Tuesday, December 16, 2008

SWFBUD Works on Friendship Trail Issue

The St. Pete Times ran a story about the Friendship Trail and included SWFBUD's role in trying to get Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to fix the trail that's next to the Gandy Bridge.

SWFBUD member bicycle stores have petitions for people to sign if you want Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to act with a heightened sense of urgency in repairing the Friendship Trail and to also put temporary electronic signage on the Gandy Bridge advising motorists to be aware that some bicyclists will be sharing the Gandy Bridge with them.

SWFBUD member bicycle stores are Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, Oliver's Cycle Sports, Revolution Bicycles, Chainwheel Drive, Bicycle Outfitters, University Bicycle Center and Suncoast Trailside Bicycles.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tampa lawyer and bicyclist Thomas Singletary Joins SWFBUD

I am happy to report that SWFBUD has a new member -- Tampa lawyer and bicycle advocate Thomas Singletary. Many of you know Tom as a active cyclist and runner. He's also a tremendous longtime supporter of bicycling in the Tampa Bay area and SWFBUD is proud to count Tom among its members.

In 2009, SWFBUD will be holding a public meeting on bicycle insurance and legal issues -- an area Tom is well versed on. If you see Tom around town, thank him fo joining SWFBUD.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

SWFBUD Responds To Friendship Trail Closing

You're looking at the Gandy Bridge and its parallel Friendship Trail. As you know, the Friendship Trail was closed a few weeks ago because an engineering inspection of the Friendship Trail bridge under the auspices of the state Department of Transportation showed structural damage. Hillsborough and Pinellas counties then shut down the trail bridge to users, leaving bicyclists with the sole option of crossing the Bay on the Gandy Bridge and sharing that bridge with motorists who are known to zoom 60 mph and faster.

SWFBUD is extremely concerned about this situation and will:

-- contact the DOT and Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and request that all agencies deal with remedying and repairing the Friendship Trail with a heightened sense of urgency.

-- advise agencies to post electronic signage on the Gandy Bridge advising motorists to be aware that bicyclists are sharing the bridge with motorized vehicles.

-- I plan to bike the Gandy Bridge on Sunday at 10 a.m. to check out the shoulders for debris and also find out what it's like to bike on the main span of the bridge. I bike the Courtney Campbell Causeway and know the span sections have very little shoulder room if any at all and I suspect that's the same for the span sections of the Gandy Bridge.

If you are interested in joining me to check out what it's like to bike the Gandy Bridge, I will be pedaling across the bridge starting at 10 a.m. Sunday.

Bill Addler, the owner of SWFBUD member store Revolution Bicycles on North 4th Street in St. Petersburg, met with the city of St. Pete yesterday and the pedestrian advisory board and the city. Bill reports that "the city was going to also make sure that additional signage (share the road etc) would be added onto Gandy Blvd. as well as the bridge. They also were going to try and get the portable message board sign put up to alert motorist of cyclist using the bridge."

Folks, be careful and be alert out there. It's getting darker earlier these days and be vigilant to your right to the road while also being smart. No more bicyclist fatalities.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SWFBUD Holds Bicycle Bash by the Bay III

SWFBUD held Bicycle Bash by the Bay III Sunday Oct. 19 and it was a glorious day at Vinoy Park on the St. Petersburg waterfront. More than 2,000 people enjoyed the day of Tampa Bay bicycling advocacy, celebration and diversity.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker visited and re-confirmed St. Pete's commitment to cycling and emcee John Sinibaldi did a terrific job keeping the day moving along.

SWFBUD member store Bicycle Outfitters of Seminole arrived first and arrived in style -- by bicycle only. A caravan of more than a dozen store employees and their family members left their Seminole store around 6:30 a.m. and followed the Pinellas Trail to Vinoy Park, arriving there about 7:45 a.m.

Here are your SWFBUD stores:

Bicycle Outfitters

A SWFBUD tip of the helmet to owner Adam Beland for coming with all the store's gear via bicycle only.

