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.




Monday, August 13, 2018

August 13: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events


Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Sunday, Aug. 19: 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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 6, 2018

August 6: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events


Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Friday, Aug. 10: 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, Aug. 11: 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, Aug 12: 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, Aug. 19: 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • 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 2, 2018

Where do we stand with safety?


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 8/2/2018
by Ken Gooderham


What makes an area a safe area to bike? Two recent reports share some insights into the matter.

Your Local Security, a blog for home security company ADT, compiled the safest and most dangerous cycling cities. Using data gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau, People for Bikes, the League of American Bicyclists, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association for 790 U.S. cities, they weighed local cycling laws, fatalities, infrastructure, and more.

The actual list matters less than the criteria and explanation to buttress their findings. Said the report: “The trends for the best cycling cities included more bike laws than the national average, a higher percentage of commuters, and a lower percentage of fatal cyclist crashes.”

(For those keeping score, the best biking areas were heavily West Coast and enlightened urban areas. The worst? Los Angeles, NCY and a mix of Midwest metropolises.)

How would our area score? Well, we know we’re among the top most dangerous places for pedestrians, so let’s look at the report criteria to see how we might be ranked:

Local cycling laws & support: Probably stuck in the middle. Our state has a 3-foot law for cyclists, but not much else. Lee County has worked to develop and connect bike facilities (which helps), but local municipalities have really carried the weight on this issue while unincorporated areas often lag behind.

Bike commuters: Weak. If there is safety in numbers (as most data suggests), then the very low number of regular (commuter) cyclists pushes the safety level down. The upside is that some of our communities – Sanibel and Cape Coral come to mind – have strong cycling infrastructure. That encourages more riders (especially during season, when you can make more headway on a bike than in a car), which translates into more cyclists on the roads and paths and more awareness of them by drivers.

Fatal cyclist crashes: Waxes and wanes. Some years we have a lot of fatalities, others years drop off… which probably means it’s driven by skills (or the lack thereof) for both cyclists and drivers, and not by safer facilities or more rigorous enforcement of laws.

A different report – Places For Bikes compiled by People For Bikes – weighed five categories:

    • Ridership: How many people in a community bike.
    • Safety: Fatalities and injuries to cyclists and pedestrians
    • Network: Connectivity and usefulness of the bike facilities.
    • Reach: How will all members of the community are served.
    • Acceleration: How fast is progress in infrastructure and safety being achieved.

For the state, St. Petersburg ranked the highest (just out of the Top 20 overall), followed by Miami and Tallahassee. The only local municipality included in the ranking was Estero, which came in slightly below the middle of the pack. It ranked higher in safety and lower in ridership and network, with no rating for acceleration. (Too bad Cape Coral and Sanibel weren’t included, as they should have come in higher than Estero… while the rest of Lee County would be lower.)

Again, look at the criteria as the key. More riders, a more connected network of facilities, more equitable benefits across the community spectrum and solid signs of progress are the way to make an area safer for cyclists – and, frankly, for any road user.

That’s good news for, as was mentioned in coverage about the first study, no city has to settle for today’s low ranking when it can invest, educate and encourage its way down the path to a better (safer) ranking.

That’s something our elected officials should find beneficial to our area and its residents and visitors. Safety sells, and good bike facilities are a good draw to visitors as well as residents.

 

Ready to ride or run?

Run?  Two runs upcoming: The Cape 5K at Jaycee Park Aug. 9 at 7 a.m. (3dracinginc.com); and the next Fort Myers Track Club Summer Social, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Lazy Flamingo in Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)

 
Ride? Critical Mass rides ahead include the original SW Florida ride Friday night in downtown Fort Myers, the NE Lee ride on Aug. 10 and the Sanibel ride Aug. 11. 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, Aug. 11: Naples Junior Tri, 8 a.m., North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • 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 1, 2018

Efforts underway to make cycling, walking better in Lee County

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 8/1/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Turning this unpaved pathway along Cleveland Avenue into a paved trail would connect the two neighborhoods on either side of Fort Myers Country Club. DAN MOSER / FLORIDA WEEKLY


Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Depending on many factors, such as where we come from, where we visit, or our individual everyday experiences, our perspectives on Southwest Florida’s bike/pedestrian infrastructure and overall environment can fall anywhere from excellent to horrendous. I regularly hear comments reflecting both extremes.

