PEDAL IN PARADISE
By Matt Walthour
Have you been enjoying all the new bike lanes around the island and the wider multi-use bike paths? How about the new multi-use path that goes from the Marco racquet center to Mackle Park parallel to South Heathwood? Well, if you haven’t yet had the chance to ride on some of these new paths or lanes, your time may soon be arriving. So get your bike ready for the upcoming Tour de Marco.
The Marco Island Bike Pathways Committee began sponsoring the Tour de Marco four years ago in hopes of educating the public on all the new and existing bicycles lanes and multi-use pathways Marco Island has to offer. The committee has done a great job with over 25 miles of bike lanes and multi-use paths in place and many more to come. The tours have been successfully generating more interest and riders year after year, and this year will be no different.
The year will be similar to last year with just three rides; the first of the three is a casual 30 mile ride leaving at 8 a.m. from the YMCA, located at 101 Sandhill St. on Sunday, Apr. 6, 2014, and it includes a tour of the quaint fishing village of Goodland. The second is a 15 mile ride leaving at 9 a.m., and the third is a five mile ride also leaving at 9 a.m. Both also leave from the YMCA. All rides will end at the YMCA and will highlight the natural beauty and wonderful bike lanes and pathways that Marco Island has to offer and some roads you may have never travelled before.
Registration starts at 7 a.m. at the YMCA. You can also register online at www.active.com or pick up a registration at the YMCA. Entry fees are $20 pre-registration (families $40) and $25 on the day of the race (families $45). Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Things to remember for your ride: please wear your helmet, it’s required. Drink plenty of water throughout your ride – snacks and water will also be provided on some of the routes. While riding the inroad lanes you must obey all automobile rules of the road. You may also want to bring a camera. The Marco Island Police will also be on hand to ensure everyone’s safety.
Matt Walthour, a Marco Island resident since 1985 is a graduate from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and is the owner of Island Bike Shop and Scootertown on Marco Island and Naples. He is also a member of the Marco Island bike path ad-hoc committee.