Friday, June 27, 2014

June 30th: Upcoming running/walking/biking/tri events

It may be hot out there, but there are still lots of opportunities to participate in running/walking/biking/tri events in SWFL.  You may have to travel a little further from home, but the roads aren't crowded and it's worth it.  Have you signed up yet for this year's Captiva Tri on Sept. 13-14?  Hurry, because it's filling up fast.
Upcoming events

·         Friday, July 4: Freedom 5K, 2051 Cape Coral Parkway East (at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge). This race is among the few that lets you runs over the bridge overlooking the Caloosahatchee. A portion of the proceeds to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Entry fees $20 until June 25; $25 to July 3; $5 day of. Reduced rates for age 17 and under. Registration opens 6:30 a.m., race 7:30 a.m. (
·         Saturday, July 19: Beat The Heat 5K, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral. Entry $20 adult, $15 youth, $25 day of. Race starts at 7 a.m. (
·         Saturday, July 28: Eagle Lakes 5K, Eagle Lakes Community Park, 11565 Tamiami Trail East, Naples. Entry $28 before, $35 day of, $21 students. Race starts 7 a.m. (
·         Saturday, Aug. 9: Cape 5K, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral. Entry $20 adult, $15 youth, $25 day of. Race starts at 7 a.m. (
Cycling and other events:
·       Saturday, July 5: Naples Pathways Coalition (NPC) Liberty Ride. 10-, 20- and 50-mile rides, four groups based on speed and distance. $20 to June 29, $25 to July 4, $30 day of; includes barbecue picnic. Registration open at 7 a.m., 50-mile ride starts at 7:30 a.m., 10- and 20-mile rides start at 9:30 a.m., behind the Bike Route, 655 Tamiami Trail North, Naples. (
·         Sunday, July 6: Wheels and Wings V Bicycle Ride. 62/32/15 mile rides and a 10-mile gentlemen's mass start race within the 62-mile route. Speed Trap Alley -- break the speed limit and receive a written warning from Punta Gorda police, suitable for framing. Mystery Ride for the 15 milers. Beef O'Bradys 1105 Taylor Road, Punta Gorda. $30 includes ride, SAG stops, T-shirt, 10 Wings and two drinks (
·         Sunday, July 6: Naples American Sprint Duathlon and Triathlon, Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, Naples. Sprint triathlon or run/bike/run Duathlon. Pre-registration $79, race day $99, relay team $119. Race starts 7 a.m. (
·         Saturday, July 19: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood Beach, 2100 N. Beach Rd., Englewood. 7 a.m. start. $70 individuals, $140 teams to June 9. (
·         Sept. 13-14: Registration is now open for the fourth annual Galloway Captiva Tri weekend. Saturday is the kids’ day with three age groups (6-8, 9-10 and 11-13) enjoying the fun of multisports. Sunday, the adults take to the water and roadways in a sprint triathlon (swim/bike/run) covering all of Captiva Island. Spaces are limited for all events, so register now – no waiting lists this year. Information at
·         Sunday, Oct. 5: Marco Island Triathlon 2014, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, 400 South Collier, Marco Island. 8a.m. start $85 individuals, $160 teams (
Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

BikeWalkLee column: Retirement brings bikers closer together

Today's BWL column is another story submitted in response to our request for you to tell us about your ride.  Today's story is about the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club and their riding experiences, as told by their President, Robin Tucker Goyette.  Thanks, Robin!  If you have a story to share, we'd love to hear it (
 News-Press "Go Coastal" Section: June 26, 2014 
By Robin Tucker Goyette, President of the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club

Note: For many, bicycling is more than a way to get from Point A to Point B or to keep themselves fit… it's an opportunity to build camaraderie as well as callouses, to build friendship ad well as muscles, by being part of a bike club. We'll let Robin Tucker Goyette, president of the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club, explain it.

Bicycling is better in retirement. That's the attitude of the 150 enthusiastic men and women I cycle with on a regular basis. We are the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club (, the largest private cycling club in Southwest Florida.

The promised gifts of retirement — be they leisure, friendships or a chance to take up a new hobby — lead many in my community to join our bike club. We have time for a morning full of exercise (in fact, we break at the halfway point in our rides for coffee and conversation.) Group cycling is noncompetitive and requires close cooperation, the result being special friendships based on support and trust. And biking is a pursuit that can be relatively inexpensive, easy on our aging joints and can be enjoyed outdoors nearly every day in this delightful climate.

