Thursday, April 12, 2018

Getting your bike back home

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 4/12/2018
by Ken Gooderham

If you’re one of our many winter residents who is also a cyclist, what do you do with your bike when it’s time to head north?

For many, the choice is between taking it with you vs. leaving it here until you come back next fall. Either way, you’ll need to be prepared to ensure everything goes smoothly.

If you’re planning to take your bike back home, great. You can ride through the summer and keep your fitness level up (in temperatures hopefully more moderate than the ones we’ll be riding in here). Your choices will be guided by how you are transporting yourself northward.

If you’re driving, invest in a bike rack to carry your bike safely. You can find styles that strap onto your vehicle (behind or above) or that attach to your vehicle using a trailer hitch attached to the frame.

The removable racks can be eliminated once the need for transport is done, but they also are less secure (unless you have a way to lock your bike to something that cannot be removed easily) and will need to checked in route to ensure that straps and tie-downs have not loosened.

Trunk racks are easier to load than roof racks, and both types require you to get used to having something either behind or on top of your vehicle (so you adjust your driving habits appropriately).

The hitch racks enable you to lock your bike(s) down and are the best choice for carrying multiple bikes. If you’re planning to carry your bikes a lot, it’s probably the best choice and a wise investment… particularly to keep an expensive bike safe.

If your transportation northward is by air, you face the decision of whether to treat your bike as luggage or to leave the transport to someone else.

Flying with bikes can be expensive (it’s the airlines, after all) and potentially dangerous for your bike unless you invest in a sturdy case to protect it in transit. (Imagine what the airlines already do to your luggage – on steroids).

You could also look into a bike shipping service, which cuts hassle and the potential for damage. Your local bike store may be able to help with this, or let Google search one for you.

Of course, there may be a few hardy souls up for the Plan C option – ride your bike up north. If that’s your idea of a good time --  hood luck, have a great trip and send postcards from the road.

You could always leave your bike here, awaiting your return next fall. If that’s for you, just a few thoughts:
  • Store your bike in a secure place indoors. You do not want to see what a Florida summer could do to your ride.
  • Remove any electronics (or remove the batteries) and stow your water bottle (after cleaning, of course).
  • Speaking of cleaning, give your bike a good going-over to remove dirt and grime… one less thing you’ll need to do on your return.
  • Either have your bike mechanic give it a tune up, or do it yourself. In particular, lubricate the chain and cables, check the brake pads and top off the tires.
  • Depending on how long you’re going to be gone, you may want to flip your bike over so it’s resting on the seat and handlebars. Takes the pressure off the tires.
  • If you’re planning to hang it up, say in your garage, hang it by the frame rather than the wheels to avoid warping the rims.
That’s it! Enjoy your summer!

Blue Zone update

Want to find out more about the Blue Zones Project, an effort to learn from some of the world’s longest living citizens on ways to help you live a healthier and longer life?

You have an opportunity to hear from project co-founder Dan Buettner next Monday. He will share insights on living longer and better… and celebrate National Walking Day with a short jaunt (optional).

Many may not know that Southwest Florida is one of nine Blue Zones sites in the U.S. Per the website: “A Blue Zones Community® is an area in which citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores, and community leaders have come together to optimize residents' longevity and well-being. ... By impacting environment, policy, and social networks, Blue Zones Project makes healthy choices easier.”

RSVP at for the event, which starts at 6 p.m. April 16 at Alico Arena. The event is free, and the project is worth finding out about.

Ready to ride or run?

Run? The Friends of Foster Children Forever 5K and the Lipman 5K Run for Backpacks will both compete on Saturday, April 21 (and both in Collier County), while the sixth annual 5K Run/Walk to Support Head & Neck Cancer Patients will be held at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers on April 28.
Ride? Critical Mass meets up for its NE Lee ride tomorrow (April 13), and for its Sanibel ride Saturday (April 14). Both are night rides, so lights are mandatory; for all rides helmets are suggested. Details at  Details at  Details at

Both?  Sunday brings the FGCU Eagle Sprint Tri and Dualthon, and bring your wetsuit if you wish; details at Other upcoming tris:
  • Saturday, May 12: Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint Tri (
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (
  • Also, registration opens for the Galloway Captiva Tri on May 1; the race weekend is Sept. 15-16, with the kids’ events Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday.


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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