This week's BWLcolumn encourages readers to use the Tour de Parks route to bike to spring training games, as well as to the Calusa Nature Center's this Saturday, where the improved trail is opening for biking and Dan Moser is offering bicycling basics training.Spring training games return to Lee County on Feb. 27, which means baseball, blue skies — and some serious traffic tie-ups as thousands descend on the county’s two stadiums to watch the often sold-out games.
Rather than being one of those stuck in your car in a long line of slow-moving traffic, why not take some of the stress out of getting to the game and ride your bike instead?
Both JetBlue Park and the Lee County Sports Complex — hosting the Red Sox and Twins, respectively — are easily accessible by bike, even for the most inexperienced riders. The Sports Complex, in particular, is served by bike paths from all directions, making it comfortable for even the most wary cyclists. JetBlue has protected streets leading in from the north, while the most popular Daniels Parkway route is mostly served by bike paths with some bike lanes thrown in.
Coming from the south on Treeline Avenue will mean using the roadway’s popular bike lanes — and, while you’ll share the road with motor vehicle traffic, you’ll have your own space that’s marked and (mostly) respected by drivers.Many of these routes are part of the county’s Tour de Parks network, which ties together Lakes Park and the Calusa Nature Center, the Yarbrough Linear Park and the North Colonial Linear Trail, the full length of Six Mile Cypress Parkway from College Parkway to U.S. 41 – and the two stadiums, of course.
With its easy access from major residential and commercial areas, this network is convenient and well used – and offers enough variations and variable to allow to you ride it again and again while tailoring the trip and the time to your needs. Be sure to give it a try.
Getting back to the ballgames, however, if you live on or near the “Tour de Parks route you may discover that biking is the fastest way to get to the game. Just be sure:
• To allow plenty of time to get there… you may be moving faster than the traffic but you still have to negotiate the same intersections and issues.
• To bring sunscreen and a hat (for the hopefully sunny skies) and stay hydrated (yes, beer counts… but water is better for the riding part at least).
• To bring a lock, since you’ll need a way to secure your cycle once you get there.
• When riding on sidepaths you’ll be dealing with heavy pedestrian traffic the closer you get to the stadiums – so understand that those on foot have priority and be sure to warn them and proceed with caution when passing pedestrians.
BikeWalkLee is 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 at BikeWalkLee.org.