Wednesday, June 15, 2022

BikeWalkLee: More hot-weather alternatives

BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, June 16, 2022
by Ken Gooderham

Image: public domain
Summer in Southwest Florida can be a challenging climate for those of us who want to stay active. If the heat and humidity don’t get you, the drenching downpours and thunderstorms might.

Nonetheless, those who want to run or ride do have some options to keep things moving.

Adjust and adapt: A few weeks back, we talked about how to adjust your running or riding schedule and habits to adapt to the heat. One key element was overlooked… giving your body time to adapt to stress of higher heat and humidity.

Experts suggest allowing 8-14 days to acclimatize to a hotter climate… so your body (and mind) learn to cope better with the heat.

The body needs to adapt because running or riding generates heat, which is harder to dissipate at higher temps… and perhaps impossible in high humidity. By giving it time and starting out slow, you can better judge how your body is adapting to the new normal.

The mind also needs to adapt, because heat makes everything seem harder – which some runners or riders will resist, striving to keep the same time or speed they could when it was cooler. Get over it! Change your goals (such as perceived exertion instead of pace) and focus on just being able to keep moving and maintaining your routine.

Looking for tips to stay cool? Get online and see what other experts (and runners or riders) have to say. One final admonition: Learn the warning signs that heat (or your response to it) might be making you sick – and heed them if you see it happening to you.

Take it inside: Obviously, if it’s too hot to run or ride outside, why not go where it’s not so hot and head indoors?

The good news? It’s always running or riding weather when the A/C is running and there’s a roof over your head.

The bad news? It’s often less convenient and more tedious, and it may take some money (as in gym memberships or special equipment) to make it work.

How do you tackle these? Convenience may depend on how adjustable your schedule can be and where (or how far) you need to go to escape the exercise heat. You’d have to make similar adjustments to keep moving outside, so plan on the same latitude here.

Does the thought of running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike make your eyes glaze over? Then find some distractions… something enjoyable to watch or listen to, or someone to exercise with to make the time pass quicker. Also, plan to mix things up a little more, so the routine doesn’t get too confining.

If running or riding is your thing, it’s hard to avoid spending money to go indoors. A short-term gym membership might be a good starter solution, if you can find a place that lets you go month-to-month. It’s certainly cheaper than buying the equipment you need, unless you’re really committed to the idea (and have air-conditioned space to spare).

Walkers could consider finding an enclosed mall (few and far between these days) for some free exercise space. If you live (or have access to) a high-rise condo, try hitting the stairs for a free workout (great cardio, but mind-numbingly boring).

Just add water: Between pools and bays, rivers and beaches, Southwest Florida has plenty of places to play in the water – and summertime is an ideal time to try them out. You can go in two directions here… stick with your usual exercise but add in some water, or try something new on the water or in the pool.

Runners and walkers can move their exercise to the nearest pool (not so easy for riders, alas), for a new workout that will add some cooling resistance to your efforts. It may take some adjustments and added equipment (water shoes or a floatation device), and you may need to share your space with a variety of other users (so learn your pool etiquette).

Of course, you could always move your movement to the beach, at least for walking or running. Cool breezes and water adjacency could make this comfortable, but runners should be warned that sand can be a very different surface than what you (more specifically, your leg muscles) are used to… so proceed with caution.

If you have access to a lap pool (or some similarly large pool), try adding in some swimming to your routine. It’s a great full-body workout that takes not much equipment and no more time than your usual exercise. It’s also not a bad skill to have (or hone) here in the land of water… but, like anything new, start slow and get some tips to help you get better at it.

Summer can also be a good time to try other water-based sports, such as kayaking, standup paddleboarding, windsurfing, diving, etc. (We’re leaving out things with a motor since the goal is to get you moving – not just to move you along.)

All of these are readily accessible (if you’re anywhere near open water), and you can try them out for a pretty low cost to see if you like it. All of them also go better with a little (or, sometimes, a lot) of instruction, usually available from places who rent the equipment (and who thus have incentive to encourage you to take up the sport).

You’re still outdoors, so those precautions about heat, hydration, sun protection still stand. Plus, you’re on the water so you need to be cognizant of things like storms, lightning, winds, waves, etc., to stay safe. You’re also recreating in someone else’s habitat, which may necessitate some additional precautions.

The bottom line, of course, is to keep moving rather than wilting in the face of hot weather. If you can make some new habits – or at least try out some new efforts – so much the better!




  • Priority Business Solutions Freedom 5K Run/Walk & Gunterberg Charitable Foundation Kid's Fun Run, Monday, July 4, 7 a.m., Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce.
  • Tunnel to Towers 5K, Saturday, Sept. 10, FSW campus, Fort Myers.
  • Downtown Dash 1 Mile Run, Friday, Sept. 16, downtown Fort Myers.
  • Fort Myers Cops & Joggers 5K, Saturday, Oct. 8,  downtown Fort Myers.


  • 2022 Firecracker 5K, Monday, July 4, 7 a.m., Lake Park, Naples.
  • Friends of Foster Children Forever Labor Day 5K, Monday, Sept. 6, Lowdermilk Park, Naples.


  • USA Independence Day 5K, Monday, July 4, 7 a.m., Hertz Arena, Estero.
  • Naples Distance Classic Half-Marathon, 10K and 5K, Saturday, Oct. 8, Eagle Lakes Park, Naples.


  • Sunday, June 25: First Annual CRBC Pride Ride (rescheduled from June 4 due to weather), 40+ mile ride from Bike Bistro to northern end of Captiva and back, starts at 7:30 a.m. Variety of speeds accommodated, including a no-drop ride that includes a “Ding” Darling loop. Donations welcomed to support Equality Florida and Cape Coral Pride. 
  • July 5-9, 12-16 and 26-30: Wheel Lee Fun, 8-11:30 a.m. Help your kids learn bike safety and maintenance (and much more), with riders from learning to ride all the way to advanced. Three-one-week sessions planned. 

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 ( 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 ( 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) 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.


  • Fort Desoto Triathlon Series Race #1, Sunday, June 19, Olympic & sprint triathlon, Fort Desoto Park, St. Petersburg ( Also July 17, Aug. 21 and Sept. 18.
  • Siesta Key Sirens & Merman Triathlon, Sunday, June 26, Siesta Key (



Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

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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

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