Monday, July 6, 2020

July 6: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

There's nothing new on the race calendars for now. That doesn't stop many of us from going out for a bicycle ride, and with good reason.  If you haven't already, check out these great tips for new (and existing) bicycle owners.

When you go out, use common sense for your safety. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and do not go out in thunderstorms. First and foremost, always be aware of motorized traffic, behind and in front of you. Use bike paths and lanes if possible. Adhere to the rules of the road. Stop where you must, signal your direction, ride on the right side. And by all means, do not try to mingle with high speed multi-lane motor vehicle traffic.

The number of Covid-19 cases in our area is still rising. It seems reasonable advice to keep protecting yourself and others by practicing social distance (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) and using a face mask when and where appropriate. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

For the latest on organized events, check the usual websites such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Thursday, July 2, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Pedaling through the pandemic

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, July 2, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic pop up in the most unusual places.

Take cycling… which many people have, discovering that riding a bike combines exercise, transportation and social distancing in a tidy little package. The fact that it also gets you out of the house and helps elevate your spirits - both things we all need during the age of Covid - is just a little extra incentive.

However, no one expected a pandemic would boost biking to the degree it has… which means bike shops are busy and bike supplies can be low.

Checking out the websites for local bike shops, most are ready and willing to sell to you or serve you – but most also include the caveat that inventories are down and parts might be more difficult to find. Reports are similar from the big-box stores, meaning it’s an industry-wide issue.

If you don’t already have a bike, then procuring one might take a little work (or flexibility). Discuss your needs and plans with your local bike shop staff and they probably can find you what you need with a little initiative or ingenuity. They can also help fit you to your new ride (recommended if you’re serious about this), hook you up with the other items you’ll need to make riding safe and enjoyable, and show you how to take care of your new mode of transportation.

If a bike doesn’t have to be new (just new to you), that opens up some options. Check online or on websites for local bike clubs to see anything is for sale, or try one of the buying apps to see what’s available. Also decide what condition you expect a bike to be in order to buy it – absolutely perfect, needs minor repairs or requires serious overhaul – and adjust your pedaling pursuits accordingly.

Many people have bikes but they may have not ridden it in quite some time… meaning a tune-up and other touches are in order. Once again, local shops are sometimes seeing longer wait times on service, driven by both demand (for repairs) and supply (for parts). This is an easier problem for many shops to fix, since working longer days and adding some skilled wrenchers (both welcome in our current economic doldrums) is easier to do than to ramp up manufacturing and assembly.

If you live in one of 31 communities in Lee or Collier counties, you also have the option of having service come to you via Florida Bike Medic. They schedule service days and accept appointments for a range of repairs… and all you have to do is bring them your bike (usually at the community center) and pay your bill. Details at floridabikemedic.com.

Of course, you always have the choice of doing your own repairs… a good option for the handy (and hearty) as long as you know your limits. It’s always wise to know how to do some simple fixes – repair flats, change tires, adjust brakes, etc. – especially if you like to ride far afield where mechanics are few and far between. But there are some repairs that warrant more skill than basic tools and a YouTube video can generate. Save those for the experts, and you’ll both be happy.

You can always buy your own parts and bring them to your favorite shop to install, a good workaround when supply lines are tight. But ask if that’s OK first before just showing up, and expect to pay a small fee on top of the usual charge for not buying things from the shop itself.

Another front where the pandemic has meant inroads for cycling is… roads. Major cities (more often in Europe than here) are seeing the rise in riding as an excuse to expand bike routes and convert some road spaces into bike lanes. That’s cutting in to center-city car congestion as well as recognizing the bike boom, so a win-win if you like cycling and cleaner air.

Will we see a similar rise in facilities locally? Doubtful, both because the car culture is too entrenched and because mass-transit alternatives are not in place to make fewer cars more likely.

We do hope local officials see the ridership rise as validation for whatever efforts in the past have resulted in improved bike facilities throughout Southwest Florida… and, perhaps, motivation to stay the course if not expand the two-wheeled options locally.

It should not take a pandemic to push more people into cycling, but if that’s the result the least we can do is keep expanding the bike lanes and paths to make it easier and safer to leave the car at home.


Ready to ride or run?

Nothing new on the race calendars, just virtual events and the promise of racing to return come the fall (Covid willing). Keep checking the usual websites for updates… be prepared to sign up, but also be prepared to deal with postponements if the rules on gatherings don’t change.



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 info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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. 


Monday, June 29, 2020

June 29: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

There's nothing new on the race calendars for now and covid-19 cases are on the rise. Don't let that stop you from taking a run or a bicycle ride but use common sense. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and do not go out in thunderstorms. Whether you are cycling or running, always be aware of motorized traffic around you.

The number of Covid-19 cases in our area is rising. It seems reasonable advice to keep protecting yourself and others by practicing social distance (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) and using a face mask when and where appropriate. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

For the latest on organized events, check the usual websites such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Monday, June 22, 2020

June 22: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

There's nothing new on the race calendars for now. Don't let that stop you from taking a run or a bicycle ride. Just make sure your are safe and hydrated. Keep an eye on the weather and do not go out if thunderstorms are in the forecast. Whether you are cycling or running, always be aware of motorized traffic around you.

