BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, November 5, 2020
by Ken Gooderham
Last weekend’s first caress of cooler weather may inspire you to dig out the running shoes or dust off the bike. But before you hit the trails, be sure to run through the checklist of maintenance reminders to be certain your equipment is as ready to go as your intentions.
Actually, this isn’t a bad idea for everyone to consider, whether it’s your first time out this year (or ever) or if you’ve been riding and running all through the steamy summer. Either way, taking a look at your equipment’s condition on a regular basis is prudent and a smart way to keep moving (vs. being stranded out in the middle of nowhere… or worse).
In looking this over, let’s break it into three segments:
- The equipment – the stuff you ride or run on.
- The attire – the stuff you wear when you ride or run.
- The engine – you.
Depending on your activity, the focus may shift… more attention is paid to equipment if you cycle, to attire if you run, and about the same engine-wise (although the demands of each activity changes what you should focus on physically).
The equipment maintenance for cycling is long, and each part is crucial in its own way. Some things (tire pressure and chain lube) you may want to do every week, while others can safely stretch out to once a season.
Running through the major parts:
- Tires: Check air pressure weekly, look at tread and sidewalls every few months. If they’re getting threadbare or looking dried out, replace them… and replace the tubes when you change tires, at least for peace of mind (and especially if you like long remote rides).
- Chains: Lube weekly, clean regularly (how regularly may depend on your riding conditions). Adjust tension as needed (or when the chain jumps under duress).
- Cassette: The sprockets on your rear wheel, which will be lubed when you do the chain. Be sure to clean them when you degrease the chain, and watch for worn cogs (which can necessitate replacement).
- Brakes: A two-part effort… check pads for wear and alignment, check cables for tension and wear. If you are the rare person with disc brakes, learn how to clean them.
- Nuts and bolts: If it rattles, fix it. If it squeaks, lube it. If it’s loose, tighten it.
- Miscellany: Once a year, look at your pedals (and lube them), seat (and check adjustments) and handlebars (same) to see how they are holding up. If you use head- or tail lights, make sure they still hold a charge or haven’t lost their illumination.
- Spares: If you carry a spare tube, swap it out every year or so before it loses its elasticity. If you carry tools, make sure they’re in working order – and the same with tire inflators. And if you decide to ride more (or just want to learn new skills), check with your bike store to see if they offer classes on bike repair. This is especially valuable if you decide to up your mileage, as you will want to become more self-reliant – especially if you ride places where someone can’t easily come pick you up.
Running equipment is essentially running attire, which means looking at your run gear (especially shoes) to see how it’s holding up, replacing it if it’s worn, and looking at what else you might need – such as lights if you run at dusk or dawn, jackets and hats if it’s getting cooler, even new earphones if you just can’t run without your tunes.
Shoes are the most crucial, because they protect your feet, joints and legs from undue wear-and-tear. In fact, a sure sign that shoes are wearing out (aside from the visual clues) often is a rise in aches and pains post-run. When in doubt, move them out and start on a new pair.
Cycling attire is also driven by wear and want – and, sometimes, by changes in your ride routines, such as longer rides making the case for better bike shorts or a more streamlined kit. The ability to layer become more essential as temperature drop, and you may even want to consider warmer attire and full-finger gloves if the winter winds chill your SW Florida-adjusted body.
Also crucial: If you wear a helmet (and you should), check the date inside – it’s should be on one of the numerous stickers there (and if the date is worn off, that may be an indicator it’s time). Bike safety experts recommend replacing helmets every 5-10 years – and immediately if you have a crash where the helmet does its job and takes the impact (so your head doesn’t).
As far as getting you ready to run or ride, that’s a discussion for another day (and hopefully involved a medical professional). Suffice it to say that the lightest bike or the best shoes can’t overcome your body’s ability (and capacity) to move… and any pre-season routine that doesn’t include a physical once-over might doom you to frustration, injury… or worse.
Here’s what is scheduled for organized running and biking events locally… but confirm with the organizers and be flexible in case conditions change and large-group activities are limited. Of course, wear a mask and act appropriate to your age, condition and concerns.
FORT MYERS TRACK CLUB (ftmyerstrackclub.com):
- Midpoint Madness Veteran’s Day 5K, Sept. 28 – Nov. 14 (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)
- Strides for Education 5K, Feb. 6, 2021 (in-person and virtual)
GC RUNNERS (gcrunner.org):
- 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):
- 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
- Sarasota West Coast Half Marathon and 5K, Sunday, Dec. 20
- Venice Half Marathon and 5K, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021
- City of Palms Half Marathon and 5K, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021
- Paradise Coast Half Marathon and 5K, Saturday, March 27, 2021
- FGCU 10th-Annual Gobbler 5K, up to Nov. 26 (virtual) – runsignup.com or runtothearts.com
- Publix Run to the Arts 5K run/walk – in person on Feb. 7, 2021, or virtual Jan. 30-Feb. 7
- Hungry Harry’s 100, Sunday, Nov. 8: Ride 100 miles along the island from Captiva to Bonita Beach to benefit the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Starts and ends at the Bike Bistro, details at caloosariders.org.
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 hand would
certainly be welcomed.