Sanibel Critical Mass to hit the paths this Saturday
Grab your bike, lights and helmet and join other bike enthusiasts at Jerry’s parking lot this weekend for a night ride.
“The Sanibel ride was my baby,” David Fasig, the Sanibel Critical Mass ride leader, said. “I came up with the routes and it was my idea to do it. I always liked riding out here as a little kid.”
Although July’s ride is on the third Saturday, July 15, the Sanibel Critical Mass ride is typically held on the second Saturday of each month. The ride starts and ends at Jerry’s Market parking lot.
“We start meeting about 7 p.m. and start riding at 8 p.m.,” he said. “We usually get back about 9:30 p.m.”
The ride consists of about 10 to 12 miles.
“It’s free. It doesn’t cost anything to ride with us. Just show up with your bike and lights,” Fasig said.
He said he has mapped out a few different routes that they take each month.
One, traveling West Gulf Drive to Rabbit Road and then to SanCap Road. The ride makes a stop at the old Doc Ford’s for a 15-minute break before heading back to Jerry’s. The other route heads down West Gulf Drive to Lighthouse Beach. After a 15-minute break, the route departs Lighthouse Beach and heads down Periwinkle Way through the Dunes neighborhood before arriving back at Jerry’s.
The monthly ride attracts anywhere from 25 to 75 people for the eight to nine mile an hour journey.
“It’s family friendly. We put a bunch of lights on our bikes and we stay on the shared use path,” Fasig said. “We have our nieces, 8 and 15, they go. Our oldest rider is 86 years old. We have a lot of fun.”
Due to the time of the ride, all participants must have lights for the front and back of their bike, which is required by law. He said it is also recommended that all riders have helmets. Those who are younger than 16 must wear a helmet, Fasig said because it’s required by the law.
“If someone has a physical, or mechanical problem, we will not leave you behind. We won’t leave anyone behind,” he said.
“After Mass” continues at Buster’s on McGregor for beverages and food.
After Rob Seibert traveled to Fort Lauderdale a few times to ride with a bike group that his best friend from Pittsburg joined, he began thinking he needed to bring the concept to this coast. He said the monthly bike ride in Fort Lauderdale was quite large with up to 700 people.
“It’s been almost four years since I started it,” he said of SWFL Critical Mass. “I wanted to have a fun social ride of bringing people together. A nice slow rolling social . . . the funnest, cheapest thing to do.”
The group of bike enthusiast grew from Seibert visiting a few bike shops announcing the date of the first ride. From there word spread, and keeps spreading of Critical Mass.
He said he showed up with his bike safely lit for the first ride in Fort Myers, which everyone began duplicating.
“The colors of the night kept on blooming and it ended up looking like a rolling parade,” Seibert said. “It’s gorgeous. The bikes are lit up incredibly.”
From the very beginning, his motto has been “come to the ride and forget your worries. Whatever is on your mind, or bugging you, you can pick it up after the ride.”
The focus of the slow paced ride is to leave all worries at the starting point.
“I’ve ridden for many years,” Seibert said. “I just enjoy biking and bringing people together.”
The group of bike riders has grown over the past four years, Seibert said, adding that he has more than 2,000 people signed into the group.
SWFL Critical Mass now includes six monthly rides, five of which are night rides. The night rides include Fort Myers, Cape Coral, northeast Lee, Estero and Sanibel.
“Each ride is different and has its own flavor,” Seibert said. “Everyone rides at their own risk. It’s the same rules as the road. All of that applies. It’s a leaderless ride. We just call the ride, call the time and people show up.”
Before each ride, instructions are provided on such topics as riding as a group and safety.
“If there is debris in the road, or a pothole, they need to shout it out, so we ride as one unit,” Seibert said.
The sixth ride is a training ride for those new to the group riding setting and are seeking to gain the confidence in riding with others.
“We offer that with a little bit more instruction and less distance,” he said.
Fasig recalls always having a bike, a love that stemmed as a young boy. Now he has 15 bikes in his garage for himself, his wife and children.
“Personally I ride every day. I ride to work and ride home,” Fasig said, adding that he also participates in a 21-mile ride with another group that is a faster ride. “There is a ride about every weekend.”
Those who would like more information can visit their Facebook page at SWFL Critical Mass. Fasig said they can ask to join the group and see all of their events.