Michelle Avola-Brown, Executive Director,
Naples Pathways Coalition

I’m always ambivalent about the time change that happens in the fall. I love the extra hour of sleep, especially that first week. I swear my coffee tastes better with an extra hour of sleep! But the tradeoff of the early darkness in the evening takes some getting used to. Although I know it’s coming, those first few evenings when dinner time feels like bedtime surprise me every year.

The shorter days often catch many drivers by surprise this time of year too. Kids walking or biking home from after-school sports and clubs can be tough to see, especially after dusk. Youth may not realize they are harder to see, so we need to be extra alert when driving in the evening.

All of us who enjoy an after-dinner walk or bike ride in this glorious weather need to be sure we are visible too. After dark, it’s wise to wear a white or fluorescent-colored shirt and socks. Dark-colored clothing makes you nearly invisible at night. White or neon-colored socks are best because our eyes notice things that move. Reflective arm and ankle bands are great too. A reflective leash and collar will help you both be seen more easily while walking your dog.

After sunset, be sure your bike has a functioning headlight and taillight and that both are visible for several hundred feet. (Did you know lights on bicycles and motor vehicles are legally required from dusk to dawn?) We recommend using your front and rear lights in blinking mode during the day to increase visibility, but only your taillight should be flashing at night. The headlight should be a constant beam. Make sure your bike has plenty of reflectors, too.

Something fun I’m looking forward to this month is the 18th Annual Iron Joe Turkey Ride. It’s Naples’ Sunday after Thanksgiving tradition for every level of bicycling enthusiast. When you’ve had your fill of leftovers and shopped ‘til you dropped, air up your tires and join me at Eagle Lakes Community Park on Sunday, November 28th. (11565 Tamiami Trail E, Naples, 34112).

The start times are staggered, so only the long-distance riders need to get there early. You can grab a light breakfast and coffee at the park before heading out on a 5, 10, 20, 40 or 62-mile ride. The five-mile ride is entirely inside the park on a scenic path — great for families with children and anyone bouncing back from a health issue or injury.

There will be conveniently located rest stops, and Cycle Shack and Island Bike Shop will provide on-road help if anyone gets a flat. At the finish, enjoy a hearty, delicious lunch from Jason’s Deli, music, beer and soft drinks, raffles, and more.

What better way to cap off the holiday weekend than with some exercise, delicious food, and a great time with new and old friends? Bring your friends and family — you don’t want to miss the 18th Annual Iron Joe Turkey Ride!

Naples Pathways Coalition is a 501C3 non-profit advocacy group dedicated to improving the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Event proceeds help support our mission and develop the Paradise Coast Trail. For more information, to volunteer, or learn about sponsorship opportunities, please email or call 239.777.7718.

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