Monday, December 10, 2018

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

Upcoming events

Running/walking:


Cycling:
  • Sunday, Dec. 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)
  • Friday, Dec. 21: 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)
  • Sunday, Dec. 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)
  • Friday, Dec. 28: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7 p.m., start at 7:30 p.m. at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com)
  • Saturday, Dec. 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)
  • Sunday, Dec. 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)
  • Sunday, Jan. 13: 2019 Hamster Wheel 200, 12.5-mile loop you can ride up to 16 times (or less, of course), 30337 Cedar Road, Punta Gorda (peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com)
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Triathlons:
  • Sunday, Dec. 16: Christmas Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon, Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • Jan. 6, 2019: HITS Triathlon Series, with sprint, Olympic and half-Ironman distances. Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota (hitstriathlonseries.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Looking for rides, or riders?


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, December 6, 2018
by Ken Gooderham


New to the area, or new to cycling in general? Looking for places to ride? We’ve got some ideas for you.

You may be a recent transplant or a newly arrived snowbird… ready to ride, but looking for good routes. Or perhaps you’re just starting your cycling, drawn by the fitness, fresh air and freedom to roam on two wheels… looking to expand your cycling horizons or just build up your skills.

Either way, the first question you should ask yourself: Are you looking for places to ride, people to ride with, or both? Your answer will affect the resources you need.

If you just want ideas on where to ride, there are a variety of options. From online maps to in-person suggestions from your local bike shop, you should be able to find the rides – with both the right locales and distances – you want… and enough to offer some variety once you start hitting the trails with purpose.

For an easy place to start, the BikeWalkLee website (bikewalklee.org) has a selection of Lee County bike maps, including the most recent guide to facilities throughout the county – a great option if you want to make up your own routes but need to know the conditions to help you make decisions. (Note: Remember that bike maps become out-of-date the minute they are printed, and that roadwork and other issues can impact the ride-ability of any route on a temporary [or not so temporary] basis.)

Click here for all our online bike maps.


Click here for an updated guide to biking resources in Lee County.



If you live close to a bike path, you can start from home and meander as far as your legs are able. If you’re not so lucky, there are a number of places you and your bike can drive to that can serve as a start/finish point for your bicycle excursions. Either way, the big overview maps will give you lots of options.

In other Southwest Florida counties, look for local resources that offer the same options. In Collier County, check out the colliermpo.org site for county bike facilities. In Charlotte County, traillink.com has a few routes listed. You can also find a lot of different options via Google, of course, with the usual warning about accuracy… for example, mapmyride.com pops up on many local searches, but most of the rides shown are five years old or older and thus may not reflect current conditions.

If you prefer the more social aspect of cycling, then you’re looking for fellow enthusiasts with which to share the road (or path or lane). Here; you also have plenty of choices.

The most accessible and plentiful group rides (at least in Lee County) is Critical Mass… less a bicycle club and more a bicycle social hour (or two). Offering five different rides a month and an easy-to-ride pace, it’s a great introduction both to riding and riders. Note: Most of the rides are at night, so you’ll also need lights (helmets recommended as well). If you’re looking for some paceline practice and faster speeds, look elsewhere… this will be far too relaxed (and probably festive) for your taste. Interested? Find out more at http://www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/.



For more serious riders (and rides), you’ll want to check out some of the local bicycle clubs. Here, where you live will probably determine who you’ll join:





What does joining a club get you? Plenty of rides (usually multiple rides/multiple distances are scheduled each week, especially in season) and people to ride with; great skills-building opportunities, very useful if you want to become a better bicyclist; discounts at local bike shops and other businesses, and more. Most of all, if you’re interested in getting to know other people who love cycling, a club is a great place to look.

So, grab your maps or submit your membership… and get out and ride!

Ready to ride or run?

Run?  Tis the season to be running, with plenty of seasonal events during the lead-up to the holidays (which are another good reason to grab those running shoes). You’ll find Xmas 5Ks on the calendar the next two weekends in Babcock Ranch, Sarasota, Fort Myers and Naples… and if you need more distance than that, there’s a half marathon in Sarasota this Sunday as well. Details at 3dracinginc.com and eliteevents.org.

Ride? Back-to-back Critical Mass rides ahead, with the big downtown ride Friday night and the Sanibel ride Saturday night; front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends. The regular Sunday morning rides continue as well; details on all at meetup.com.

