BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, July 29, 2021
by Ken Gooderham
If you ride or run regularly in this region, you’re bound to get caught in the rain. So what should you do when the skies open up?
First, try to avoid being caught outside when the rains roll in, if that’s feasible. The usual rain routine is for mid- and late-afternoon showers, so if you get your ride or run in early (when it’s cooler to boot), you can dramatically lessen your chances of getting drenched.
However, some days that doesn’t work out – and some days rain can erupt at any hour without warning. Then what?
Whether you ride or run, the first rule should be to take cover if it’s a strong storm – especially a thunderstorm replete with lightning. Don’t be the tallest thing around (or be next to the tallest thing around) when lightning bolts start blasting. Instead, find somewhere that’s dry and grounded, and wait out the storm.
Second, get out of traffic if you’re running or riding anywhere next motor vehicles. You’re less visible to drivers (and other riders or runners), putting you at greater risk. Wet roadways (especially road markings) become slippery fast, a danger both to you as you try to move forward and to you as motor vehicles have their own traction troubles. And flooded roads hide a multitude of problems that can imperil you… as well as being a great way to get soaked when vehicles plow through puddles and throw up a considerable wake.
Cyclists, getting caught in a storm may be a good lesson on why you want to have lights front and back (visibility), good tires (traction on wet pavement) and fenders or rain guards (at least on the back tire). If you rely on your bike for transportation whatever the weather, consider adding some rain-specific gear to stay dry – or (to do it on the cheap) at least some plastic bags (for your feet and hands) and at oversized shower cap (for your helmet).
Rain is also the time when you realize exactly why wearing quick-dry fabrics is such a good idea, wicking away moisture and drying out fast once the rains end. However, even the best fabrics fail in a deluge, and if you’ve ever run or ridden in rain-soaked clothes, you know how uncomfortable that can get – fast. (It’s also why you want to wear something bright , to boost visibility during the deluge.)
It’s not feasible for a run (at least when it’s hot), but for many summer rides where the weather looked wonky I’ve thrown a packable water-resistant jacket on the back of the bike to ward off water. They won’t keep you perfectly dry (although you can get jackets that will, if you can live with the bulkiness), but they will make a wet ride more bearable and cut down on chafing, etc. However, you will want to wear said jacket as little as possible, since another layer of clothing (non-breathable, no less) may end up making you as moist as the rain will due to prolific perspiration.
OK, your run or ride is over and you’ve squished your way back home. Now what?
Runners: Get out of your wet gear and into something dry (particularly if the A/C is on), then hang everything up to dry before it goes into the laundry hamper. Many folks stuff newspapers in their running shows to expedite drying if you wish, but don’t use heat – clothes dryers, ovens, etc. – to speed up drying unless you really don’t care if you ever wear those shoes again.
Riders: You should be doing everything that runners do in terms of clothing, etc., so you can then turn your attention to making your ride ready for the next adventure.
Needless to say that water is not a bike’s friend… so you’ll want to wipe everything down, or rinse it off and then wipe it down (easier to remove grime when it’s wet). In particular, wipe down and lubricate your chain (using the appropriate chain-friendly materials) and spray crucial metal parts – pedals, brake linkage, derailleurs, etc. – with something that will drive out moisture as it lubricates. (The ubiquitous WD-40 spray is not usually recommended as it is a solvent more than a lubricant… good for getting things unstuck, not so much for preventing friction).
Take these steps immediately (or as close to that as possible), both to beat back rust and rot, and to have your bike ready for the next time.
Summertime has shut down most local running and biking events, with Labor Day (maybe) the next opportunity for an organized event.
FORT MYERS TRACK CLUB (ftmyerstrackclub.com):
- Cops & Joggers 5K, Saturday, Oct. 9, 7:45 p.m., downtown Fort Myers
- 10K Race for F.I.S.H., Saturday, Oct. 23, Sanibel Island. In-person and virtual.
GC RUNNERS (gcrunner.org):
- Friends of Foster Children Forever Labor Day 5K, Monday, Sept. 6, 7:30 a.m. Lowdermilk Park, Naples and virtual.
- 2021 GCR Thanksgiving 5K, Thursday, Nov. 25, 7:30 a.m. Cambier Park, Naples and virtual.
ELITE EVENTS (runeliteevents.com):
- Venice Half Marathon & 5K, Saturday, Oct. 9, 6:30 a.m., Maxine Barritt Park, Venice.
- Naples Rocktoberfest 10K & 5K, October (date TBD), North Collier Regional Park, Naples.
- Fort Myers City of Palms Half Marathon & 5K, date TBD, FGCU.
- Naples Distance Classic Half Marathon, 18K & 5K, date TBD, Eagle Lakes Park, Naples.
Day 5K (two races), Thursday, Oct. 25, Hertz Arena in Estero and The
Village Shops on Venetian Bay, Naples. 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.
- Run 3 for Joey D 5K, Saturday, Sept. 18, North Collier Regional Park (active.com).
- Average Joe 5K Run (where the person who finishes in the middle wins, along with overall and age group winners), Saturday, Oct. 9, North Collier Regional Park (active.com).
- LRC Hams & Gams 5K Turkey Trot, Saturday Nov. 13, Hendry Complex, LaBelle (active.com)
- Publix Run to the Arts 5K run/walk, Nov. 20, 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. Check out their line-up online (www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/) for details and times (and to make sure the ride is still rolling).
- 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 Saturday 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.
- Top Gun Triathlon, July 17, St. Petersburg
- Siesta Sprint Triathlon, Aug. 1, Siesta Key
- Fort Desoto Triathlon, Aug. 14, Fort Desoto (St. Petersburg), sprint and Olympic
- Fort Desoto Triathlon, Sept. 11, Fort Desoto (St. Petersburg), sprint and Olympic
- St. Anthony’s Triathlon (St. Petersburg) rescheduled to Oct. 1-3, 2021
- City Island Triathlon, Oct. 10, Sarasota