I admit to looking at this subject very critically because I’m involved in so many aspects of it, from injury prevention to equitable transportation and recreation access for those on foot and bicycle. That being my point of view, our part of Florida rates a “C-”, with lots of room for improvement. That’s actually a generous grade, considering the Cape Coral/Fort Myers metro area is the most dangerous place in the country for pedestrians (smartgrowthamerica.org/dangerous-by-design).

Rather than dwelling on what’s lacking I thought I’d provide a sampling of what’s coming in terms of infrastructure projects and what other efforts are taking place to get us off the top of the Dangerous by Design list.


¦ Central and south Lee County: The last infrastructure element of Lee County’s $10 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery)(leempo.com) grant is wrapping up as wayfinding signage are being installed. The bulk of funding went to improve our bike/ ped/transit network from Colonial south to the Collier County line, mostly on U.S. 41 and points east.

¦ Lehigh Acres: Planning work continues for the Able Canal Multi-Use Trail (swflroads.com/ablecanalpathway) that will serve as a 5.5-mile linear park as well as linking existing parks and recreation areas in Lehigh Acres. There’s a way to go before the pathway is on the ground but funding to continue moving towards that end is in place.

¦ Cape Coral: The possibility of creating public use within the long-abandoned Cape Coral Golf Club property remains alive (saveourrecreation.us). After a developer’s plan to build homes on the site was denied by the city in 2017 the city council approved the reinstatement of the Park Master Plan Stakeholders Group in order to come up with recreational-use recommendations for the 175-acre former golf course. The city still doesn’t own the property but it is in negotiations with its owners.

¦ Fort Myers: A non-motorized link between Cleveland Avenue and McGregor Boulevard will likely run along Fort Myers Country Club property on Hill Avenue. A major benefit is the possibility of utilizing the canal berm along Carrell Road from Cleveland to points east, theoretically linking to both John Yarbrough (JY) Trail and North Colonial Linear Trail. Since the proposed trail from McGregor to U.S. 41 must run along a portion of the golf course property along Cleveland to get to the intersection with Carrell, the next logical addition to the plan would be to continue north along U.S. 41 to Halgrim Avenue, thereby connecting the two neighborhoods on either side of the golf course and giving residents access to the Carrell trail.

¦ Fort Myers: The extension of JY north of Colonial is also being studied. The ultimate plan is to reach downtown and the river, mainly utilizing the existing Metro/ Evans corridor. But the key missing link at this point — besides the pathetic segment of Fowler Street from near Hanson Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (that’s a sad story in itself) — is from Colonial to the new Metro overpass north of Winkler. If properly designed and constructed (a big “if”) JY will also connect to the existing North Colonial Linear Trail and the proposed Carrell Road trail. Information about the two Fort Myers projects can be found at cfmpathwaystudies.com.

¦ Southwest Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL): These well-established outings are not your usual group rides in that they truly represent the essence of having fun on a bike. And while the rides are entertaining they also raise awareness about traffic safety and the benefits of cycling.

¦ Streets Alive of SWF (streetsaliveswfl.org): This nonprofit that began as the creator of two Open Road/Cyclovia events has morphed into one that, according to its mission statement, will foster a livable community through activities, advocacy, education and service.

¦ BikeWalkLee (bikewalklee.org & bikewalklee.blogspot.com): With a mission similar to Streets Alive this community coalition that was established in 2008 works to raise public awareness and advocate for Complete Streets in Lee County. The main difference is that BWL works behind the scenes on governmental policy matters and posts information related to advancing Complete Streets on its blog and via e-newsletters.

¦ Bicycle/pedestrian master plans and bike map: Lee MPO (leempo.com) is the conduit for funding of local jurisdiction bike/ped master plans that identify needs and quantify required resources. Along with those slated to be funded in the near future is the revision of a countywide bike/ped safety action plan. As well, work on a new edition of Lee County’s bike map should be forthcoming from Lee MPO now that TIGER grant projects are complete.¦


- 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.