% support right after.)
They certainly can be a vast improvement over the typical traffic intersection, with traffic potentially going in three different directions or intersections where a lot of people put themselves (and others) at risk by turning into oncoming traffic rather than going with the flow of it.
Even the Florida Dept. of Transportation – hardly a radical bunch – has come out in support of roundabouts, FDOT has even produced a handy brochure explaining the advantages and procedures of roundabouts… download your own at http://www.fdot.gov/traffic/TrafficServices/PDFs/FDOT%20-%20One%20Lane%20Roundabout.pdf
Ready to ride or run?Run? Besides the aforementioned Summer Socials, look for some weekend morning 5Ks… Sugden Strike next Saturday in Naples, and the Summer Sizzler (Cape Coral) and Veterans (Estero) June 16. Details at eliteevents.org, 3dracinginc.com and active.com, respectively.
Ride? Critical Mass rides ahead include the NE lee ride Friday night and the Sanibel ride Saturday night. Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all; details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/.
Both? Upcoming events include:
- Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (active.com)
- Saturday, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
- Registration is open for the Galloway Captiva Tri on May 1; the race weekend is Sept. 15-16, with the kids’ events Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 www.BikeWalkLee.org.