The Bonita Bay Bicycle Club was formed in 2001. At that time most of the 16 cyclists rode hybrid bicycles and a "long" ride was 20 miles. These days, all our members ride road bikes, ride length is 30-60 miles depending on group preference, and average speed has steadily increased year by year. Those who say that the physical abilities of seniors are diminishing need to have a look at our group; for example, our eldest cyclist (85 years old) rode 1,200 miles over the just-completed winter season.

When the wind is from the north we ride to Fort Myers, and when the wind is from the south we ride to Naples along traditional bike routes established by the club. But we like variety, too, and will sometimes plan a jaunt to Sanibel/Captiva or even an 80-mile spin to Ave Maria.

But our very best rides occur when we vacation together as a group. In the past five years we have cycled across the state of Iowa, along the Hudson River from Albany to Battery Park, on the Mesabi Trail in the Iron Range of northern Minnesota, all over the state of Florida, through the Loire Valley of France, and even 3,000 miles across the United States. Later this summer we will congregate in Door County, Wisc., to spend a week cycling, dining, and gallery-hopping together.

Needless to say, we of the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club strongly endorse cycling as a pursuit worthy of your consideration in retirement. If you spot us at a local cafe, stop by to share a cup of coffee — we'd love to talk bicycling with you.

— 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 online at

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Moser column: Cycling tourism on the rise in Florida

This week's Moser column highlights the increase in bike tourism in Florida and the importance of attaining an environment of respect and tolerance between all users of the public rights of way if  Lee County is to fully take advantage of bike tourism opportunities.

Florida Weekly "Outdoors"  June 25, 2014
Dan Moser's column
Dan Moser
Lee County and the rest of Southwest Florida may truly be paradise in many ways but some things are, let’s just say, “still maturing.” One of the attributes fitting that description is our cycling environment. While clearly not anything resembling a bicycling mecca, Lee County and the rest of Southwest Florida are poised to join other parts of the Sunshine State as a destination for those wishing to make cycling the focus of their vacation or as a way to enhance their overall experience when visiting. Sanibel Island, of course, is an exception, at least for family-oriented cycling, and has been deemed a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, a designation well-deserved.
Recently, the value of being able to get around by bike or making cycling an important part of a vacation has gotten the attention of our tourism promoters as our infrastructure has improved. Wayfinding, in the form of signs posted specifically for cyclists and pedestrians, is perhaps also part of the reason for this increased awareness. Some examples include: the 36-mile Tour de Parks and 9-mile University Loop being two marked routes on the east side of the Caloosahatchee River; Cape Coral’s 90-plus miles of routes that will all be named and signed by the end of this year; and Pine Island’s 14-mile path (28-mile round trip) that runs the entire length of the island with a link to Cape

The Tour de Parks Wayfinding sign. The Tour de Parks wayfinding sign Coral and its extensive network currently being considered. Overall, things area looking pretty good in terms of both on-road and separated pathways around much of Lee County. Conditions stand to be even better once TIGER grant improvements are completed. But one important element remains a serious problem.
For our area to truly become a place where the average person wants to ride, whether resident or visitor, we motorists must become more aware and accepting of cyclists on our roads and within intersections. Communities elsewhere around the country that are known for being bike friendly — and that reap the benefits of that reputation — have an environment of respect and tolerance between all users of the public rights of way, something we must attain here. All the infrastructure and wayfinding in the world won’t help if we continue to lack mutual cooperation. As usual, you can always learn more about this and other bike/ped matters on BikeWalkLee’s blog (
SunRail-bicycle connection
Exploring bicycle tourism elsewhere, the folks in and around Orlando know an opportunity when they see one (it’s not the number one tourist destination for nothing). But this time it’s not the likes of Disney or Universal Studios jumping on it, but rather a small group of cycling enthusiast who recognized the potential of something new that has real potential. On the first weekend in August they will be launching a bike tour that includes the just upland running SunRail service between downtown Orlando and its suburbs to the north.
The SunRail-St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Tour begins on the train in Orlando, then becomes a bicycle tour at the current end of the line in DeBarry (there are plans to extend it further north). The week-long bike tour travels along the 260-mile St. Johns River-to-Sea trail, one of the longest multi-use trails in the southeast U.S. It passes through five counties and uses part of the East Coast Greenway (, the trail that, when completed, will run from Maine to Key West. The many sponsors of this inaugural tour include VISIT Florida, East Coast Greenway Alliance, Florida Office of Greenways and Trails, Florida Bicycle Association, Bike Florida and numerous local tourism offices and chambers of commerce. There’s high hopes for this simple but brilliant idea, one that won’t require a tour operator. Anyone will be able to purchase a train ticket, follow the maps and GPS coordinates, and make his or her own lodging and dining arrangements, all of which adds to the tourism economy.
Staying local
Summertime means quite a drop-off of cycling and running events in Southwest Florida, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. Beginning on Friday, July 4, the Freedom 5K ( takes runners across the Cape Coral Bridge. On Saturday, July 5, it’s the Naples Pathway Coalition Liberty Ride (, followed by Peace River Riders’ Wheels and Wings Ride ( on Sunday, July 6. Summer fun runs are also taking place throughout the area so there’s still plenty to do.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways.
— Dan Moser is CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and program director for the Florida Bicycle Association. He can be contacted at or 334- 6417.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sanibel City Council OKs connectivity ordinance

