Thursday, April 27, 2017

How you can celebrate National Bike Month

BWL Column
The News-Press, 4/27/2017

by Ken Gooderham

Whether it’s around the block or around the county,
get out and enjoy the cycling pleasures of Southwest
May is National Bike Month… so what should you do to celebrate it?

Well, the obvious thing is to go for a bike ride (as if you needed an excuse). Whether it’s around the block or around the county, get out and enjoy the cycling pleasures of Southwest Florida.

Perhaps, to celebrate the month, look for a new route or two to liven your saddle time up a little. Try the Tour de Parks route south of Fort Myers, any of the many routes in Cape Coral or the island bike paths on Sanibel. Or download a copy of the bike facilities map for your area – Lee County at, Collier County at, or both at – and map out your own ride route.

Maybe it’s time to upgrade your ride. Head to your local bike shop and see what new choices are out there. If you end up finding your new dream bike, don’t forget to donate your old bike to one of the local groups who rehab and repurpose bikes for those who need them.

Perhaps you just need to show your current ride a little love… head to that same bike shop for a thorough maintenance, some overdue repairs, or just to see what equipment you might want to add.

It’s getting warmer, so if you’re working to escape the heat an early-morning or early evening ride may be your preference… and some lights front and back to enhance your visibility would be prudent.

Speaking of safety, this could be a good time to check your bike helmet to see how old it is. There’s a sticker on the inside with the date of manufacture (and if it’s wore to illegibility, then assume it’s too old). Helmets lose some of their protective value after five years, so see if it’s time for a new one.

The Fort Myers Ride of Silence is
Wednesday, May 17, starting at
7 p.m. from Centennial Park in
downtown Fort Myers.

Upcoming events

There usually are events to honor the month, another good option for involvement. The Fort Myers Ride of Silence is Wednesday, May 17, starting at 7 p.m. from Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers. Sanibel’s ride is the same day and time, beginning from Matzaluna Italian Kitchen, 1220 Periwinkle Way.

Also, May 10 is National Walk & Bike to School Day, and May 19 is National Bike to Work Day… two more options to celebrate cycling.


Join in

Finally, you can support local cycling… join a local bike club or advocacy group, support your local bike retailers, contact your elected officials (depending on where you live) either to thank them for improving bike facilities or berate them for not doing enough to ensure safe cycling.

If nothing else, take a minute to remember why cycling is worth celebrating:
  • It’s healthy, a great way to bring a little physical activity into your day.
  • It save money, by keeping  your more expensive vehicles parked in the garage at for a trip or two.
  • It’s good for the environment, lessening pollution and your carbon footprint.
  • It build community, by letting you see your neighborhood at a pace that allows you to enjoy it.
  • Mostly, though, it’s fun… something we all could use more of, I’m sure.

Keeping it clean

Need more reason to get outside and walk, bike or run? How about healthy air?

The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report came out April 19, and the Fort Myers/Naples metro area was just one of six in the nation that did not report a single day of unhealthy pollution. Can I get a big inhale for that!

On the other end of the scale, California cities took six of the top 10 “worst short-term pollution” slots, with Bakersfield with the worst ranking. California metro areas also were the worst for overall year-round pollution and ozone pollution.

Want to celebrate our fresh air? One way could be to join the Fight for Air Climb this Saturday (April 29) at Oasis Tower One, 3000 Oasis Grand Blvd., Fort Myers. Info at

Ready to ride or run?

Run? This weekend is the Head/Neck Cancer 5K at Hammond Stadium (, followed next weekend by the Seahawk Sprint 5K (Cape Coral High School, on Saturday and the Tropicool 5K (Naples, on Sunday. Head out to Lovers Key May 13 for the Turtle Trot 5K (

Ride? Critical Mass rides tomorrow night (Cape Coral), Saturday (starter ride in Fort Myers), May 5 (downtown Fort Myers), May 12 (Northeast Lee) and May 13 (Sanibel). All are at night (except for the Saturday starter ride), so bring your lights (and helmet); details at

Both? Sign up for the Cape Coral Sprint Tri on May 13 (, or the Fitness Challenge Reverse Tri in Naples June 14 ( Also, registration opens May 1 for the Galloway Captiva Tri Sept. 9-10… spaces are limited, so don’t miss out.


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.

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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

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