This week's column focusing on the great upcoming running and biking events and a shout-out to the Sanibel Bicycle Club on its 20th anniversary.
All it takes is a trip on one of our main roads or an attempt to have dinner out at just about any area restaurant to confirm that we’re hitting the height of our season. Along with our tourism peak so go organized cycling and running/walking events — and just about anything else that can be done outdoors. This is the time of year that attracts so many to visit and live here, so get out and enjoy the weather.
Following are a few of the many active-living events to consider.
¦ Calusa Nature Center is hosting a Bike & Hike Day on Saturday, Feb. 22. Those who take part in a “Rules of the Road & Pathway” program will be welcome to participate in a guided boardwalk hike or trail bike ride (it’s the first time the trails are being opened to bicycles). The center is easily accessible by bicycle. Go to www.calusanature.org or www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL for more information.
The Hooters-to-Hooters Half Marathon takes place on Sunday, March 2. Since the first one in 2008 it has been extremely popular for a 13.1-mile run, considering it’s a challenge for just about everyone to complete that distance (after all, it ain’t a 5K.) Last year, more than 1,100 participated, with scores of volunteers also joining in the fun in Hooter’sparking lot after the race is done. If you’re not ready to tackle the entire distance there’s a relay option. And the Fort Myers Track Club always needs course volunteers. Whatever you choose, you’re guaranteed to have a great time when Hooters does its thing. Visit www.hootershalfmarathon.com.
¦ Another event with a beer payoff is the Royal Palm Classic on Sunday, March 16. After years of this well-established bike event being staged at Buckingham Park, the Caloosa Riders have partnered with new hosts, Fort Myers Brewing Company located in Gateway, so you know what to expect after completing rides of 15, 30 or 62 miles. And there’s a “no one left behind” 15-mile loop, so those with every speed and skill level are encouraged to take part. Visit www.royalpalmclassic.org.
¦ If you’d like to take a daytrip to experience what our neighbors to the north have to offer, consider the Legacy Trail Tour de Parks Fun Ride. Beginning and finishing at the historic train depot in downtown Venice, you’ll cycle north to Sarasota on the Legacy Trail, which is an excellent example of a top-notch railto trail project. The shorter rides stay on the trail while longer ones include road riding. Many parks are among the attractions you’ll experience on the ride. And it’s only an hour drive from Fort Myers. Visit www.legacytrailfriends.org.
¦ It’s time to start training for the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Stair Climb Challenge, which is taking place on Saturday, April 28, at High Point Place on the river in downtown Fort Myers. Those registered can climb the 30-stories where the event will be taking place each Saturday morning and soon on Wednesday evenings as well. The post-climb activities on the day of the event on the pool deck overlooking the Caloosahatchee River are as excellent as the view. More details and registration can be found at www.fightforairclimb.org.
One of Florida’s most effective and fun-loving bicycle organizations, the Sanibel Bicycle Club, celebrated its 20th anniversary recently with a major bash. It seems like it’s actually been around much longer, considering the progress the island has made in accommodating cyclists and other non-motorists on its extensive pathway system. Many of the forefathers and foremothers of what I believe is a model bike club were in attendance. The SBC serves as a powerful influence in shaping its community by being involved, being heard and putting its money where its mouth is.
Sanibel Island is a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community thanks to the SBC’s cooperation with and support of city planning and policy initiatives, including sharing the cost to develop a bike/pedestrian master plan as well as raising the funds necessary to build a welcome kiosk and rest area for pathway users. If you haven’t been out to the island for a while you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the improvements that have been made to the pathway network. So when you see someone with an SBC jersey or T-shirt, be sure to thank them.
To catch up on all that’s happening that affects quality of life throughout the region, check BikeWalkLee’s blog at www.bikewalklee.blogspot.com.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. ¦
— Dan Moser is C yclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and program director for Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334- 6417.