Here's some of the caravan from Bicycle Outfitters that brought all the Bash gear via bicycle.

Bicycle Outfitters did repairs workshops.

University Bicycle Center

Owners Manny and Carlos Mirabal met hundreds of BBbtB attendees and covered family biking and triathlons

Revolution Bicycles

Owner Bill Addler (right) did body scan fittings and his store had a nice waterfront position.

Chainwheel Drive

Owner Tom Jessup, a board member of the National Bicycle Dealers Association, enjoyed chatting with folks.

Suncoast Trailside Bicycles

Owner Geoff Lanier bicycled to the BBbtB (he had a nice tailwind!). He talked racing with Bash visitors.

Suncoast Trailside Bicycles co-owner David Luppino was on hand and selling shirts as part of his new business.

Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium

Store manager Manny Sierra was on hand to do fittings.

CBE owner Brian Eckman, a member of the bicycle/pedestrian advisory committee in Hillsborough County, chatted with attendees.

Oliver's Cycle Sports could not attend because owner Randy Myhre was moving his store Sunday.

Monday, October 6, 2008

SWFBUD Supports Bike Commuting at Commuters Event in Tampa

SWFBUD supports bike commuting and I attended a downtown Tampa commuter event today to represent SWFBUD and talk to people about the 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay. I'm here with the famed Ghost Rider, Jack sweeney of bikecommuters.com

CBE owner Brian Eckman is a big bicycle advocate, donating his time to wrench bikes at a commuter event in downtown Tampa today.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bicycle Bash by the Bay Posters

Steve Turner of Tampa has created two Bicycle Bash by the Bay posters with some bicycle photography I supplied him.

Thanks Steve.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

UBC (University Bicycle Center) Joins SWFBUD

SWFBUD is proud to announce that University Bicycle Center has joined out alliance of retail bicycle stores. UBC, as its known, has been in operation since 1972 and people know their location at 1220 East Fletcher Avenue in Tampa north of the USF campus.

The Mirabal family owns UBC, which has been active in bicycle events in the Hillsborough County area. Please welcome UBC to SWFBUD.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

SWFBUD Lobbies For Suncoast/Upper Tampa Bay Connector Trail

SWFBUD gets involved. We blew the whistle on a developer who built a traffic median into a bike lane on Fletcher Avenue near the Telecom business center last year. The median was removed.

We put on the Bicycle Bash by the Bay, a bicycle festival which drew several thousand people last fall to celebrate and advocate cycling.

And we lobbied the Hillsborough County commissioners to allocate CIT funds to build a connector trail that would link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail to create what would be the longest continuous paved trail in the state of Florida.

I was in front of the county commissioners yesterday afternoon explaining that we need both bike trails and bike lanes on roads, and that trails make our county a better place to live, that the DOT would reimburse the county for the lion's share of the connector trail costs.

I was pleased to hear from John Harrison, a county trails committee member and a SWAMP member that the commissioners voted to start building the connector trail. Here's John's report:

"GREAT NEWS!! The commissioners voted to start the trail with money from the CIT fund at today's Public Meeting.

"They allocated money to start the C-1 section of the trail on Lutz-Fern Lake Rd. This is the first section in the plan. Details will be forthcoming but I just wanted to let everyone know the result of all your letters.

"You made a difference. Special thanks to Alan Snell and Deborah Voiles who also presented this afternoon at the meeting. Thanks again, more details will follow in a few days.

John Harrison."

Friday, June 27, 2008

SWFBUD Addresses TBARTA At Its Monthly Meeting

This morning I represented SWFBUD and addressed the board of TBARTA (Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority). The TBARTA Board, chaired by former Bucs player Shelton Quarles, held its monthly board meeting at a golf course country club off State Road 52 near I-75. We need to let people know who serve on governing boards and in transportation agencies that bicyclists need a piece of the pie. Let your voice be heard.

