Sunday, July 10, 2016

News-Press article: Where are the HOT SPOTS for cycling?

critical mass
(Photo: The News-Press, Andrew West/The News-Press)
In Southwest Florida, it's hot. Hot and humid. Hot, rainy and humid. As Robin Williams said in 'Good Morning Vietnam', it's so hot, you can cook in your shorts. But Southwest Floridians (Lee County-ites) adapt, adjust, overcome. Clint Eastwood said that. Heartbreak Ridge. They either go out in the early morning or early evening, around sunset. Most of us came here to be outside, be active.

Over the next few weeks and exclusive to our subscribers, The News-Press fitness expert Craig Handel will show you places where you can bike, move your feet, move your arms or do both at the same time. We call them Lee County Summer Hot Spots. After you see these and you want to make suggestions on other Hot Spots, let us know ( The more the merrier.

Three years ago, Rob Seibert started a Critical Mass Ride in Fort Myers, hoping it would not only get people riding their bicycles but show safe paths available in Lee County and help bring cyclists closer together.

"I don't want to play war between different places," he said. "I wanted to bring together a community." Since then, there now are five Critical Mass Rides, two in Fort Myers and one in Cape Coral, Sanibel and Northeast Lee County.

"We get a lot more families involved," Seibert said. "It's about the cheapest thing you can do." Local cycle companies like Trek, Coastline Cyclery, Go Girl Cycling and Paradise Bicycles also have started bike outings.

Then there's the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, which has been around for years.
Here are 11 of some of the best Southwest Florida's summer biking hot spots

1. Lakes Regional Park: A great starter trail with 2 ½ miles of paths. For those more adventurous, crossing the 41 where 6-mile to Gladiolus will lead you to trails access to John Yarbrough Linear Park, south on Michael Rippe Parkway Trail.

2. Fort Myers Critical Mass I: The first Friday of every month, more than 200 people usually take part. Riders gather at 7:30 p.m. for an 8 p.m. rollout at empty lot by Publix. Riders get a feel of Fort Myers history on their 5-mile ride.

3. Fort Myers Critical Mass II: This Saturday morning ride is more for beginners. This teaches them more about bicycle safety and how to ride in a group. Resembles a sight-seeing event. Nice slow roll.

Participants in the Ride of Silence are requested to
Participants in the Ride of Silence are requested to wear black arm bands or red if they have personally been injured in a cycling versus motor vehicle crash. (Photo: Andrea Melendez/The News-Press)

4. Cape Coral Critical Mass: Goes the last Saturday of every month. Riders gather at 7:30 p.m. for an 8 p.m. rollout at 4706 SE 11th Place. About 100-125 take part in this family-friendly ride. Police help make this a safe, enjoyable ride.

Providing safe paths increases outdoor activity among
Providing safe paths increases
outdoor activity among the
people who live, work and play
in Lee County.
(Photo: news-press file photo)
5. Northeast Lee Critical Mass: Leaves the second Friday of every month. Riders gather around 7:15 p.m. for 8 p.m. roll out from Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. About 50-60 riders take part in this ride through neighborhoods.

6. Sanibel Critical Mass: Done the second Saturday of every month. Riders gather at 7:15 p.m. for a 7:45 p.m. roll out at Jerry's Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. An earlier start helps riders catch some of the sunset. Route is almost entirely on paths. About 60-80 usually take part.

7. Coastline Cyclery ride: This is intended for beginner to intermediate cyclists who want to improve their group riding skills and get connected to the local cycling community. Riders arrive at at Coastline Cyclery, 10676 Colonial Blvd at 7:15 a.m. on Sundays for a 7:30 a.m. rollout. Cyclery owners take rides on 20-mile loop through Treeline, Commerce, Gateway, the back of the airport and back. After that ride finishes, there's another 30-mile ride that include Estero and Three Oaks Parkway.

8. Trek Cyclery Ride: Every Sunday, about 25 riders of all talent levels gather at 7:15 at Trek Cyclery's 6 Mile Cypress Location for a 7:30 a.m. rollout. Trek members lead a 15-mile ride that hits John Yarbrough Linnear Park as well as Colonial Boulevard. There's another 23-25-mile ride that goes from Colonial to Treeline to Plantation, Gateway and the back part of the airport in a loop.

9. Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club: This group has a number of rides, one of which leaves Sundays at 8 a.m. from the ball fields by Pelican Park in Cape Coral. A dozen or two riders go to Coral Oaks Golf Course and back. The course can vary. It's one of the safest routes as bike lanes are used. For more information on other rides go to

The Fort Myers Ride of Silence, sponsored by the Caloosa
The Fort Myers Ride of Silence, sponsored by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club took to the streets Wednesday night. Cyclists rode in a silent, funeral-style procession at 10-12 mph for 8 miles to honor those who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Riders wore black arm bands, or red if they have personally been injured in a cycling vs. motor vehicle accident. May 20, 2015. (Photo: Andrea Melendez/The News-Press)
10. Art of the Group ride: A weekly ride leaving from Coastline Cyclery, in conjunction with the regular Caloosa Riders Saturday ride. A relaxed paced NO DROP ride, with a speed of 16-18mph, for those who are already riding a road bike but need to brush up on skills or gain group riding knowledge and confidence.
Leaves at 7:30 a.m. each Saturday.

11. Bike Bistro: Every Thursday at 5:30 p.m., a group riding 21 mph-plus takes a 30-mile route out and back from Sanibel. A second group riding between 17-20 mph goes to Sanibel on a 26-hile route. The third Thursday of every month, there's a potluck after the ride. Families and well-behaved pets are welcome.
The News-Press is having a drawing for a Go-Pro camera for our INSIDERS at the end of July. Look for a link at the top of today's Summer Hot Spots story at to register.

July 7 -- Cycling
July 14 -- Running/walking
July 21 -- Fishing
July 28 -- Kayaking/canoeing
Aug. 4 -- Beach volleyball
Aug. 11 -- Swimming
Aug. 18 -- Disc golf
Aug. 25 -- Pickleball

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