Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Moser Column: Take a ride with Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club

 This week's column focuses on the benefits of participating in Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, Fowler Street as "street of shame", and advocacy update on LeeTran service cuts.

Dan Moser
Quality of life means different things to different people, but for those for whom it means living an active lifestyle, Lee County’s full- and part-time residents and visitors are fortunate to have quite a few organizations that provide opportunities to do just that. Everything from organized running to disc golf tournaments is available in our community. One of the premier organizations that adds significantly to our quality of life is the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club.
Founded in 1988, Caloosa Riders was created to offer cycling opportunities for anyone from beginner to advanced levels and interests. They plan, schedule and lead a weekly slate of rides that challenge riders to improve their conditioning levels and cycling abilities so they can gain as much enjoyment as possible from cycling. Caloosa Riders is a partner of BikeWalkLee, thereby leveraging their advocacy efforts to safeguard the rights and safety of cyclists in Southwest Florida.

A bicyclist makes his way across Fowler Street on an early Sunday morning.
A bicyclist makes his way across Fowler St. on an early Sunday morning.
Caloosa Riders offers club/group rides five days per week, year round, as well as special events like the Royal Palm Classic, the upcoming Turkey Leg 100, and even rides to Key West, adding up to more than 400 opportunities each year. Shorter rides begin with options of 15 miles (including a weekly “newcomer rt ride”), but for riders seeking longer distances, routes from 30 miles to 100-mile “centuries” more are available. Overnight and multi-day rides are also part of their offerings, with most ride descriptions and maps posted on their website.

Like all volunteer organizations, Caloosa Riders needs more help to insure its continued success as a valuable community service. It’s seeking folks to take on tasks such as club leadership roles, leading rides, advocacy duties and working major events. Whether you’re one of the organization’s 250 members or among the countless others who’ve take advantage of the events and services it provides, visit its website to see how you can get involved:

Street of Shame: Fowler Street
Many columns ago, I wrote of the folly that is Fowler Street, a major north-south roadway that runs through the heart of Fort Myers. It’s part of what’s essentially Business/Old-41, with its south terminus at Alico Road and its northern end in North Fort Myers, just south of the Del Prado Extension, and includes the two spans of the Edison Bridge. The segment of Fowler that is the most dangerous and embarrassing is the four-lane section from Hanson Street to SR-82/Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Once a thriving business corridor, albeit one that totally ignored pedestrians and cyclists since the time of its creation, Fowler is now little more than a pathetic example of all that’s wrong with the way we built and continue to neglect some of our most valuable assets. Not only are there no sidewalks or accommodations for cyclists, but businesses have been allowed to encroach into the little right of way that there is outside the pavement, making it even more perilous to navigate on foot or by bike. And because it’s in an economically depressed area, there are many people who must put their lives at risk on a regular basis. Worse yet, the plan to “improve” Fowler Street has been in the works for more than two decades, with the current design doing little for non-motorists and the businesses that exist there because it’s being designed as a highway and not the urban street is should be.

Advocacy update
Unfortunately, for those who use Lee- Tran, all the arguments presented to the Lee County Board of County Commissioners detailing the human toll and poor business sense of cutting back service weren’t enough to convince them not to shrink our transit service’s operating hours and frequency. As was suggested at a public meeting after the cuts were approved but before it was too late to reverse this very bad decision, a challenge to the commissioners was made that they ride the bus themselves so they get a taste of what their constituents must deal with. Check BikeWalkLee’s blog at to see if any of them took the challenge.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. ¦
— Dan Moser is a league cycling and CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and programs director for the Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at or 334- 6417.

Upcoming events
Lexington Cares 5K, Saturday, Oct. 5,
South Fort Myers (
Sanibel 10K, Saturday, Oct. 19, Sanibel
Community House (

Cycling and other events:
Share the Road Celebration of Cycling,
Friday-Sunday, Oct. 25-27, DeLand, Fla.
Streets Alive!, Sunday, Nov. 10, downtown
Fort Myers River District (
Turkey Leg Century Ride*, Sunday, Nov. 29,
Publix, Six Mile Cypress at Daniels Parkway
( (*A self-supported ride)

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