For the latest on organized events, check the usual websites such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

The number of Covid-19 cases in our area is still rising. It seems reasonable advice to keep protecting yourself and others by practicing social distance (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) and using a face mask when and where appropriate. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

BikeWalkLee: The rains reign again

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, June 18, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

Right on cue, the summer skies have opened and routine (and often rambunctious) rains are back.

For those of you new to cycling and/or Southwest Florida, adjusting your cycling habits to accommodate inclement weather can be challenging. (As for runners, the higher temps should have already driven you either earlier or inside, so thunder and lightning should be less of an inconvenience… as least compared to heat and humidity.)

The first step is to coping with the cloudbursts is to avoid them, if at all possible. Riding early in the day improves the chances of
missing the downpours (not to mention offering lower temperatures in the morning hours). Since on most summer days the storms don’t start rolling in until after noon, making sure your ride is done by lunch should keep you dry (at least from rain).

If your schedule is not your own and the chances of you being on a bike as the chances of rainfall increase, the best response is to be prepared. Wear clothes that dry quickly (which is a good idea in summer, rain or not), and have a packable water-resistant jacket at hand that you can easily include when the risk of rain rises.

Make sure said jacket is brightly colored (to make you more visible) and has a hood if possible (that fits either over or under your helmet). If you really want to stay dry, think waterproof (which can cost more and be less packable) rather than water-resistant and – for the serious cyclist – you could look into making more of your attire waterproof… such as shorts, pants and even gloves and shoe covers. That’s a serious financial commitment, so decide how dry you really want to be. (Also note that any attire sealed enough to keep water out is also sealed enough to keep perspiration in… so use accordingly.)

What if you have no choice about riding in the rain?

Then it comes down to choices: How wet do you want to get? How heavy is the rain? Where are you riding? How much traffic (primarily motor vehicles) will you have to interact with? What if there’s more than just rain?

Tackling those in order:

  • Wet: Most riders will brave a sprinkle, but draw the line at a downpour – and rightly so, as being pounded by raindrops and drenched to the core is pretty uncomfortable. Lightweight and quick-dry clothes will help (as opposed to water-absorbing cottons, let’s say), but your “damn the raindrops” attitude may change the first time you get really soaked and try to keep on pedaling.
  • Heavy: See above, with the additional admonition that heavy downpours not only cut your ability to see but also to be seen, which can be a major problem. Downpours also can flood roads and paths fast, making forward motion more treacherous.
  • Where: How much and what kind of traffic will you share the road with? Walker, runners and other riders will avoid the rain, so you might be OK to keep going on a bike path… but riding along a road full of fast-moving vehicles may be more dangerous than you’d want.
  • Traffic: Speaking of which, drivers will keep moving forward despite the rain (and be nice and dry), but their ability to see other traffic is diminished in a downpour – especially cyclists, bright colors or not. Street flooding is also a risk, both due to what is obscures (potholes and debris, for example) and what it creates (a lot of wake and spray as vehicles push through the puddles). Finally, water and any traffic markings on the pavement are a dangerous combination, turning them slick enough to slide on with the slightly swerve.
  • Beyond rain: By this we mean the thunder and lightning that often accompanies summer storms. If that starts where you’re riding, take shelter immediately – preferably in a building or other solid structure. Don’t hide out under trees and, if you don’t have anywhere else to escape, then avoid being the highest thing around in case a bolt of lightning is looking for a place to land.

Image: fiets.nl

In all the talk about keeping you dry, don’t forget your bicycle – since water is not a friend to moving parts. If you’re caught in the rain there’s not much you can do… but when you get home, be sure to dry everything out and lube all the essential parts – chain, brakes, gears and shifter, etc. – ASAP before rust can set in.

Rain riding is also a good reason to have plenty of lights (front and rear) to be more visible, and perhaps even fenders (either permanent or snap-on) to keep the spray where it belongs (not on you).

Summer rains may be inevitable, but they don’t need to be completely inconvenient. Just be flexible and be prepared, and you can keep on riding regardless.


Ready to ride or run?

Nothing new on the race calendars, just virtual events and the promise of racing to return come the fall (Covid willing). Keep checking the usual websites for updates… be prepared to sign up, but also be prepared to deal with postponements if the rules on gatherings don’t change.



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 info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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. 


Monday, June 15, 2020

June 15: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events


For the latest on organized events, visit the event websites, such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Most of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled, but don't let that stop you from taking a run or a bicycle ride. Just make sure your are safe and hydrated. Keep an eye on the weather and do not go out if thunderstorms are in the forecast. Whether you are cycling or running, always be aware of motorized traffic around you.

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people.  Remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Monday, June 8, 2020

June 8: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

The latest BikeWalkLee Column has some valuable information for every walker, runner, and bicyclist still out there in our hot and humid season.

