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

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


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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