Both? Upcoming events include:
  • Sunday, Dec. 16: Christmas Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon, Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • Jan. 6: HITS Triathlon Series, with sprint, Olympic and half-Ironman distances. Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota (hitstriathlonseries.com)
  • Willing to drive? Check trifind.com or active.com for tris around the state.

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. 


 

Sanibel celebrates "Gold" Bicycle Friendly Community status and recognizes collective efforts of community

See BikeWalkLee's earlier blog today for the City's Press Release: Sanibel elevated to "Gold" Bicycle Friendly Community Status.  Links to previous BikeWalkLee blog posts that highlight Sanibel's accomplishments since achieving "Silver" BFC status in 2014 are at end of this blog.

 Sanibel Bicycle Club (SBC) members with Councilwoman Holly Smith, Council Liaison to SBC, at today's City of Sanibel''s "Gold" BFC Celebration
City of Sanibel's Celebration

Sanibel Mayor and City Council Members announcing "Gold"
[Members L to R:  Holly Smith, Mayor Kevin Ruane, Vice-Mayor Mick Denham and Chauncey Goss]
The City of Sanibel held a press conference on December 6th to announce and celebrate this "Gold" BFC designation. The event was hosted by Mayor Ruane and City Council members.  In attendance were city staff, representatives from the County's Visitor and Convention Bureau and Department of Recreation, Sanibel community leaders, members of the Sanibel Bicycle Club, a representative from BikeWalkLee, and other members of the public.  In announcing the City's Gold designation, Mayor Ruane applauded the Sanibel Bicycle Club for partnering with the City over the past two decades to enhance the shared use path system and all the related programs and efforts that go into making our community bicycle-friendly. He said these efforts have resulted in Sanibel progressing  from Bronze, to Silver, and now Gold, Bicycle Friendly Status, in eight short years. He also thanked the many other community partners for their efforts, and did a special shout out to BikeWalkLee's Darla Letourneau (Sanibel resident) for her contributions.  Mayor Ruane stated, "To have our collective efforts recognized nationally as one of the nation's premier programs is a source of community pride for Sanibel."
 
The City provided refreshments, including special cookies designed just for the occasion.  
Celebration Cookies
Celebration Cookies
Congratulations to the City of Sanibel for being elevated to "Gold" Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) status!  Since Sanibel's “Bronze “designation in 2010, then Silver" designation in 2014, the City has continued to improve its Shared Use Path system, enhance its safety, and strengthen its efforts to promote biking and walking as a mode of transportation. BWL especially applauds the community’s safety improvement efforts over the past 4 years.  The City completed a comprehensive intersection and path signage/safety marking review and then updated the traffic control treatments throughout the path network.  Once the City puts the finishing touches on a few remaining intersections, the City's path markings system will be consistent and clear, making it safer for path users as well as drivers. In addition, the community (led by the Sanibel Bicycle Club), underwrote an award-winning "Cycling on Sanibel" video and distributed it widely to broaden the island’s safety education effort.
BWL's Darla Letourneau (R) celebrates today with Mayor Ruane (Center) and Holly Smith (L), City Council Liaison to SBC and lead on Shared Use Path issues
The City's improvements in making Sanibel a bicycle-friendly community have been recognized by the national BFC Program, with a steady progression from Bronze, to Silver, and now Gold.  Being designated as a Gold BFC community further solidifies the City's branding of itself as a "Bikeable/walkable Community".  BikeWalkLee’s dream is for more communities in Lee County to join Sanibel and Cape Coral in achieving “Bicycle Friendly Community” status, so that all of SWFL will someday be bicycle-friendly.
Click here to read about the League of American Bicyclists' Dec. 6th announcement of the 61 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities

Previous BikeWalkLee (BWL) Blog Posts:

 
BWL Blog 3/4/16: Sanibel’s successful promotion of biking and walking as a way to get around Island provides ideas for other communities
Santiva Chronicle 2/25/16:  Sanibel paths busier than ever...