For the latest on organized events, visit the event websites, such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Most of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled, but don't let that stop you from taking a run or a bicycle ride. Just make sure your are safe and hydrated. Keep an eye on the weather and do not go out if thunderstorms are in the forecast. Whether you are cycling or running, always be aware of motorized traffic around you.

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people.  Getting some exercise and enjoying the outdoors is fine. Just remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Coronavirus scrambles the schedule

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, June 4, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

Covid-19 continues to infect the running race schedule locally, pushing some events to later dates and others to virtual venues.

That doesn’t mean you get the summer off from running. It just means you may get the summer off from racing.

Here are some of the latest changes:
  • The Freedom 5K is changing holidays, moving from its usual July 4 date to Saturday, Sept. 5, the start of the Labor Day weekend. The race is still planning to run over the Cape Coral Bridge, and information on the event can be found via the Cape Chamber of Commerce website. (The race website was being blocked the times I tried to get to it, but hopefully that will be rectified shortly.)
  • The Gulf Coast Runners’ usually summer schedule has gone virtual, but you can still participate, post times and compete at a safe distance. In fact, they are offering a special price on a package of all three events – Global Running Day on June 3, the Firecracker 5K around July 4 and the Tropicool 5K around Aug. 15. They have a very complete guide to their virtual events at gcrunner.org/virtual, so check it out.
  • The Independence Day 5K has also gone virtual, with a twist – compete within a certain time window and you could win prizes, or compete when you want and just have the satisfaction of the run itself. Details at runeliteevents.com
Another coronavirus casualty is the Wheel Lee Fun safe cycling program for kids, four one-week courses that should have run from mid-June to late July.

Staying with all things Covid, there still have been concerns about social distancing, mask wearing and exercise. This issues seem to fall in two camps:
  • The rules in general involving masks and exercise.
  • Concerns about runners leaving a trail of viral exhalations in their wake.
  • Cyclists passing too close to nearby pedestrians.
So, in that order:
  • According to the New York Times, few cities nationwide require mask-wearing while exercising – as long as an appropriate distance is maintained. It is recommended that exercisers have a mask on hand in case they run or ride up on a situation where they need to interact at a less-than-appropriate distance… but not to wear during normal exercise when six or more feet is maintained between people. If you’re exercising inside or in a crowd, perhaps masking is worth it – even though it’s harder to breath and traps heat and humidity from your breath, both things runners and riders already have an abundance of when outside in Southwest Florida.
  • The risk from runners? Low if you keep enough distance, both around and behind someone. Some studies have suggested increased the safe-space buffer to double the recommended six feet or more, but there’s not substantial research back that up or refute it outright.
  • The same goes for cyclists: Keep six feet away and limit your exposure, and there’s not a lot of risk expected. Some bikers have adopted a “Four D” rule – Double the Distance (from six to 12 feet) and Don’t Draft (following another cyclist closely to enhance aerodynamics).
Obviously, avoiding other bodily fluids from exercisers – sweat and spit, in particular – is recommended regardless of virality. And runners or riders should respect both their fellow exercisers and passersby by refraining from rude behavior and masking when necessary.

Nobody wants to get sick, after all, be it coronavirus, cold and flu or whatever else is out there.



Ready to ride or run?

Keep checking the usual websites for updates… be prepared to sign up, but also be prepared to deal with postponements if the rules on gatherings don’t change.



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 info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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. 


Monday, June 1, 2020

June 1: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events


Check out this BikeWalkLee Column for our take on organized running and biking events this summer. Visit the event websites, such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) for the latest updates.

Most of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled, but don't let that stop you from taking a run or a bicycle ride. Just keep an eye on the weather and do not go out if thunderstorms are in the forecast. Whether you are cycling or running, always be aware of motorized traffic around you. Avoid dehydration. Drink before you get thirsty.

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people.  Getting some exercise and enjoying the outdoors is fine. Just remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Monday, May 25, 2020

May 25: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events


Check out the latest BikeWalkLee Column for our take on organized running and biking events this summer.

Most of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled, but don't let that stop you if you want to take a run or a bicycle ride. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast now that rainy season is around the corner, and watch out for motorized traffic as always.

Virtual events are fun and offer a sense of community. Check out the event websites, such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) to find out more.

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people.  Getting some exercise and enjoying the outdoors is fine. Just remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Races? Not quite yet

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, May 21, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

Gyms are open, albeit at half-capacity. Can organized running and biking events outside be far behind?

Unfortunately, while local race sites are posting the possibility of an event in mid-June and beyond (with the expected qualifiers that any event may be postponed or rescheduled), the reality is that mass-gathering events are probably a long way off.

It’s not just coronavirus that’s the problem. There’s also the cliff-like drop-off in business activity and the normal patterns of fitness that come into play.

First, of course, come the coronavirus. Organized races are very definition of mass gatherings, with a horde of people assembled at the start and finish (plus, usually, another horde of people watching and cheering them on). No social distancing there, and exerting at that level while masked is another challenge.

Sure, you could use timed starts to keep competitors the appropriate distance apart… which works right up to the time they start really competing by passing others and sprinting in groups. Plus, finding a finish line that isn’t a mob of people would be both unlikely and unsatisfactory for most dedicated racers.