Here was the statement I read into the TBARTA record:

"My name is Alan Snel and I am the director of SWFBUD, which stands for South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers. It’s an attention-grabbing play on words of that water agency name. SWFBUD is a coalition of seven prominent retail bicycle stores in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties and we and our thousands of loyal pedaling customers are united behind one voice – a voice that is committed to advancing bicycling as an effective means of transportation and as a healthy lifestyle in the Tampa Bay region.

In much the same way you get in your car and apply your seat belt, I hop on my bicycle and strap on helmet. I pedal more than 12,000 miles a year in the Tampa Bay area. I have bike-commuted in cities such as New York City, Denver and Fort Lauderdale and I am here to ask you one thing – please integrate bicycling into every facet of your regional transportation planning and execution.

I talk with people all the time who want to bike to work or bike to the store or bike to the park and for many inexperienced cyclists they perceive the current road conditions as too dangerous. No safe place to ride a bicycle.

That needs to change and it will change through your political will and through your bicycle planning in your regional transportation plans. Please make your proposed corridors friendly to bicyclists – require all buses and any potential light rail to include accommodations for bicycles. Have bicycle storage stations at major park-and-rides. Require all roads to have a bike lane when you fix, widen or build a road.

I pledge SWFBUD will do our part. SWFBUD is holding a giant bicycle festival on October 19 in Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg to advocate and celebrate bicycling in all its forms, including bike-commuting. I am personally inviting each one of you to attend the Bicycle Bash by the Bay. SWFBUD also held the first of its “Pedal Power” lecture series just last night at one of our member bike shops and two speakers representing TBARTA – Brian Bollas and Brandie Miklus – spoke about your plans and we responded with one word – bicycle.

Bicycling makes sense and it’s cost-effective. I hope we can be a resource to you as you blend bicycling into your transportation plans and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I appreciate your time.


Alan Snel
Director of SWFBUD, 7 Tampa Bay area bike shops united behind bicycle advocacy and home of the 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay

SWFBUD Backs Bicycling In Regional Transportation Planning

West Florida Bicycle United Dealers (SWFBUD) held the first of its Pedal Power Lecture Series tonight at Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, inviting two representatives from the Tampa Bay Area Transportation Authority to give a presentation on regional transportation planning.

We learned that it's not just bike shop owners who wants more bicycling synthesized into a transportation program that crosses county borders. In fact, many people commented at forums and meetings across teh area about the need for bicycling to be blended into a regional transportation scheme, according to the presentation made by Brian Bollas and Brandie Miklus.

We peppered the two with comments and questions about whether TBARTA's program will include bicycling and they couldn't promise anything but did say many people have told them and the agency that bicycling and walking have to be part of the links in any regional transportation plan.

The TBARTA board meets Friday morning at 9:30 AM at a country club in San Antonio at I-75 and State Road 52 and they might just have a bicycling visitor.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Web Site for the 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay

My pal Steve Swiger of the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club, who loves bicycling (you should see some of his works) and is a pretty darn good IT/computer whiz, put together a new Web site for the 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay, creating a concise, colorful and user-friendly site peppered with wonderful photos from the past two Bicycle Bashes.

Make this one of your favorites.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sign of the Bicycle Bash by the Bay

Thank you Ryan Wakefield of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority for this terrific sign for the 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay. This sign is scheduled to be installed on PSTA buses.

Monday, June 16, 2008

SWFBUD Announces Bicycle Bash by the Bay Is Set For October 19

This morning I pedaled from Seminole Heights across The Bay to St. Petersburg to submit two applications on behalf of SWFBUD to hold the 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay at Vinoy Park on October 19. One application is for the city of St. Pete to be a co-sponsor and the other application was for a park permit for the event.

As many of you know from last year, the 2007 Bicycle Bash by the Bay -- a bicycle festival to promote and celebrate bicycling in the Tampa Bay market -- was a tremendous success, drawing 3,000 people to Vinoy Park on Nov. 4, 2007.

