Thursday, September 24, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Racing returns, with restrictions

 BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, September 24, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

Are you ready for some racing? Well, you finally might just get that chance.

As the traditional fall racing season approaches, local running clubs are working to fill their calendars with events – some virtual, some in person, and some both.

The in-person events won’t look like the races you may remember. Expect limits on total numbers of racers (and spectators), mask requirements (except when racing), staggered starts to encourage social distancing on the course, limits on water stations during the race and activities after it.

The virtual events will have a time span during which you participate and submit results, software or app requirements to capture and post your time, and possibly other criteria and concerns.

For either type of event, you’ll want to check out the organizers’ website for information and restrictions… and, of course, plan to be flexible in case conditions change and further medical requirements are imposed by local or state officials.

Nevertheless, for those who love to race (or who want to try out their newfound lockdown fitness), it’s a welcome return to a measure of normalcy. Here are some upcoming options from now to the new year:

FORT MYERS TRACK CLUB (ftmyerstrackclub.com):

  • Cops & Joggers Virtual 5K, July 10-Oct. 10 (virtual)
  • Sanibel Island 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H., Aug. 18-Oct. 31 (virtual)
  • Cape Coral Turkey Trot 5K, Sept. 17-Nov. 26 (virtual)
  • City of Palms River Run 10K, Sept. 17-Dec. 5 (virtual)
  • Lazy Flamingo Half Marathon & 2-Person Relay, Sept. 17-Dec. 20 (virtual)

GC RUNNERS (gcrunner.org):

  • Snip Collier 5K, Saturday, Oct. 3 (in-person event is full, virtual event still open)
  • Gulf to Gulf 80 Mile Relay, Saturday, Oct. 17 (in-person)
  • Halloween Monster 5K (Naples), Saturday, Oct. 31 (virtual)
  • Old Naples 10K, Saturday, Nov. 7 (in-person & virtual)
  • GCR Thanksgiving 5K, Thursday, Nov. 26 (in-person & virtual)
  • Naples Daily News Half Marathon, Saturday, Jan. 17 (in-person & virtual)

ELITE EVENTS (runeliteevents.com):

  • Rocktoberfest 10K and 5K, Naples, Saturday, Oct. 10
  • Fall Classic Half Marathon and 5K, Naples, Saturday, Nov. 21
  • Thanksgiving Day 5K Run and Walk, Estero, Thursday, Nov. 26
  • Naples Christmas Glow Run 5K, Saturday, Dec. 5
  • Naples Distance Classic 5K, 10K and Half Marathon, Sunday, Dec. 6

OTHER RUNS:

  • 2020 LCEC Goblin Gallop 5K, Oct. 31, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (in-person) (active.com)
  • Run for Foster Kids, Oct. 1-31 (virtual) (runsignup.com)

Cyclists looking for organized events are still limited in their choices… no surprise, since even in non-Covid times the local ride calendars were pretty sparse.

The Caloosa Riders are offering member rides, but some are open to non-members (and it wouldn’t hurt you to join the club); check their ride calendar (caloosariders.org) for a description of the distance and speed, and to see if the ride is open to all.

SW Florida Critical Mass is offering their usual slate of family-friendly rides, although the NE Lee ride seems to be lacking a leader and thus is not on the calendar. The options are below, and you can check out their line-up online (http://www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/) for details and times.

  • SW Florida Critical Mass ride, first Friday of the month. A family-friendly slow night ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Helmet and lights required, meet in the parking lot at 2180 West First Street, Fort Myers.
  • Sanibel Critical Mass night ride, second Tuesday of the month. Gathers at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended.
  • Cape Coral Critical Mass ride, fourth Friday of the month. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape; helmets and lights required.
  • Saturday Morning Slow Roll, fourth Saturday of the month. Meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction.

If racing is not your thing but you’d like to support their return nonetheless, consider volunteering to help out at the few in-person offerings ahead. With Covid concerns still corralling some of the club’s usual volunteers, a few new helping hands would certainly be welcomed.