So, until the government guidelines allow for some degree of mass gathering, you won’t see your typical run or triathlon (although cycling events might be able to handle distancing more effectively). Even if the participants were willing to abandon distancing for the sake of competition, an event organizer with any sense would not want the liability of potentially putting people at risk for coronavirus exposure.

Which leads to the second issue: Most race organizers are small businesses as well, and they have been hammered by the ban on the events that keep them in business. Even if an event is organized by a nonprofit, “nonprofit” does not mean “no profit” – which is what most of them have seen since the coronavirus close-down.

The bigger national event organizers have laid off employees and scaled back operations in hopes of surviving the shutdown, and they’ve had no access to the federal funding Washington has been shoveling out the door. There is a push to include nonprofits in the next round of stimulus spending, but whether that will come to pass (or if the funding actually sees the light of day) is an open question.

The final obstacle is fitness – specifically, whether potential participants will be ready and able to compete once races return.

For some events, this won’t be an issue. Either fitness is not the main goal of the event (in the case of group cycling, where the camaraderie counts as much as the speed) or the degree of training is either achievable or irrelevant (such as for 5K runs, where – except for the elites – the endurance required is within reach of most runners).

But getting ready for a half-marathon or longer takes some focused training, at least if you want to compete at anything above a brisk-walk pace. While folks may have had the time for the long runs necessary to make a marathon survivable, it doesn’t mean they’re ready to tackle one right away – or that organizers would be willing to attempt to hold one until next fall when cooler weather returns.

Even more at issue are triathlons, both for the combination of skills and endurance necessary and for the very real issue that training for one-third of the event (swimming) has been difficult for those who don’t have access to their own private pool or beach (since the public ones have been off limits).

Since swimming can be the most dangerous leg of a triathlon, you really want people in the water who’ve been building some endurance – even for the shortest tri, where the quarter-mile swim can still be more than your average person is ready to tackle without practice.
Of course, this is Southwest Florida – so weather works against mass-gathering events over the summer already (with the exception of 5Ks that can start and finish before temperatures start to rise). Even if the virus were to disappear tomorrow (not happening), the heat and humidity are here to stay for the next few months.

Add it all up, and you should not expect to see a return to the usual roster of races until the fall. Bad news for competitors, good news for those who want to train for their first (or next) race or ride.


Ready to ride or run?


Keep checking the usual websites for updates, since some organizers are hold out hope for in-person events towards the end of June – or at least in time for the usual Fourth of July flood of 5Ks. Be prepared to sign up, but also be prepared to deal with postponements if the rules on gatherings don’t change.



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 info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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. 


Monday, May 18, 2020

May 18: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Virtual events update

Most of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled, but virtual events are making inroads and there is plenty of opportunity to go out and exercise.

Virtual events are fun and offer a sense of community. Check out the event websites, such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) to find out more.

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people.  Getting some exercise and enjoying the outdoors is fine. Just remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Monday, May 11, 2020

May 11: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Coronavirus update

As some parks and other facilities are opening again, most of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled.

To check the current status of the regular events go to the event websites, such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people.  Getting some exercise and enjoying the outdoors is fine. Just remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Ride of Silence solo, but no less solemn

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, May 7, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

This year’s Ride of Silence will be no less solemn… it will just be a lot less crowded.

The national organizers for the Ride of Silence, which began in 2003 to mark those who have been injured or killed while cycling along public roads, have had to adjust to the coronavirus just like the rest of us.

So rather than a line of slow-moving and silent cyclists riding in remembrance of others who have fallen, this year the organizers are encouraging solo rides or rides with members of your household. It’s still on the third Wednesday of National Bike Month (so, May 20) beginning at 7 p.m.

Megan Fasig, who’s coordinating the local ride for the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, said: “I will Facebook Live a welcome and reading of the poem and, in keeping with the National Ride of Silence organization suggestion, we will encourage people to ride independently or in their family groups. We will ask participants to share pictures on the event.”

So if you know someone who been killed or injured while cycling, or if you have been hurt riding along a public road, (virtually) join the Ride this year. It will be no less meaningful for having to respect social distancing.




Changing things up


Speaking of Covid-19 (again, even though we may grow tired of it), with local parks and paths re-opening cyclists and runners have more options for routes again.

That’s good, because I’m sure some of you are getting a little tired of the same old route and routine.

With exercise choices still limited (at least if you like to swim, play tennis or hit the gym), fitness fans who try to exercise almost every day have been left with a meager menu of options – bike or run, walk or work out with whatever you have around the house. If some of those choices aren’t appealing, your options become even more restricted.

Maybe it’s time for a change.

The easiest way to shake thing up a little is to do something different. If you’re only a runner but have access to a bike, take it out for a spin. If cycling is your thing, try taking a walk one day instead. (You could go for a run, of course, but if you’re not used to that it could make for an uncomfortable couple of days while your body adjusts to a new exertion.)

Not only will you get a break from the routine, it’s also good cross-training… which not only can end up making you more fit, it can also lessen the wear-and-tear on your body from doing the same things day in and day out.

