BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, December 31, 2020
by Ken Gooderham
One of those was seeing more people getting back on their bikes, or digging out their running shoes, as a means to exercise, stay fit and fend off the pandemic blues.
Biking, running or walking provided an outlet when other forms of fitness were closed down, as well as a readily accessible and medically prudent approach to putting some movement back into our days in the face of lockdowns, social distancing and all the other fun things we got to experience this year.
Even as restrictions eased (although the coronavirus did not), plenty of us stuck with our outdoor exercise options, not quite ready to head back inside to the gym and still awaiting the return of group events (which are still a ways off, I fear).
Plus, having something you can do on your schedule and just by stepping outside your door has a lot going for it – even in normal times, which these assuredly are not.
That’s why, as we welcome 2021 as a time of hope and change (or at least not more despair and drear), you should remember that it’s never too late to adopt a good habit such as biking, walking and running – pandemic or not.
They are something you can do every day (to build a routine), that you can start doing regardless of the level of fitness you are (to make them accessible), that can be undertaken with a minimum investment of both stuff and time (to fit your schedule and budget) and that can be varied and changed around at will (to keep it interesting).
And this time of year, the weather is cooperating to make it harder to break a sweat… unlike summertime, when the mere act of stepping outside can leave you drenched and defeated.
So if you’re looking for a new routine in the new year, consider biking or walking (or running if you’re up to it). There are all kinds of routines and encouragements out there to help you get started, and it won’t take long to make a ride or walk part of your daily routine.
And if the pandemic has already accomplished that, congratulations! Let’s hope you’ll stay with your new habits even when the vaccines do their work, the herd becomes immune and life starts straggling back to normalcy.
Here’s the latest in 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 medical concerns.
FORT MYERS TRACK CLUB (ftmyerstrackclub.com):
- Kiwanis Fort Myers Metro-McGregor BUG Chase Virtual 5K, Dec. 24-Jan. 23 (virtual)
- Strides for Education 5K, Feb. 6, 2021 (in-person and virtual)
GC RUNNERS (gcrunner.org):
- Naples Daily News Half Marathon, Saturday, Jan. 17 (in-person & virtual)
ELITE EVENTS (runeliteevents.com):
- 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
- Publix Run to the Arts 5K run/walk – in person on Feb. 7, 2021, or virtual Jan. 30-Feb. 7 runsignup.com or runtothearts.com
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 (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.
- NE Lee Critical Mass ride, third Friday of the month. Gather in the Winn Dixie parking lot on Palm Beach Blvd. about five miles east of the Interstate; gather at 7 p.m. and roll at 7:30 p.m. for a slow ride through Fort Myers Shores.
- 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 confining some of the usual volunteers, a few new
helping hand would certainly be welcomed.