BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, February 24, 2022
by Ken Gooderham
|A golf cart. Image: wikimedia|
Lyman Beecher of Clearwater, FL, is often credited with inventing a rudimentary type of golf cart… actually, more like a rickshaw, in its first iteration in the 1930s, and barely able to complete 18 holes once electric power (in the form of six car batteries) was included.
So now you know who to blame.
Today, of course, golf carts proliferate, having escaped from the golf courses and now found in many communities as a basic mode of transportation.
To all those golf cart aficionados, I ask: Would you consider parking the cart and using a bike instead?
Embrace the original intent of the cart – as a way for elderly or infirm golfers to still navigate the course once walking became too challenging – and hang up those cart keys (at least for some trips) in favor of some two-wheeled transportation.
There’s a lot to recommend biking over carting:
- Bikes are more environmentally friendly. You may rationalize that using a cart keeps your car in the garage… but you’re still using gas or electric to run the thing, so energy is being consumed. Contrast that to a bike, where the only energy being used is generated by you!
- Bikes are easier (and more efficient) to park. Even if cart drivers park two to a parking space (which is rare), they still take up space – space where you could probably fit 4-5 bikes. Think about that the next time you’re cruising a parking lot looking for a place to park your cart.
- Bikes are cheaper… cheaper to buy (costing hundreds rather than thousands), cheaper to maintain (and easier, too), and cheaper to operate (using energy you create rather than energy you buy).
- Bikes are safer (usually). Carts are notorious for their lack of safety features (or for use of them if provided)… not a good idea in a vehicle that can go faster and that’s easier to fall out of (or be ejected from). Bikes have their own dangers, but lower speeds and a helmet still make them the safer choice.
- Bikes can go more places legally. Bikes are allowed on bike paths, sidewalks, shared-use paths and public roads… all places carts aren’t allowed (even though people drive them there anyway). Public roads are a big thing… carts can use them ONLY if local government okays it (and sets rules around their use), while bikes can come and go (almost) as they please.
- Bikes are more accessible. You can ride one, your kid can ride one (with a helmet), almost anyone can ride one (once the whole balance thing gets worked out). Carts, however, have age or license limits (for good reason)… so your kids can’t drive them (even though there are a lot of adults who haven’t gotten that message).
- Bikes are good for your body. Carts, frankly, are not.
Even though golf carts seem to be becoming an integral part of the snowbird lifestyle, I’d still make the case that biking is the better choice.
It’s better for your health (thanks to the movement), a boost for your social life (thanks to the slow speeds), and a simpler way to get around. And a bike will never run out of gas at the worst possible moment… although flat tires have been know to pose a problem at times.
So the next time you’re headed to the pool, the store or the folks down the road, leave the cart at home… and use your bike instead.
Able SUP update on tap
Interested in plans for a shared-use path (SUP) along Able Canal in Lehigh Acres? Mark your calendar for Wednesday, March 2, 5-7 p.m., when officials will discuss plans for the six-mile pathway running from Harns Marsh to Joel Boulevard.
The community meeting will be held at Veterans Park Recreation Center, 55 Homestead Road South in Lehigh Acres. You’re invited to drop by anytime during the two-hour event to ask questions or make comments.
The planned 12-foot-wide path will tie together a number of public facilities as it provides a range of recreational options for users. Funding will come from state and county coffers.
Still a few opportunities to take advantage of our cooler weather and get in a race or two before the temps start to rise… with some longer distance events on the calendar as well. Cyclists: The Royal Palm Challenge is approaching, and March is typically excellent biking weather.
FORT MYERS TRACK CLUB (ftmyerstrackclub.com):
- Hooters River Roots & Ruts 10 Mile Trail Run, Sunday, March 6, Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva.
- Scope for Hope 5K & 2 Mile Walk, Saturday, March 26, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral.
- Lovers Key Turtle Trot 5K, Saturday, May 14, 8 a.m., Lovers Key Park, Fort Myers Beach.
GC RUNNERS (gcrunner.org):
- Baker Park 5K, Saturday, March 5, 7:30 a.m., Baker Park, Naples.
- 10K Run for Music, Saturday, April 19, 7:30 a.m., Pelican Bay, Naples
- Tropicool 5K, Saturday, May 14, downtown Naples.
ELITE EVENTS (runeliteevents.com):
- Fort Myers City of Palms Half Marathon & 5K, Saturday March 5, 6:30 a.m., FGCU campus.
- Punta Gorda Half Marathon & 5K, Saturday, March 12, 6:30 a.m., Lashley Park.
- Paradise Coast Half Marathon, Sunday, April 24, North Collier Regional Park, Naples.
- Yo! Taco Shrimp 5K Run, Saturday, March 12, presented by Cypress Lake Athletics, Doc Fords, Fort Myers Beach (active.com).
- 70s Disco 5K, Saturday, March 5, North Collier Regional Park, Naples (active.com).
- Average Joe 5K Run (you finish in the middle of the pack to win it), Sunday, April 10, North Collier Regional Park, Naples (active.com).
Palm Challenge, Saturday, March 12, from the Collaboratory, downtown
Fort Myers. Rides of 12, 40 and 62 miles with rest stops and full support.
- Broken 100 ride, Sunday, March 27, from Winn Dixie at Colonial Blvd. and Treeline Ave., Fort Myers.
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).
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.
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.
- St. Anthony’s Triathlon (St. Petersburg) has been rescheduled again, now to May 1, 2022, Olympic and sprint (https://satriathlon.com/).
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
email@example.com, 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 bikewalklee.blogspot.com.