If a new sport is not to your liking, then how about a new route?

Most of us typically exercise for a certain amount of time or distance, so it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with a route that’s the right amount, that’s safe or convenient, or is just comfortable.

You can still get all that, but a little planning (or at least map work) can allow you to see some new scenery in the process.

Your start and end point is easy, probably your house or place of work (perhaps one and the same lately). But instead of turning right, turn left for a change and see where that takes you (or map out your options if getting lost is not your idea of a good time).

If you’re a cyclist, use a bike map to see where the lanes and paths are to figure out a couple of ways to go out and back. This might also be a good time to use your bike to run a few errands as well; just remember to bring face covering in case it’s needed.

Runners and walkers, your routes are usually shorter so your options may be likewise less. However, if you’re running the neighborhood, turn down some streets you don’t usually take – or even just run or walk you usual route in reverse. Even the slightest change can make the run or walk more interesting if you’ve been traversing the same tired streets a lot since coronavirus took over everything.

These cooler mornings are not going to last, so you’ll also need to factor in temperature more and more as the days heat up. That means looking for routes with shade, or pushing your exercise earlier or later to get out before the day heats up (or after it starts to cool down).

Ready to ride or run?


Were you planning to join the climbers at the Fight for Air Stair Climb last month? The event has gone virtual, so you can still support the American Lung Association by getting pledges and exercising on your own anytime during May. Post your pictures and videos on social media using #FMVirtualClimb, and find more details at fightforairclimb.org/FortMyers.

Otherwise, group activities for running, riding or triathlons are on hold for the foreseeable future.


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 info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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. 


Monday, May 4, 2020

May 4: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Coronavirus update

Most of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled at this time, but there are other options, as new virtual events are emerging. Check out this recent BikeWalkLee column to find out more.

To check the current status of the regular events go to the event websites, such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people. Now may be a good time to enjoy the outdoors and exercise. Just remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Monday, April 27, 2020

April 27: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Coronavirus update

Most of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled, but there are options, as new virtual events are emerging. Check out this recent BikeWalkLee column to find out more.

To check the current status of the regular events go to the event websites, such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people. You may still enjoy the outdoors to exercise, alone or with a partner. Just remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Virus brings a batch of virtual events

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, April 23, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

Just because you can’t gather in a group doesn’t mean you can’t have a group event. You just have to go virtual.

The good news: It doesn’t involve Zoom. The even better news: You pick the distance, the place and the prize.

As COVID-19 keeps us safer at home, runners (and those going a little stir crazy) have turned to virtual events to provide some motivation to move. There are a number of local options going on right now.
  • The Fort Myers Track Club is offering the Social Distance Challenge beginning April 6 and running through May 15. You get a choice of four distances – 5K, 10K, 15K and a half marathon – or the more robust runners can opt for the Stir Crazy 4 Distance Challenge and tackle all four distances. The cost is $30 for the individual races and $40 for the four-race package, with proceeds going to benefit local businesses hit hard by the coronavirus collapse of the local economy. Sign up by May 8, complete your distance(s) by May 15, post your time and wait for your T-shirt and medal. Details at ftmyerstrackclub.com.
  • The City of Cape Coral has organized the Safer Way Virtual 5K that benefits Lee Health that takes place from April 24 to May 4. Details at www.capecoral.net under Parks & Rec – and they also have a number of other at-home fitness options posted there.
  • Virtualrunchallenge.com has posted a number of Cape Coral-based virtual events -- 2020 Anything is PAW-sible Virtual 5K Run Walk, 2020 CoronaBusters Virtual 19K Run Walk, Remember the Fallen Virtual 21K Run Walk and Ope-RUN-ation Virtual Half Marathon Run Walk. Details at www.eventbrite.com.
  • Gulf Coast Runners have also added virtual events to their race calendar, with details at gcrunner.org/virtual/
Also remember, with virtual events you can join any event anywhere. Gulf Coast Runners found that out with its Wellfit Girls event, which was supposed to be April 11. The group turned it into a virtual event to great success: nearly 350 runners from 35 states and seven countries took part in either the 1-mile run or the 5K.

Fitness and face-covering


In the age of social distancing where face masks are recommended if you can keep your distance, what’s a runner or cyclist to do?

It depends.

If you plan to be in a crowd, be prepared to cover for the sake of others if not yourself. (One recent report suggested that six feet is not sufficient distancing for runners, who might leave a trail of exhaled moisture behind them... although that research has met some resistance from others.)

But if you can keep your distance, a mask might not be wise. First, to be effective it needs to somewhat restrict your breathing – not a great plan during physical exertion. Second, a wet mask (it is warming up, remember) might make matters worse instead of better, making them less good as a filter but much better as an incubator.

Finally, there’s no real proof that running, walking or cycling contribute to coronavirus transmission – as long as you keep your distance… and, if you can’t, cover up.

Isn’t exercise essential?


So golfing and pro wrestling are considered essential activities by the state of Florida… but parks have to be closed?

That makes no sense as a blanket policy.

