Bike It! The Top Bike-Friendly Paved and Off-Road Trails in Fort Myers
After a long, sometimes tricky struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, you’ve achieved your sobriety goals in rehab and are in the recovery stages of substance use disorder. But now that you know you need to stay away from the influences and triggers that may tempt you to return to substance use, what is there to do with some of the extra time you now have on your hands in Fort Myers?
While you were abusing substances, that harmful distraction took up a lot of your time that was solely devoted to finding, buying, and using drugs or alcohol. Once you’re newly sober, you might not know how to fill these gaps in your everyday life. If you begin to feel bored with life’s daily grind, this could become a trigger to relapse. Struggling with addiction? Call our Tampa drug rehab team to see how we can help you live a life free from addiction. See why Newsweek named us the #1 addiction treatment center in Florida.
At this point, you may be looking for some fun activities to fill your spare time, but you know you don’t want to even come close to experiencing a relapse. So, what sober activities can you get involved in if you’re going to avoid the temptations of substances? Keep in mind that being in recovery means paying closer attention to your physical, mental, and emotional health than you may have previously been doing.
In Fort Myers, there are some excellent bike-friendly trails you can access to get into or remain in great physical shape as you also relieve stress and anxiety. Whether you were very physically active before you became addicted to substances or whether you want to get your body and mind into top form now so you can enjoy a happier, sober lifestyle, biking is an intense activity that many people love. Especially if you’ve enjoyed bicycling in the past, now is the time to get back into this rewarding activity that provides many benefits in recovery.
There are numerous health benefits associated with biking in recovery. If you begin cycling regularly, you’ll improve your body’s stamina. You’ll start to be able to accomplish the many chores of daily life without feeling tired. Being in recovery can often cause you to feel less energetic, and biking in Fort Myers can help your energy stores over the long term.
Stress is something that many people feel while in early recovery from substance use disorder. Between trying to avoid the temptation to drink or use drugs again, there are other stressful situations to deal with that might involve a job, school, or family relationships. Biking on paved or off-road trails in Fort Myers can help alleviate stress as brain neurotransmitters stimulate natural feelings of euphoria that kick in when you’re bicycling. Biking also helps alleviate depression, symptoms of which you might experience at times while recovering from addiction.
If you want to maintain a healthy body weight in recovery, biking is a great way to burn calories and build strength. Just 30 minutes of riding a bike can burn 150 calories or more, depending on the intensity of the trail you’re navigating. You’ll also see an increase in your muscle mass as you bike regularly. This muscle increase will begin to burn more calories, helping you feel stronger and in greater control of your physical wellbeing.
Biking in recovery also cuts your risk for coronary heart disease in half, increases bone mass that can prevent osteoporosis, and helps improve your self-esteem. As you gain more control over your physical fitness, any lingering feelings of low self-worth can dissipate, leading to greater feelings of confidence and self-respect.
Being in recovery also often means that you’re looking to make new friends who won’t lead you back on a path to substance use. Joining a bicycling club or race will help you forge new friendships with people who share your love of biking.
Paved Bike Paths in Fort Myers
John Yarbrough Linear Park
This park has six miles of concrete-paved bicycle paths that run north to south on a linear trail with endpoints on Colonial Blvd. and Six Mile Cypress Parkway. The John Yarbrough bike trail takes you over some pedestrian bridges that are perfect for making a stop to take in bird wildlife’s natural views and lush greenery along the canal in some spots.
Billy Creek Preserve and Filter Marsh
With 1.5 miles of paved trails, you can bike around the filter marsh ponds and spy various wildlife ranging from armadillos to turkey vultures. You’ll also note many plant life varieties, such as different types of ferns and the attractive Florida strangler fig trees that abound in the area. This calming bicycle trail takes you just outside the hubbub of the city, which is very close, yet you’d never know it since most of what you’ll hear while biking the Billy Creek Preserve bike trail will be birdcalls and other sounds from Mother Nature.
Powell Creek Preserve
This 77-acre preserve has a 1-mile elevated berm trail where you can take a leisurely bike ride or hike. The park, located in an area of residential neighborhoods on either side, is populated by various birds and animals, including woodpeckers, rabbits, and tortoises. There are a few benches on the trail and a paved parking lot at the Powell Creek Preserve entrance.
Off-Road Bike Trails in Fort Myers
You can look into these off-road bike trails in or near Fort Myers that take you over rougher terrain than paved trails do for more strenuous exercise riding a mountain bike. Mountain bikes are designed for durability and better performance on unpaved trails, as they usually have better suspensions, wider wheels, and more robust frames than ordinary bicycles.
Off-road biking enthusiasts can usually be found in bicycle clubs, where you take group rides together, often on longer trips, which help increase endurance, your bike-handling skills, and self-confidence.
Caloosahatchee Regional Park
This large park that sits by the banks of the Caloosahatchee River offers an abundance of outdoor activities, including off-road bike trails near Fort Myers, located on the north side of North River Road. Park your car in lot #3 to access the bicycle trails that run in one direction and change every month. You’ll need a bike helmet, and if you don’t have a helmet, you can borrow one from the camp office. Be sure to bring or get a trail map before taking off on this excellent, well-maintained off-road bike trail in Caloosahatchee Regional Park. The Florida Mudcutters group helps maintain this trail system, which is also shared with horseback riders.
Estero Bay Preserve State Park
The Estero River Scrub Trailhead in this preserve area consists of four different off-road bike trails that are also open to hikers. The land is made up of Flatwoods, scrub, and salt flats, where you’ll pass lizards, gopher tortoises, snakes, and different bird species on your route. The trailhead has a pavilion, benches, and restrooms. Off-road cyclists are asked not to cycle on the salt flats, as the high salt content can damage your bike and the wildlife habitat. Helmets are recommended for everyone riding these off-road bike paths in Estero Bay Preserve State Park, and they’re required for cyclists 16 years old and younger.
Lovers Key State Park
Situated on Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Lovers Key State Park offers bicyclists miles of multi-use trails, including off-road biking trails. At least two of the courses, one of which is the Black Island Trail, which will take you through the maritime hammock where you may be able to view manatees or dolphins, ospreys taking flight, or bald eagles flying by. Two mostly flat dirt trails cover nearly six miles through various waterways and mangroves. The trails switch over gradually from hard-packed sand to grassy paths to more challenging sugar sand grounds. The park is made up of natural, mostly undeveloped islands that are half-shaded. After a hot off-road bike ride here, take a refreshing dip in the Gulf, which has 2.5 miles of beautiful beachfront. There are shower stations available to rinse off with fresh water at the beach.
Taking up bike riding in recovery can be very rewarding in so many ways. Still, you’ll want first to be sure your physician approves this new activity, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions.
It’s also vital that you don’t let your enthusiasm for cycling get you carried away initially. Start slowly and build up the number of miles you get in over a month or two so you can gain strength and stamina and not get hurt while bicycling. Remember that recovery may have left you vulnerable to injury.
Getting together with other people to bike ride together can be a lot of fun and will widen your social circle in recovery. Joining a cycling club will increase your motivation to get on your bike and provide you with tips on how to improve your pedal stroke and techniques.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.