BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, May 5, 2022
by Ken Gooderham
|Image courtesy: aviationhumor.net|
By now, the annual exodus to cooler climes has begun with vigor, crowding the northbound lanes of the interstate and TSA checkpoints in our area airports.
But if you’re a seasonal cyclist, what should you do with your bike? Usually it comes down to two initial choices: Leave it or take it.
Leaving is the path of least resistance, obviously, as you can simply lock it up in your home or condo until your return. All you need is a safe place to put it -- preferably under cover and away from the elements, as high temps and moisture are not your bike’s friend. If space is limited, look into the myriad bike storage options, with ways to hang them on walls, from ceilings or securely on the floor.
It’s smart to check the tire pressure (not too high, but enough to avoid deflation) and lubricate the various parts that appreciate that (particularly chains, gears and brake mechanisms). Of course, if you have anything on your bike that uses batteries, remove them if possible so they don’t disintegrate in place. Wipe the bike down if you wish… it will be one less thing you need to do when you return.
However, if you have a bike you’re particularly fond of or want to have one with you as you travel northward, you have some options here as well – depending on your mode of transportation.
If you’re driving, bringing your bike with you can be relatively easy… if you bear in mind safety and security.
There are a couple of options to carry bikes on vehicles:
Roof racks: These put bikes on top of your vehicle rather than behind it – which has good and bad aspects. The good? More secure, can carry more bikes, no extra mass behind the vehicle to impact park or sensors, trunks and hatches unencumbered. The bad? You have to put your (possibly heavy) bike on the top of your vehicle (not an easy lift), it dramatically increases your vehicle height (watch out for garages and bridges) and lowers your gas mileage.
Hitch racks: These snap into your vehicle’s trailer hitch (which means you have to have one of those). That can make them more secure – if you have a lockable hitch mount and a lockable rack. It also makes it easier to carry multiple bikes, as the hitch is rated to handle a lot of weight. However, those kinds of racks can make access to trucks or hatches more difficult (unless they are adapted to allow room or move out of the way), and the bikes can obscure the driver’s vision or interfere with backup cameras. You also need to ensure the bikes stick out as little as possible beyond the sides of the vehicle, or very bad things can happen to your bike wheels, etc.
Removable racks: These strap onto your vehicle’s trunk… which means you have to have a trunk or somewhere for the straps to hook (which eliminates a certain number of vehicles right there). The racks tend to be more affordable and easier to move from one vehicle to another (good), but also are less secure (in every way) and possibly tough on the vehicle’s paint and weatherstripping (bad). Many of the issues found in hitch racks (access and interference) apply here as well.
If your vehicle happens to be a pickup truck, you have the option of hauling bikes in the bed, which can be easier to load and secure with the right rack setup. Of course, if you happen to have a folding bike (the sign of an experienced and serious traveling cyclist), transport becomes a whole lot easier.
If your travel northward involved a trip to the airport, you have much less agreeable options. You can ship your bike back home – either using one of the major shipping companies or a specialty service -- or you can pack your bike like another piece of (very expensive) luggage and put it on the plane with you.
If you use a shipper or an airline, you’ll also need to pack your bike (and unpack it at the other end) – not for the weak of heart (or light of wallet). Specialty shippers do more of the work (and have more incentive to ensure your bike arrives intact)… but either option really works only for those who have the funds and focus to have their (probably expensive) bike with them on arrival. For the rest of us, it’s probably cheaper to buy another bike to have one at each house. (Of course, if you have more than two houses, this probably isn’t a real issue for you.)
Ride of Silence May 18
The annual Ride of Silence, which honors those injured or killed while riding on public roadways, will be held on Wednesday. May 18, beginning at 7 p.m. In Fort Myers, the seven mile slow roll leaves from the Bell Tower.
Riders on Sanibel can join the island ride by congregating at Periwinkle side of Bailey’s Plaza for the 7 p.m. departure. The Sanibel Bicycle Club asks those planning to participate to register by May 10 at the club website (www.sanibelbicycleclub.org).
The Ride of Silence is a global event that takes place every May in 48 countries, seven continents and 50 U.S. States (plus Washington DC). Riders should wear black armbands, red if they have personally been injured in a cycling vs. motor vehicle accident… and helmets are also required.
FORT MYERS TRACK CLUB (ftmyerstrackclub.com):
- Lovers Key Turtle Trot 5K, Saturday, May 14, 8 a.m., Lovers Key Park, Fort Myers Beach.
Business Solutions Freedom 5K Run/Walk & Gunterberg Charitable
Foundation Kid's Fun Run, Monday, July 4, 7 a.m., Cape Coral Chamber of
GC RUNNERS (gcrunner.org):
- Tropicool 5K, Saturday, May 14, downtown Naples.
- Park to Pier Swim, Sunday, May 29, 8 a.m., Lowdermilk Park, Naples.
- SNIP Collier, Monday, May 30, 7:30 a.m., Cambier Park, Naples.
- 2022 Firecracker 5K, Monday, July 4, 7 a.m., Lake Park, Naples.
ELITE EVENTS (runeliteevents.com):
- USA Independence Day 5K, Monday, July 4, 7 a.m., Hertz Arena, Estero.
- Thursday, May 18: Annual Ride of Silence, to honor those cyclists who have been killed or injured on our roadways. 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. 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.
- 2022 Game On Suncoast Olympic & Sprint Triathlon, Saturday, May 21, Fort Desoto Park, St. Petersburg (GameOnRaceEvents.com)
- Naples Fitness Challenge, reverse sprint triathlon, Sunday, June 5, Naples (thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com/)
- Heartland Triathlon, sprint and Olympic tri, duathlon and aquabike, Sunday, June 5, Sebring (heartlandtri.com/).
- Fort Desoto Triathlon Series Race #1, Sunday, June 19, Olympic & sprint triathlon, Fort Desoto Park, St. Petersburg (fortdesototrilogy.com/). Also July 17, Aug. 21 and Sept. 18.
- Siesta Key Sirens & Merman Triathlon, Sunday, June 26, Siesta Key (run941.com/).
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDEHave 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.