Yes, places where people congregate need to controlled and physical distance needs to be maintained to control coronavirus.

But there are plenty of parks where people could avoid contact and still get exercise… or just get outside to shake off cabin fever!

Let me offer three local examples: Lakes Park, Caloosahatchee Regional Park and the Ten-Mile Canal (John Yarbrough) Linear Park.

The first two are a mix of activities, trails and pavilions. Obviously, the activities draw crowds (not good) and the pavilions likewise discourage distancing. But why close the miles of trails?

The third example is nothing but a trail, running from Colonial Blvd. to Six Mile Cypress Parkway, a place for cyclists, runners and walkers to keep fit while keeping their distance. (Plus, for cyclists, the park is a safer way to move north and south than riding along U.S. 41 or Metro Parkway.)

That’s not to mention the many smaller community parks that could also be utilized without risk by prudent people exercising caution along with their exercise.

Rather than barricades and barriers, wouldn’t it be better to balance safety and sanity by allowing limited use of the larger facilities… at least until the COVID crisis is on the wane?

Ready to ride or run?


Were you planning to join the climbers at the Fight for Air Stair Climb, or even thinking about it? The event, which was to be held April 25 at Oasis Tower, is morphing into something different. Watch for details at fightforairclimb.org/FortMyers.

Otherwise, group activities for running, riding or triathlons are on hold for the foreseeable future. So go virtual, because your real-world events will have to wait.



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 info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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. 


Monday, April 20, 2020

April 20: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Coronavirus update

Most of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled. To check the current status of events go to the event websites, such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people. You may still enjoy the outdoors to exercise, alone or with a partner. Just remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Monday, April 13, 2020

April 13: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Coronavirus update

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled until further notice. To check the current status go to the event websites, such as Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people. You may still enjoy the outdoors to exercise, alone or with a partner. Just remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance, more when you're exercising, use common sense) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Stay healthy. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Friday, April 10, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Can cycling go viral?

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, April 9, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

The streets of Southwest Florida may be emptier thanks to the coronavirus… but its bike lanes and shared use paths have never been busier.

Let’s hope that people who are now finding biking, walking and running as their exercise of last resort eventually embrace this newfound habit as their first choice for fitness.

What’s driving this new surge? Obviously, closing gyms, pools and other exercise options over COVID-19 concerns has opened up the option of taking to the streets and paths as a way to stay fit. But it’s more than just the desire for health… it’s the desire to get outside and to see other people (at an appropriate distance, of course).

To those who have laced up their shoes or dusted off the bikes in response to the pandemic, welcome. We’re glad you’re getting out and staying fit, and hope you pick up a few new habits that will continue even when the day comes (eventually) when life returns to whatever the new normal ends up being.

But if you’re new to the lanes and paths, we’d like to remind you of a few helpful tips (but not too many… we’re all getting way too many restrictions in our daily lives right now).

Cyclists:

  1. Act like traffic (because you are!): Whether in the bike lane or on a sidewalk, act as much like the other traffic as you can. Bike in the same direction, signal your plans to turn or stop, be predictable.
  2. Be bright to be seen: Whether using bright colors or bright lights (or both), your goal is to stand out to other traffic, not to blend in.
  3. Helmets: Smart for all, but a must for kids (it’s the law).
  4. Bike defensively. Assume the worst and take control of any situation – whether with a motor vehicle, other cyclists or walkers and runner (and kids and dogs).
  5. Avoid distractions or impediments… such as earphones, smart phones, smart watches and other tech. Doing something else while you’re riding means you’re not paying attention to riding – and that’s potentially disastrous.

Walker & runners:

  1. Don’t act like traffic, at least in terms of direction. Walk or run facing traffic, so you can see when someone is not paying attention with enough time to take action.
  2. Be visible… bright colors during the day, bright lights at night.
  3. Share the path or lane. Particularly with more people out and about, don’t insist on walking three abreast and pushing other users into the roadway.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings, in terms of other people, vehicles, threats to safety, etc. For example, this is not the time for the noise-cancelling headphones that cut off a vital sense, but for earphones you can hear through
  5. Take care of your feet, because whether walking or running you want your feet to take care of you.

Everyone:

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Protect your skin with sunscreen.
  3. Dress appropriately for the temperature.
  4. Make it a family activity if possible.
  5. Have fun!

 

County park closures expanded


More people may be out walking, running or biking, but they’ll a little less space in which to do it.

With the official “Safer at Home” executive order kicking in April 3, Lee county expanded its park closures to include county parks that had still been open to (and popular with) walkers, runners and cyclists. This includes the Ten Mile Canal Linear Park and the bike path that runs from Colonial Blvd. to Six Mile Cypress Parkway, as well as Lakes Park, a popular bike/walk connection between Summerlin Road and Gladiolus Drive.

So if you were used to using those paths as part of your walk or ride, you’ll need to find another route.

 

Ready to ride or run?


Alas, group activities for running, riding or triathlons are on hold for the foreseeable future. So unless you’re into virtual races, your real-world events will have to wait.





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 info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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. 


