BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, December 3, 2020
by Ken Gooderham
If this was a race, coronavirus would be way out in front… and we have a long way to go to the finish line.
The good news? Vaccines are getting closer to reality. The bad news? Getting enough people vaccinated to turn the corner on this thing is a massive task that will take months of work and coordination.
The good news? We have a handle on what it takes to keep Covid at bay until the vaccines arrive. The bad news? A lot of people don’t want to do what it takes to keep us safe… yet.
The good news? We live in a place where getting and staying outside is way easier than elsewhere in the country. The bad news? Well, for a change, there really isn’t any.
Yes, if you’re a fan of organized biking, running or walking events, you’re still going to be more virtual than in-person. But if you just want to get outside and move, there are plenty of opportunities and options available to you.
You can grab your bike and go for a ride, pedaling as far and as fast as your legs can take you. Whether a novice or an old pro, there are plenty of places to go where you can ride within your comfort level (or maybe just a little outside of it), and usually enough choices of routes and sights to keep it interesting.
You can put on your running shoes and hit the streets… and it’s even getting comfortable enough to do so in the middle of the day, if that’s your preference. Whether you want to run 5K, five miles or until your legs give out, this is the time of year to do it. (It’s also a good time of year to try out running if you’ve avoided it so far, since the heat and humidity won’t be the obstacle they usually are in subtropical SWF.)
And, of course, you can just go for a walk… not that there’s anything “just” about it. It’s good exercise for anyone whatever your age or ability, and it’s takes nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other.
The best part in this Covid-crazed times? You can do all of the above outside and with other people (while keeping your social distance and masking as needed). It might be one of the few things that hasn’t really had to change with the rise of coronavirus, as even group riding, running or walking never required close contact with your fellow exercisers (particularly in our hotter months, when closeness often was something to be avoided).
We’re all tired of the changes this pandemic has wrought on our lives… even those changes that help keep us healthy and safe. But we’re starting to see the first glimmers of light at the end of this long tunnel, and this is not the time to let pandemic fatigue and the virus itself win. Instead, it’s the time to be patient a little longer and let science and common sense win out in the end.
The good news is hope and help is on the way. The better news is that, until it arrives, we have something we can do to keep us sane and safe: Grab your gear, get outside and go for a ride, run or walk.
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):
- 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):
- Naples Daily News Half Marathon, Saturday, Jan. 17 (in-person & virtual)
ELITE EVENTS (runeliteevents.com):
- 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
- 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 (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.