Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column: Fit-Friendly Southwest Florida on the way

Florida Weekly 8/25/10

Have you been on McGregor Boulevard on a Saturday or Sunday morning lately? It’s not an understatement to say that the number of people walking, running and cycling on this beautiful public space is impressive. How about Lakes Park? The place teems with people of all ages and sizes being active every weekend. But even with so many participating in aerobic endeavors on a regular basis, the vast majority of us don’t put enough time or effort into being healthy. Or if we do stay active, we frequently offset the benefits by dropping the ball with our food and drink consumption. All this is evidenced by America’s overall girth. But there are easy ways to stay on track in both areas.

As mentioned in previous columns, the “Start!” Campaign” is morphing into “Fit Friendly Southwest Florida.” According to Sally Jackson, one of the key partners from Lee Memorial Health System, the American Heart Association’s website will continue to be a resource for those who want the benefits of fitness and nutrition information as well as the ability to track personal progress. The site is available at no charge and with no strings attached. Soon the site will be expanded to go beyond that and be a place for organizations, informal groups and individuals to exchange ideas and best practices.

Those who really like or need others around them in order to become motivated or to stay on track, may want to take a look at the various “Meet Up” groups. People get together for everything imaginable, including walking, running, cycling and skating. All you need to do to start is pick a geographical area on the site and go from there. These are not clubs, but rather individuals with common interests — or a desire to try something different — who use this resource to plan, coordinate and attract others. If there’s ever a charge it’s minimal, just to cover costs. “Meet Up” is worth looking into.

Advocacy update

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for bicycle-related improvements made to the Sanibel Causeway toll plaza and the existing paved shoulders leading to it was held last week. Those who have ridden through the plaza before the fix will find things much better now, especially upon exiting the islands. Resurfaced shoulders and replacement of a segment that was removed when the Punta Rassa turn lane was added are also welcome results of this project. Unfortunately, one major missing component of the original project — pedestrian access — wasn’t addressed, nor does it appear it ever will be. How our county transportation decision-makers can justify not allowing pedestrians to cross major bodies of water when they build structures that will be in place for many decades still boggles the mind, as does the fact that there’s no apparent move to remedy this blatant inequity.

Also at the ribbon-cutting, BikeWalkLee presented its inaugural award to Commissioner Ray Judah. He was recognized as “Champion for Complete Streets,” a title he earned well before the award was created. Over the many years I’ve been involved in bike/ped matters and have worked with Commissioner Judah, he has always impressed me with his unwavering commitment to improving Lee County’s pedestrian and bicycling environment. Fortunately for residents and visitors alike, the trail blazed by him is finally the path many of our leaders are now on. But, as I just noted, there’s still major damage to undo.

Rumors of a party for cyclists

Word has it that a bicycle-oriented pub crawl is taking place in downtown Fort Myers — perhaps a first for the area. From what I’ve heard it should be a hoot, with plenty of food and drink specials, giveaways and opportunities to win door prizes. A discounted rate at Hotel Indigo and a secure place to store bikes for those who
decide it best not to ride home are other perks. It all happens, on Labor Day Sunday, Sept. 5, beginning at 3 p.m. at Centennial Park. Wristbands that get you “special treatment” will be available. Any proceeds will go to the United Way. You’ll find more details by clicking here.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.

— Dan Moser begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting is a league cycling instructor/ trainer and program manager for Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at or 334-6417.

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