This year's event is expected to double that number to 5,000-6,000. SWFBUD is partnering with the Share the Road Ride, which will hold its annual bike ride the morning of the Bicycle Bash by the Bay from Vinoy Park. John Sinibaldi of St. Petersburg is the point-man for the Share Ride, which SWFBUD believes is an ideal theme for the day of bicycling.

The Florida Bicycle Association will also be a partner because the FBA's annual Pro Bike Pro Walk Conference will be in St. Petersburg this year starting October 20.

We have plenty of room for vendors and a table is only $60! Please contact me at alansnel@yahoo.com for a vendor form so that you reserve your space early.

SWFBUD Meets Congresswoman Kathy Castor Today

Today I represented SWFBUD in a meeting with Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who was in town to chat with locals. I asked the congresswoman to support legislation that would integrate bicycling into transportation plans and to vote for legislation that would allocate money for bicycle transportation projects. She said she was on board and said her husband even biked to work in May.

Friday, June 13, 2008

SWFBUD Holds Forum on June 26 At CBE

SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), an alliance of seven Tampa Bay-area bike stores committed to bicycle advocacy, is proud to present the first of its Pedal Power public forum series this month.

SWFBUD has invited a representative from the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority to discuss the role of bicycles in a regional transportation plan for the Tampa Bay area. http://www.tbarta.com/

The forum is set for:

7 PM on June 26 at Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium in the Grand Plaza at 14407-B North Dale Mabry in north Tampa.

There will be snacks and drinks.

Hope to see you there,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SWFBUD Member Store Revolution Bicycles Gets New Digs

Congrats to Revolution Bicycles owner Bill Addler of St. Petersburg, who is moving his bike store across the street to a stand-alone building at the corner of 4th Street and 30th Avenue.

It's a terrific building that Bill bought and has decorated into a cool retail space, complete with wood floors, earthy colors on newly painted walls, a tall ceiling, a ton of natural light coming through big windows, an outdoor deck and even a mini-bike lane painted from the side street through the parking lot right up to his buiiding front door.

Here's Bill hanging out this morning at the new store on the cool deck, which will be used for bike social gatherings.

I loved the bike lane that runs through the parking lot right to the store. Funny thing is some bike lanes around the Tampa Bay area are actually that long.

Check out the special parking sign in front of Bill's store -- good stuff.

Revolution Bicycles is a member of SWFBUD -- South West Florida Bicycke United Dealers. Bill is an active bicycle retailer who cares deeply about bicycle advocacy. He is a member of the mayor's bicycle-pedestrian advisory committee and is known nationally as an advocate retailer.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SWFBUD Is Mentioned In Reuters Story

Reuters News Service includes SWFBUD in a story about the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC last month.

SWFBUD In The News

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

SWFBUD Mentioned in National Bike Summit Coverage

SWFBUD gets a nice mention in a story in the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, a trade publication that covers the bicycle industry.

SWFBUD and the National Bike Summit

Monday, April 14, 2008

SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash by the Bay to Team Up with the Share the Road Ride

SWFBUD is proud to announce that we are hooking up with John Sinibaldi and the St. Pete Bicycle Club to have the prominent Share The Road Ride the morning of the Bicycle Bash by the Bay on October 19.

The Bicycle Bash by the Bay is a bicycle festival held by SWFBUD to promote and celebrate all types of bicycling in the Tampa Bay area.

The Share the Road Ride is a tremendous bike ride usually held in July. When John Sinibaldi approached SWFBUD and inquired about holding the Share the Road Ride the morning of the Bicycle Bash by the Bay, the SWFBUD store owners thought it was a tremendous idea.

We will be talking with the city of St. Petersburg for the city to become a co-sponsor of this event.

Stay tuned for more details. In the meanwhile, enjoy these photos from last year.

SWFBUD Makes The Tampa Tribune

SWFBUD drew media coverage from the Tampa Tribune when Fran Kane, a SWFBUD member who owns Flying Fish Bikes, spoke out against unsafe conditions in south Tampa.

