Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column:Just do it for a cause

Florida Weekly 1/26/11

Saturday and Sunday mornings are popular times for physically active people to plunk down some money for the privilege of breaking a sweat running a 10K, cycling 60 miles or walking a 5K. For our hard-earned cash, the payoff might be as little as the satisfaction of knowing we participated in an “official” event or as big as being the best in the field or age group that day.

Many of us who are out there engaged in one or another physical activity day in and day out may not really think about the reasons we do it beyond the obvious physical and mental benefits gained. For others, training for races and other competitive events is the primary motivator. More and more, however, opportunities to combine personal gain with doing good for others by being part of events that are fundraisers for a variety of causes is a strong incentive.

In most cases, profits from organized road races, walk-a-thons, bicycle rides and other physically challenging events go to charitable causes, usually bringing in a modest amount of money — much less than the value of staff time spent. But others take it to another level by asking participants to secure pledges or additional monies beyond the entry fees in order to make the event a significant source of revenue for their cause. In those kinds of events, the proceeds might be one of the primary sources of income for an organization for the year.

Thanks to the friendly and generous residents of High Point Place on West First Street in downtown Fort Myers, the local ALA chapter has found the perfect location. Participants will climb 32 stories to reach the top where you’ll get the best view from anywhere in Fort Myers of the river and well beyond. This well-managed and fun event allows you to push yourself to your max — or you can simply make it a nice, easy 32-flight climb (although that may be a bit hard to do after you witness firefighters from various departments and districts seriously competing against each other while in full gear). And the post-event celebration at High Point’s pool overlooking the Caloosahatchee River is a blast.

Click here for details and to register. Proceeds are used to ensure we have clean air, get help to quit smoking, and find cures for asthma, emphysema and other lung diseases.

Advocacy update

BikeWalkLee recently conducted a strategy session that included a review of the past year’s successes and unmet goals as well as a look ahead to 2011 and beyond. One issue discussed is the need to educate decision-makers at various levels of government as well as the general public as to the meaning of “complete streets.” There seems to be a bit of confusion and certain preconceptions the term itself may be helping to create and that could be working against acceptance of the concept and its implementation. BikeWalkLee will be making education and awareness a priority in 2011. Visit the blog to learn more about this and other bike/ped/transit matters.

On the state level, it’s almost time for the legislature to begin its annual session in Tallahassee. As usual, Florida Bicycle Association is organizing and will be hosting the Florida Bike Summit. Start making plans to be part of the summit, which takes place on Thursday, March 24. You’ll find more at the website.

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

— Dan Moser is a league cycling instructor/ trainer and program manager for the 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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