BWL Blog Dec. 1, 2015: Sanibel City Council Approves Shared Use Path Funds: ‘Stop’ Markings Going Away (Santiva Chronicle Article) 

BikeWalkLee Blog, June 3, 2015: Sanibel Bicycle Club Releases New Bicycle Safety Video

   BikeWalkLeeBlog, November 18, 2014: Sanibel awarded "Silver" Bicycle Friendly Community Status 

BWL Blog 7/24/14: Bikers focus on Sanibel (published in News-Press newspaper)

Report by Darla Letourneau

Sanibel elevated to"Gold" Bicycle Friendly Community Status

Congratulations to the City of Sanibel for being elevated to "Gold" Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) status!  Since Sanibel's “Bronze “designation in 2010, then Silver" designation in 2014, the City has continued to improve its Shared Use Path system, enhance its safety, and strengthen its efforts to promote biking and walking as a mode of transportation. BWL especially applauds the community’s safety improvement efforts over the past 4 years.  The City completed a comprehensive intersection and path signage/safety marking review and then updated the traffic control treatments throughout the path network.  Once the City puts the finishing touches on a few remaining intersections, the City's path markings system will be consistent and clear, making it safer for path users as well as drivers. In addition, the community (led by the Sanibel Bicycle Club), underwrote an award-winning "Cycling on Sanibel" video and distributed it widely to broaden the island’s safety education effort.

The City's improvements in making Sanibel a bicycle-friendly community have been recognized by the national BFC Program, with a steady progression from Bronze, to Silver, and now Gold.  Being designated as a Gold BFC community further solidifies the City's branding of itself as a "Bikeable/walkable Community".  BikeWalkLee’s dream is for more communities in Lee County to join Sanibel and Cape Coral in achieving “Bicycle Friendly Community” status, so that all of SWFL will someday be bicycle-friendly.



By Darla Letourneau


News Release – For Immediate Release December 6, 2018 Contact: City Manager’s Office (239)472-3700

City of Sanibel elevated to “Gold” status Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists

The highest tier of Florida Communities Sanibel one of only two Florida communities designated “Gold” Status

Today, the League of American Bicyclists recognized the City of Sanibel with a “Gold” Bicycle Friendly Community (BFBSM) award. In 2010 Sanibel was awarded the “Bronze” designation and in 2014 was one of only four Florida cities designated as a “Silver” status by the League of American Bicyclists. The Villages is the only other Florida community to hold the prestigious “Gold” designation.

Upon announcing the designation, Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane stated, “We invest heavily and systematically into our Shared Use Path system as a City-wide alternative to motorized transportation. We are fortunate to have many partners who support the City’s efforts to focus on the health benefits and safety of biking on Sanibel. To have our collective efforts recognized nationally as one of the nation’s premier programs is a source of community pride for Sanibel.”

With the announcement of 61 new and renewing BFCs today, the City of Sanibel joins a leading group of communities in every state that are transforming the American landscape. “We applaud these communities for making bicycling a safe and convenient option for transportation and recreation,” said Bill Nesper, Executive Director at the League of American Bicyclists. “We are encouraged by the growing number of leaders who see bicycling as a way to build more vibrant, healthy, sustainable and connected communities and be a part of the solution to many complex challenges faced at both the community and national levels. We look forward to continuing to work with these communities as we move closer to our mission of creating a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.”

Tom Sharbaugh, the Sanibel Bicycle Club Liaison to the City of Sanibel, stated, ”The Sanibel Bicycle Club congratulates the City for their commitment to developing and maintaining the Sanibel Shared Use Path and their support for other cycling amenities and services on the island. Without their efforts, Sanibel would not have achieved Gold Status as a Bicycle Friendly Community. Our Club is proud to be long-standing partners with the City in making our community’s cycling resources safe and welcoming for residents and visitors.”

A citywide non-motorized transportation network to protect young children through a system of “hike and bike” trails was organized in 1972 by the Sanibel Bike Path Committee. The four original members of the Sanibel Bike Path Committee were Grace Whitehead, Mariel Goss, Sherry Vartdal and Starr Thomas.

The Sanibel Bicycle Club was founded in 1994, with a threefold mission: 1) to promote cycling for recreation, transportation and health; 2) to advocate for improvements of the safety and infrastructure of Sanibel’s shared-use path system; and 3) to provide an opportunity for cycling enthusiasts to socialize together. In 2005 the Club established the “Sanibel Trails In Motion Fund”, a 501 (C) 3 dedicated to supporting path enhancements. Since then, the Club has partnered with the City on a variety of path improvements and amenities.

In July 2018, the City completed construction of the Bowman’s Beach Shared Use Path, an important pedestrian connection linking the Sanibel-Captiva Road Shared Use Path into Bowman’s Beach Park. This project was completed with funding assistance through the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection Recreational Trails Program. The City is responsible for maintaining 26.06 miles of shared use path. Recently, the City completed an extensive repair project due to damages caused to the path system by Hurricane Irma. In addition, the paths are inspected annually for necessary repairs and the 2018 Shared Use Path Repair Project included 73 different repair sites in the amount of $92,330.