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, September 21, 2020

September 21: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Fall is upon us, but it looks like the Coronavirus will be around for a little longer, with only a limited number of virtual events in the race calendars for the time being. Check the websites mentioned below for updates.

For the latest news 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, September 14, 2020

September 14: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

 Upcoming events

Most events are still 'virtual' for the time being. Check the websites mentioned below for updates. Be prepared to sign up, but also be prepared to deal with postponements if the rules on gatherings don’t change. Meanwhile, last week's BikeWalkLee blog has good advice for all runners and cyclists out on the roads.

For the latest news 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, September 10, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Mindfulness in motion

BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, September 10, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

Mindfulness is an overused term these days, but it’s still a great way to describe the smart way to approach movement – whether cycling, walking or driving a vehicle.

Being present, being aware and being engaged is also being safe, at least when it comes to motion.

Too many cyclists, walkers and (especially) drivers work hard at being as mindless as possible. By that I mean being distracted, doing too many things at the same or letting emotions take over the wheel (or the handlebars). That’s a recipe for ruin.

What would mindfulness in motion look like?

For cyclists, it would be losing the headphones or the phone and paying attention to the world around you. It would mean watching out for potential problems – cars turning into your space, pedestrians on the path ahead, path conditions that might be unsafe, etc. And it would mean taking control of any threatening situation by taking steps to reduce or avoid the danger... not relying on outside forces or fates to keep you safe. 

As an example, mindful cycling would be aware of all the surrounding activities that might impact you as a cyclist… from the cars at the intersection ahead waiting their turn to turn, to the walkers ahead on the bike path who are more engaged in conversation than they are in walking a straight line, to the debris on the shoulder where you’re riding that might force you into the traffic lane or that might be masking a sloppy surface for cycling.

For walkers and runners, it also means either losing the headphones or, at least, turning the volume down enough that you can also hear what’s going on around you. It means watching where you are in relation to others (especially vehicles) and proceeding in a way that’s predictable and protective. And it would mean being visible, being predictable and being careful. 

For example, moving mindfully on foot would use all your senses (not just vision) to know what’s going on around you, especially to be certain the other (bigger and faster) things in motion around you are as aware of your presence as you are of theirs. It would mean being careful and consistent, looking both ways rather than just darting into traffic, adjusting for those around you who are moving faster or slower, and looking at the path ahead for hazards and hindrances.

Finally, for drivers first and foremost it would mean doing nothing else when you drive… no phone, no texting, no personal grooming or feeding, just keeping your eyes and attention on the road and what’s around you. It would mean acting rather than reacting, recognizing that as the biggest thing on the road you similarly carry the biggest responsibility for the safety of all. And it would mean leaving your ego and emotions back in the garage when you head out to drive, so that you’re driving with your head more than your heart. 

So no distractions, no road rage, and no assumptions that the walker, biker or vehicle up ahead will act in a responsible and predictable fashion. It means being a little patient, a little forgiving and a little cautious any time you’re behind the wheel. And it means treating the cyclists and pedestrians you encounter the same way you’d like to be treated if the roles were reversed… as they inevitably will be. 

Now, I understand that one of the attractions of walking, running and biking is to be able to let the mind wander, to enjoy the repetitive routine of motion as a way to shake stress, unleash your creativity or just reboot after a busy day. Being eternally mindful would take that luxury away, you say. 

That’s why mindfulness really matters when you’re sharing space with others in motion, as all the example above makes clear. If it’s just you on the path , lane or road, you can zone out for a minute and let the muscle memory take over while you enjoy the rare opportunity to just walk or run, ride or drive. 

But when there are others nearby, you need to pay attention – and you need to hope they’re paying attention as well. That’s how everyone gets home safe and sound, to bike, walk and drive another day.

Ready to ride or run?


While there are some October events tentatively sticking their noses out on some race schedules, still mostly virtual offerings are all that’s to be found. Unfortunately, until large-group activities are medically prudent, most events – especially running events, where social distancing is almost impossible to achieve – will be on hold. 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, September 7, 2020

September 7: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

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.


For the latest news 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).