Monday, April 6, 2020

April 6: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Coronavirus update

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all of the near-term upcoming events are still postponed or cancelled until further notice. To name a few, this concerns all races and rides of Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Protect yourself and others by avoiding group activities and close proximity to other people. You may still enjoy the outdoors to exercise, alone or with a partner. Just remember to practice social distancing (at least 6' distance) to keep yourself and others safe. If you feel sick, consider wearing a face mask or staying home. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.

Monday, March 30, 2020

March 30: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Coronavirus update

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, all of the listed events are still postponed or cancelled at this time. This is the case for all races and rides of Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Protect yourself and others by avoiding gatherings and close proximity to other people. You may still enjoy the outdoors to exercise alone or with a partner. Just remember to practice social distancing to keep yourself and others safe. Check the relevant websites before going to any event. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov for more information.


Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Monday, March 30: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Tuesday, March 31: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, April 5: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit meetup.com/Biking-SWFL for details.
  • Sunday, April 5: Tour de Femme Florida, rides of 14, 35 and 63 miles, starting from the Venice train station in Venice (caloosariders.org)
  • Wednesday, May 20: Ride of Silence, to honor those injured or killed while cycling. Leaves at 7 p.m. from Southwest Florida Military Museum, Cape Coral.
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). On Sanibel, you’ll find the Sanibel Bicycle club at http://sbcsite.altervista.org. For Collier cycling, visit naplesvelo.com; for Charlotte biking, see peacerivrridersbicycleclub.com.

Triathlons:
  • Sunday, April 26: St. Anthony’s Triathlon, sprint and Olympic distances, St. Petersburg (satriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, May 30: Sarasota Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, Siesta Key (trisarasota.com).
  • Sunday, June 7: Naples Fitness Challenge reverse triathlon, Naples (thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, June 13: Heartland Triathlon, sprint and Olympic triathlon, duathlon and Aqua Bike, Sebring (runsignup.com)
  • Check trifind.com and active.com to find more regional and state tris.





  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

BikeWalkLee: A really good time to run or ride

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, March 26, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

Is this a good time to go for a walk, run or ride? Actually, it’s probably one of the best times to do that.

Just don’t do it with a group, or at least a group of more than 10 people… CDC’s orders!

COVID-19 is nothing to take lightly, and the social distancing and closures of both places and activities are reasonable responses to a worsening situation. But the dual specters of viral contagion and financial collapse have ratcheted up the stress for almost everyone with enough sense to realize just how bad it could get.

So, when you need some stress relief, exercise is a great outlet (and it’s good for your immune system, too). But the parks and pools, beaches and gyms have also been shuttered.

So it’s a good time to go for a walk, a run or a ride.

If you’ve been out since the social distancing began, you probably have noticed more people walking, running and riding – even with the early departure of some winter residents. I’ve also noticed more families walking or riding together, which is both understandable and gratifying.

Why does taking to the streets, sidewalks and pike paths make more sense right now?

It’s safe, with appropriate actions of course. Keep numbers down and keep your distance, but keep up the conversation and camaraderie… it’s a good way to be social and socially distant at the same time.

It takes very little in equipment to be ready to go, probably things you already have – which is a plus in these economically uncertain times (and when shopping is discouraged).

It’s de-stressing, at a time when we need all the stress relief we can find. It’s a way to be more engaged with your neighbors and community, without engaging in potentially unhealthy behavior.

And it’s something you can do when everything else is closed, on your own schedule and with family – particularly family who’ve been cooped up together much more than they are used to being.

In fact, in these times of disrupted schedules, it’s a good time to establish a few new habits… like going for a walk, run or ride during the time you used to drive to work or drive the kids to school. Given the way things are shaping up, start today and you’ll have enough time to build a new habit – a little silver lining in a world full of clouds.

From viral to virtual


If you’re a fan of organized events, this is not a happy time for you. Thanks to COVID-19, the local running and riding calendar has been wiped clean for the next few weeks (at least), as race organizers abide by the government requests to eliminate group activity.

If you already signed up for a cancelled race, check with the organizers on your options to defer, donate or refund your fees. Since a lot of these events may be fund-raisers for local charities, if you can afford to donate please do – because the fund-raising prospects for local nonprofits is otherwise pretty bleak right now.

And if you really need a race to motivate you, maybe it’s time to go virtual.

What’s that? You do the distance and get the bling… but no crowds, no parking problems and no lines at the Porta-Potties (and no Porta-Potties!).

It’s easy: Google your way to a virtual race that looks interesting, sign up for the distance you want, pay your entry fee, run (or walk) your race and submit your results.

You can still race to benefit charities and to earn some fancy medals. But mostly it’s a way for runners who need a goal to put a virtual finish line out there to get them moving.

It may not be for everyone, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Ready to ride or run?


Sorry, you’re on your own at least through mid-April. Every local race or ride organizer has put events on hold pending the next phase of the coronavirus calamity. Check back with the various websites (or this space in two weeks) to see if anything changes.


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 info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Landscaping transforms Alliance for the Arts

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, March 25, 2020
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com


Looking south toward Royal Palm Square Boulevard at the Alliance for the Arts.