More information about the City of Sanibel’s Shared Use Path system may be obtained at www.mysanibel.com. More information about the Bike Friendly Community program is available at https://www.bikeleague.org/bfa.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Litter, litter, everywhere


Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 12/05/2018
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Litter welcomes visitors to Fort Myers Country Club.


Living where my wife, Maria, and I do, not far from downtown Fort Myers, means we routinely walk, run, bike and drive in and around the area where we see litter permeating much of the landscape and waterways.

In days long gone by I’d stoop to pick up the occasional piece of litter I’d happen upon while running along McGregor Boulevard. But now, aside from the fact that stooping isn’t quite as easy, there’s just too much litter to deal with so I usually limit my McGregor pickups to a block or so from my street as I finish my run with a walk.

That, in itself, is concerning, but the amount of litter there pales in comparison to the amount nearer Cleveland Avenue. One example: at a certain distance from McGregor our street changes personality as it turns into a litter-strewn mess that also has its share of dog waste left on the grass and sometimes even the sidewalk. A small apartment building’s property very near Cleveland Avenue is always laden with trash and debris that spills out onto the sidewalk and street, giving anyone the impression that folks here just don’t care.

Litter from fast food packaging can be found everywhere.


Other than places like Sanibel and Captiva islands, it seems cigarette butts, fast-food packaging, soda and beer containers, and other trash littering roadsides and waterways is the rule rather than exception. From what I can tell, having a litter-free environment where the general public has access requires two major factors: 1.) the propensity of those who reside and visit there not to litter and 2.) adequate property management — including of the public rights of way — being in place so any litter that does show up is quickly removed. The first factor is obviously the most important, but not allowing trash to become an expected part of the landscape is vital as well.

Other than the obvious solutions of reducing waste and always discarding it in appropriate places, I wish there was another answer because the problem is only getting worse, despite ongoing efforts by organizations like Keep Lee County Beautiful (KLCB, www.klcb.org).

Perhaps one thing that might help is for the fast food industry to join the board of KLCB, an industry that’s noticeably absent from having any presence there. I recall a news article a while back that quoted the owner of a locally based fast food restaurant saying something to the effect that he knew they “made it” when he began seeing wrappers from his products among the roadside litter. Really?

We can all be part of the solution by taking personal responsibility in terms of reducing our waste and always disposing of it appropriately. We can also get involved with efforts and events KLCB undertakes. Just like the injury prevention world I’m so familiar with it’s very frustrating that it’s so hard to convince people to do what everyone knows is proper and expected. You can learn more about this and other issues that affect our community and environment 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, December 3, 2018

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

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

  • Saturday, Dec. 8: Second Annual Babcock Ranch Jingle Bell 5K, Babcock Ranch (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, Dec. 8: Christmas Glow Run 5K, 6 p.m. Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota (eliteevents.org)
  • Sunday, Dec. 9: Florida West Coast Half Marathon and 5K, 7 a.m., Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota (eliteevents.org)
  • Saturday, Dec. 15: Second Annual Citygate Ministries Downtown Christmas Run 5K and 1 Mile Walk, downtown Fort Myers (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, Dec. 15: Naples Christmas Glow Run 5K, 6 p.m., Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • Saturday, Dec. 22: Marco 5 Mile Hill Run, Marco island (gcrunner.org).
  • Sunday, Jan. 6: Hooters River, Roots & Ruts Trail Run, Alva. 10-mile run, 10-mile relay and 5K fun run (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Jan. 19: Run to Home Base 5K Run/Walk, 1 Mile Walk & Kids' Dash, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Sunday, Jan. 20: Naples Daily News Half Marathon, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Jan. 26: Calusa BUG Chase 5K run/1K walk, Calusa Nature Center, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, Jan. 26: Run for the Paws 5K, Civil Air Patrol, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, Dec. 15: Naples Christmas Glow Run 5K, 6 p.m., sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org
  • Saturday, Dec. 22: Marco 5 Mile Hill Run, Marco island (gcrunner.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Friday, Dec 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)
  • Saturday, Dec. 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)
  • Sunday, Dec. 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)
  • Sunday, Dec. 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)
  • Friday, Dec. 21: 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)
  • 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:
  • Sunday, Dec. 16: Christmas Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon, Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • Jan. 6, 2019: HITS Triathlon Series, with sprint, Olympic and half-Ironman distances. Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota (hitstriathlonseries.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.