 Kudos to the City Council for approving an ordinance on June 17th which establishes inter-connectivity and intra-connectivity interpretive guidelines for the city's shared use path system.  Thanks to City Manager Judie Zimomra for leading the effort to develop the guidelines, and to the Sanibel Bicycle Club for their participation in this year-long effort. These guidelines can serve as a model for other Lee County communities.

 Over the past year, Sanibel City government has been working on an ordinance, which amends the existing Land Development Code (LDC) to improve connectivity between the path system and businesses throughout the island.  Click below to see the ordinance, guidelines and related documents:

1. Ord 14-001, 2. PowerPoint Presentation, 3. Current Proposed guidelines dated March 11, 2014, 4. Interconnectivity PowerPoint Presentation 061714
New connection between path system and Billy's bike rental at Bailey Center
The guidelines lay out seven primary goals (see Island Sun 6/20/14 article for more details about the 6/17 Council discussion):

  1. to remain consistent with the goals, objectives and policies of the Sanibel Plan;
  2. to build upon the success of the shared use path system;
  3. to ensure pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist safety by providing unobstructed sight lines at points of ingress and egress; 
  4. to mitigate vehicular traffic volumes by continuing to promote walking and bicycling;
  5. to improve safety by eliminating conflict points between automobiles and pedestrians and bicyclists;
  6. to enhance pedestrian and bicyclist access to properties within the commercial district;
  7. to encourage opportunities for shared parking, thus reducing the need for large parking lots.

As a Sanibel resident, I'm proud to see Sanibel leading the way on improving connectivity and safety for cyclists and pedestrians.  There have been several pilot projects demonstrating this approach over the past year and residents and businesses both responded favorably.  We'll keep you posted on more examples as the policy is implemented on an island-wide basis.

Report by Darla Letourneau

MPO Board recommends funding study for Pine Island Rd. shared use path project, connecting Pine Island and Cape Coral

Thanks to Bob McKnight, Chair of the Matlacha Civic Board, for speaking on behalf of all of Pine Island at today's Lee MPO Board meeting in support of the proposed project for a shared use path connecting Cape Coral and Pine Island.
Matlacha's Bob McKnight speaks to Cape MPO member Rick Williams

At the June 20th Lee MPO Board meeting, one of the agenda items for approval was the annual list of bike/ped priority projects for submission to FDOT for funding.  Included on this list as a "shared" #1 priority was the Pine Island Rd. Shared Use Path PD & E study that was proposed by LeeDOT and recommended by all the MPO committees to the MPO Board for inclusion in the funding request to FDOT.  This project was also submitted to FDOT earlier for consideration as a regional enhancement project, as recommended jointly by the Collier and Lee County MPOs.
At the Board meeting, Bob McKnight, the Board Director of the Matlacha Civic organization spoke in strong support of the project.  He said that it had the unanimous vote of the civic board--the first ever unanimous vote.  He said he was also representing all of Pine Island as he was speaking in support.  He urged support for the project because it is needed for connectivity between Pine Island, Matlacha, and Cape Coral, it is needed for safety, and it will connect that area with the whole county so users can travel by bike between inland and coastal areas of Lee County.
The MPO Board unanimously approved the list of projects to be submitted to FDOT (which included the Pine Island Rd. shared use path project). The requested $520 K is for a feasibility study, which would determine what type of facility should be used (multi-use path, etc.).  FDOT will decide which of the recommended priorities are approved for funding in its November/December workplan for 2015-20.  If FDOT approves the study, it would be the beginning of a 5 year-plus process of getting a path designed and constructed.
BikeWalkLee is a strong supporter of this project and urges FDOT to fund the feasibility study in the upcoming workplan. 
Report by Darla Letourneau

 See earlier blog post on project