by Ken Gooderham
But before you hit the road, there are a couple of things you should do.
First, check out your equipment to ensure it’s up to the task and won’t leave you stranded or sore.
For cyclists, that means looking over your bike. If you’re nominally handy, you can probably deal with most of the things you need to be road-ready. If not, or if you’d rather someone with skills tackle the task, get you and your bike over to your friendly neighborhood bike shop (a good place to have a friend and a great place to see what’s new).
What should you check, at the very least?
- Tire pressure: Pump them up to the PSI recommended. Too soft is a good way to have a flat (is the tube gets pinched), too hard will rattle your teeth (and other body parts) unnecessarily.
- Tire condition: If the tread is thin or the rubber looks brittle, replace them before they strand you. Do the tubes at the same time. If the rubber looks OK, then check for cuts or debris that needs to be removed.
- Brakes… the levers, the cables and the pads: Stopping is often the most part of cycling, so be sure everything involved in that process is up to par.
- Drivetrain: Take the time to clean and lube your chain, and see if it’s too loose (can jump the cassette) or worn (prone to breakage). Look at the gears as well, to see that the teeth are not worn down or chewed up.
- Road kit: (You have a road kit, right? Or are you feeling lucky?) Whatever you need for a ride – which can be as simple as a few bucks for emergencies and as complicated as a spare tube, tire levers, hex wrenches and CO2 cartridges – made sure everything is fresh and in its place. And if you don’t bring stuff like this along for the ride, might be time to reconsider.
Runners and walkers, you have a far simpler equipment task – because you use far less stuff. First and foremost, check your shoes – first, to ensure you’re wearing the right type for your activity, then to be sure they’re in good shape to protect your feet and joints as well as make the walk or run more fun.
Then, look at the rest of your outfit – which can be simpler because the heat and rain is taking a break, but can also be more complicated once serious cold fronts start making it this far south. That means jackets and hats, and perhaps something more substantial than shorts. Also be sure to be seen… bright colors make you stand out, and lights make running or walking at dusk or dark much safer (Daylight Savings Time is lurking just around the corner).
Lights are a good idea for cyclists, too, since you might get caught in the gloom by mistake. And cyclists should review their road attire as well, replacing what is worn if necessary or trying something new (another good reason to visit your bike shop).
Finally, make sure you’re ready for the road or ride. If you’ve been regularly exercising, good for you. Just make sure the muscles you need for riding or running are ready, and ease into it to keep the soreness down and be sure to warm up and cool down appropriately (stretching can help ease the re-entry process, too).
If you haven’t been moving much over the summer, take an honest look at your physical condition and start accordingly. That may even mean a visit to the doctor to ensure you’re healthy enough for exercise, but it certainly means starting slow and working your way into (or back into) shape. Cross-training can be a great way to keep moving without soreness, just pick activities that alternate muscle use rather than doubling down on it.
While you’re at it, do a quick run-through on the rules of the road: Bike with traffic, walk facing it, yield to pedestrians at all times, warn when passing, be clear on the signals and warning when riding in a group, see and be seen, etc.
We live in a great place to walk, run or ride, so take advantage of that. By doing it right, you might end up doing it longer and better over time.
Cape wins path grant
Congratulations to the city of Cape Coral for winning a $1.8 million grant from Florida DOT’s new Shared Use Non-motorized (SUN) Trail Program, for the initial engineering and design of a multi-use trail along Kismet Parkway in the northern part of the city. The 12-foot-wide path will eventually connect Del Prado Blvd. and Burnt Store Road about 7 miles in all), adding a valuable east-west corridor for cyclists, runners and walkers.
Of course, the very active Cape Coral Bike-Ped group was instrumental in winning the grant, another significant step in its efforts to create a citywide bike/ped system that will be a boon for the Cape for years to come.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:
Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.
Ready to ride or run?
Run? Halloween has become synonymous with organized runs (burns off the candy, we trust), with a plethora locally from which to choose. On Saturday, Oct. 29, you have the “Soup”-er Hero 5K Run/Walk at Gulf Coast Town Center (benefits Community Cooperative, www.communitycooperative.com); the 5th annual LCEC Goblin Gallop 5K run/walk at Jim Jeffers Park, Cape Coral (3dracing.com); and the Monster Dash Halloween 5K at Fleischmann Park in Naples (gcrunner.org). All three start at 7: 30 a.m. If you need more (or just more distance), try the Rocktoberfest 10 Miler & 2x5 Mile Relay, on Sunday, Oct. 30 at North Collier Regional Park (eliteevents.org).
Ride? Critical Mass rides are back: Friday, Oct. 28, is the Cape Coral ride (gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape). Saturday, Oct. 29, is the starter/sightseeing ride (gather at 9 a.m., roll at 9:15 a.m. from 2160 McGregor Blvd. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction). The following Friday (Nov. 4) is the original, a family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers
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Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, 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 www.BikeWalkLee.org.