What was always an active and aesthetically appealing corner property but lacking an important feature is finally becoming the complete package. Appropriately located along McGregor Boulevard at Alliance for the Arts, a sidewalk and landscaping project is transforming what would otherwise be common 5-feet wide ribbons of concrete into a functional and beautiful piece of outdoor art.

While this project may not be the only example of infrastructure as public art — nearby and adjacent to the Midpoint Bridge overpass is a military display built into the infrastructure that’s also quite inviting — it has special significance for me. The reason I’m so pleased to see the Alliance project is as much about the basic sidewalk as the creativity that makes it special.

From the beginning of my involvement in bike/pedestrian advocacy many decades ago, the two missing pieces of infrastructure that were most important to me were Gladiolus Drive around Lakes Park, and McGregor Boulevard. Gladiolus has had a pathway on one side between Summerlin and U.S. 41 since it was widened well over a decade ago but there remained this one last section of McGregor lacking a sidepath in front of the Alliance until very recently.


The view looking north along McGregor at the Alliance for the Arts.


I used to live on the corner of Gladiolus and what was then the southern terminus of Summerlin. My concern began as self-serving because I had just jumped headfirst into the running craze and was looking for places to run, especially from my front door. Summerlin had a pathway but there was no shade (which is still the case). The newly opened Lakes Park was a perfect place and less than a mile away but getting to the entrance was almost impossible because the only (official) access point at that time was on Gladiolus. It was then a treacherous two-lane road with no side path, or even shoulders, and a killer curve to boot. That particular situation led me into the local bike/pedestrian advocacy world. Eventually the county widened all of Gladiolus and included bike/ped accommodations. Lakes Park added what was intended to be a temporary non-motorized access along Summerlin while road construction was taking place but that has since become a very popular permanent access for pedestrians and cyclists. No such luck in getting the sidepath on McGregor at the corner of Colonial, even as roadway improvements took place more than once around Alliance for the Arts.

Dan Moser is a long-time bicycle/pedestrian
advocate and traffic safety professional
who cycles, runs and walks regularly for
transportation, recreation and  fitness.
Contact him at bikepedmoser@gmail.com
and 239-334-6417.
The Alliance property was previously the Schultz Farm and the area was originally known as Toad Town. The Schultz farmhouse and property was donated to Lee County in 1976 for use as a cultural center. Over the years the open space on the corner of McGregor and Royal Palm Square has been the site of many field sports, concerts, festivals, summer camps and other activities. A permanent open air stage gets regular use and the very property is home to the weekly GreenMarket. A couple of large sculptures have graced the area for some time and they are now integrated into the landscape project.



To learn about this topic and more, visit bikewalklee.blogspot.com and www.streetsaliveswfl.org


For Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.

Monday, March 23, 2020

March 23: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Coronavirus update

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, all of the listed events are postponed or cancelled. This is the case for all races and rides of Fort Myers Track Club (ftmyerstrackclub.com), Gulf Coast Runners (gcrunner.org), Caloosa Riders (caloosariders.org), and South West Florida Critical Mass (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

In accordance with the guidelines of Florida Department of Health, avoid large gatherings and close proximity to other people to help prevent spread of the virus. You may still enjoy the outdoors to exercise alone or with a partner. Just remember to practice social distancing to keep yourself and others safe. Check the relevant websites before going to any event. Visit floridahealthcovid19.gov for more information.


Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Monday, March 23: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Tuesday, March 24: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, March 27: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Saturday, March 28: Pan Florida Challenge, distances of 10, 30, 62, 100 and 200 miles (this one is a two-day ride). All start and end at Florida Gulf Coast University. (panfloridachallenge.org)
  • Saturday, March 28: Saturday Morning Slow Roll, meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Sunday, March 29: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit meetup.com/Biking-SWFL for details.
  • Friday, April 3: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow night ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the parking lot at 2180 West First Street. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Sunday, April 5: Tour de Femme Florida, rides of 14, 35 and 63 miles, starting from the Venice train station in Venice (caloosariders.org)
  • Wednesday, May 20: Ride of Silence, to honor those injured or killed while cycling. Leaves at 7 p.m. from Southwest Florida Military Museum, Cape Coral.
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). On Sanibel, you’ll find the Sanibel Bicycle club at http://sbcsite.altervista.org. For Collier cycling, visit naplesvelo.com; for Charlotte biking, see peacerivrridersbicycleclub.com.

Triathlons:
  • Saturday, March 28: Escape from Fort Desoto Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, plus Aqua Bike (thunderboltmultisport.com)
  • Sunday, April 26: St. Anthony’s Triathlon, sprint and Olympic distances, St. Petersburg (satriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, May 30: Sarasota Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, Siesta Key (trisarasota.com).
  • Sunday, June 7: Naples Fitness Challenge reverse triathlon, Naples (thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, June 13: Heartland Triathlon, sprint and Olympic triathlon, duathlon and Aqua Bike, Sebring (runsignup.com)
  • Check trifind.com and active.com to find more regional and state tris.