Check out SWFBUD in the Tampa Tribune

SWFBUD Takes Action For Bicyclists

SWFBUD plays several roles, including pressuring developers or public agencies to correct situations that are dangerous for bicyclists.

Case example last June: Tampa bike commuter Picot Floyd was cycling to work on Fletcher Avenue near Telecom Drive when he realized that the developer built a concrete traffic control island that extended into the Fletcher Avenue bike lane, forcing bicyclists into the lane of traffic going 60 mph.

Picot contacted me. And I contacted Hillsborough County public works regarding this concrete island blocking the bike lane.

And I also spoke with the developer, who ultimately removed the concrete island from the bike lane inresponse to SWFBUD's quick action.

SWFBUD's activism caught the attention of Bay News 9, which did an excellent news report on SWFBUD and our group's role in getting the concrete island removed from the bike lane.

The Bay News 9 Report

Chuck Johnson of Bay News 9 did a terrific job explaining SWFBUD and pointing out our group's role in pressuring the developer to remove a concrete traffic island from a bike lane on Fletcher Avenue near Telecom Drive.

David Luppino, a store owner, was interviewed by Bay News 9 about SWFBUD.

SWFBUD's Busy Week

SWFBUD is having a busy week.

On Saturday, I attended the Going Green Expo at the USF Sundome on behalf of South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers and enjoyed meeting dozens of bicyclists.

I filled in people about the Bicycle Bash by the Bay, which is tentatively set for October 19 at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg.

This morning, I visited the Hillsborough County Commission office to hand deliver letters to each county commissioner advising them on SWFBUD's support for earmarking $12 million to connect the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail.

This is a vital trail connector link that has been planned for years. The $12 million would come from the community investment tax fund and I understand that the state DOT will reimburse $7 million of the $12 million.

Here is a copy of that letter:

Dear Hillsborough County Commissioner,

My name is Alan Snel and I am director of an alliance of seven Tampa Bay area retail bicycle stores committed to growing bicycling as a healthy lifestyle and effective mode of transportation in Hillsborough County. Our group is called SWFBUD for South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers and I am writing now to urge you to support earmarking $12 million of the $40 million in community investment tax money toward a trail connector that would link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail. The planning for this connector trail has been in the works for a long time and it is vital now to complete this connector to link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail and the Suncoast Trail. SWFBUD's seven stores represent thousands of bicyclists and customers, many of whom find refuge on local trails to bike. This connector trail would make this continuous trail the longest in the state of Florida and provide an important amenity for not only bicyclists, but all other outdoors enthusiasts such as runners, walkers, roller-bladers and people who enjoy being outside. It's important to note that of the $12 million, $7 million will be reimbursed to the county by the state DOT.

SWFBUD Has Its Own Blog!

Welcome to the SWFBUD blog!

My name is Alan Snel and I'll keep you updated about SWFBUD -- a play on words on that local Tampa area water agency called SWIFTMUD.

What is SWFBUD, you ask? It's an alliance of seven bike shops in the Tampa Bay area that cares deeply about bicycle advocacy, bicyclists' rights and promoting bicycling in our market as a healthy lifestyle and an effective mode of transportation.

I serve as director SWFBUD and I get around. I represent SWFBUD at events, write letters to local govcernment agencies advising them to make their communities bicycle-friendly and organize one of the biggest bicycle events every year called the Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

Last year, participants estimated that there were 2,500 to 3,000 people who attended last year's Bicycle Bash by the Bay at the waterfront Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg.

This year's Bicycle Bash by the Bay will be very special.

SWFBUD is teaming up with John Sinibaldi and the St. Pete Bike Club to also hold the Share the Road Ride the morning of the Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

It's tentatively scheduled for October 19 this year and I will be working with the city of St. Petersburg to finalize event plans.

In addition, the Florida Bicycle Association will be holding its annual Pro Bike, Pro Walk Conference in St. Petersburg from Oct. 20-23, so we expect statewide visitors at this year's Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

If you are interested in being a vendor at this year's Bicycle Bash by the Bay, email me at alansnel@yahoo.com.