Monday, August 31, 2009

Time To Ramp Up For SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash On Oct. 11 in Downtown St. Pete

If you would like to be a vendor, exhibitor, sponsor or volunteer for the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay, Presented by Cure on Wheels, contact SWFBUD Dirctor Alan Snel at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SWFBUD's Newest Member and a Bicycle Bash Sponsor

I'm happy to announce that SWFBUD has a tenth member to join its eight Tampa Bay bicycle dealers and one lawyer. SWFBUD's newest member is Chris Burns, a passionate bicyclist and lawyer from Jacksonville who is deeply committed to growing and promoting bicycling in the Tampa Bay area and Florida as a whole.

Chris has this to say: "I am very passionate about cycling and representing cyclists in my law practice around the state. I have represented hundreds of cyclists. I have been an attorney for 25 years. I’ve found cycling and being a cycling attorney are quite similar. Both require agility, having a sharp focus on a goal, a tenacious attitude, and never being satisfied with less than the maximum result."

In adition to its eight retail bike dealers in the Tampa Bay area, SWFBUD is proud to include two excellent bicyclists who are lawyers as well -- Chris and Thomas Singletary of Tampa.

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In other SWFBUD news, I'm happy to say that the Bicycle Bash by the Bay on Oct. 11has a new sponsor. TBT is the new media sponsor of the Bicycle Bash by the Bay and look for two ads that will run in TBT the week of the Bicycle Bash in early October.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

North Straub Park in St. Petersburg -- The Site for the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay on Oct. 11

This year, SWFBUD's 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay, Presented by Cure on Wheels will be in beautiful North Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg.

This year, we will have a special awards ceremony during the Bicycle bash by the Bay. Bicycle Newswire has the four winners of the SWFBUDdy Award that will be presented during the Bicycle Bash.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

See You At The Bicycle Bash By The Bay On Oct. 11

Tampa Bay's award-winning bicycle festival -- the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay, Presented by Cure on Wheels -- is Oct. 11 in downtown St. Petersburg in North Straub Park and Bicycle Stories will be offering an occasional sneak peak at some of the activities for this year's event.

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I met a young woman in late March 2008 who was cycling from Miami to Montreal on US 27 with a long trailer that included a guitar. It was Rachel VanSlyke, a willowly, long-legged bicyclist-singer changing a tire tube in front of the Dundee Library in a small Polk County place called Dundee.

I biked about 15 miles with her north along US 27 and then wished her well when I tured around to bike back to Dundee. We stayed in touch and I'm happy to say that Rachel will perform at the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

Rachel's beautiful folksy/soft rock voice and guitar talents will be on display at the North Straub Park stage. To hear her voice, click here.

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Cure on Wheels, a local cahrity bicycle ride that raises money for local cancer research, is working with two great organizations to provide food at the Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

The famed Columbia Restaurant, owned by bicycle supporter Richard Gonzmart, and the Westchase Rotary will be serving up delicious food at the Bicycle Bash by the Bay. Richard's Columbia will be serving up paella, while the Westchase Rotary will be offering BBQ.

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SWFBUD puts on the Bicycle Bash by the Bay to grow and promote bicycling in the Tampa Bay area. It is a free event. If you want to be a volunteer, Friend of SWFBUD, exhibitor or sponsor for the Bicycle Bash by the Bay, contact SWFBUD director Alan Snel at

Our latest Friends of SWFBUD are Amy and Ken Sturrock. Ken is a member of the Hillsborough County Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Sturrocks are active members of the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club. A Friend of SWFBUD costs only $25 and you receive a new Polar Bottle waterbottle. Help move the bicycle movement forward in Tampa Bay.

SWFBUD Asks Pinellas Commissioners To Apply For TrailBridge Grant

This afternoon, I represented SWFBUD in front of the Pinellas County Commission to ask the commissioners to join forces with Hillsborough County and apply for a federal TIGER transportation stimulus grant of $20 million to fix and re-open the closed Friendship TrailBridge. Hillsborough's commissioners voted 5-2 to apply.

After I spoke, SWFBUD member store co-owner Dottie Jessup of Chainwheel Drive of Clearwater and Palm Harbor also spoke for the hundreds of Chainwheel Drive customers who use the TrailBridge and she also asked the commissioners to apply for the TIGER federal money.

Interesting enough, one of the Pinellas County commissioners -- Nancy Bostock -- was a former student of Dottie Jessup, who taught in Pinellas and Hillsborough schools. Here's Dottie addressing the county commission. I hope Commissioner Bostock takes the advice of her former teacher.

Monday, August 17, 2009

SWFBUD Alert: Please Attend Pinellas County Meeting Tuesday To Support TrailBridge Grant

If you want Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to work together to apply for a federal grant to fix and re-open the Friendship TrailBridge, please attend a Pinellas County Commission meeting at 315 Court St. in Clearwater Tuesday.

Sources tell me the county's public works director has recommended AGAINST applying for the federal grant and that several of the county commissioners also do not support applying for the TIGER transportation grant.

Please attend the County Commission meeting Tuesday afternoon and sign up to speak FOR the grant to fix and re-open the Friendship TrailBridge at 2:30 PM for the afternoon 3 PM meeting.

Friday, August 14, 2009


In case you're wondering what SWFBUD does, let me give you an example from this summer.

Last week, SWFBUD successfully lobbied the Hillsborough County Commission to apply for federal money to fix the closed Friendship TrailBridge after SWFBUD attended TrailBridge public forums on back-to-back nights in St. Petersburg and Tampa several weeks earlier.

Two weeks ago, SWFBUD met with Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe to discuss ways of keeping the county's parks open 7 days a week after the county administrator proposed a budget that called for the closing of the parks two days a week. I, along with Brian Eckman of CBE and Randy Myhre of Olver's, met Sharpe two weeks ago and explained the importance of preserving the current parks schedule, which allows all types of bicyclists to use the parks such as Flatwoods.

SWFBUD also led a bike ride to a county budget hearing last month that included riders from Swamp, the Tampa Bay Freewheelers and the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club.

It paid off -- yesterday the Hillsborough County Commission voted to tentatively restore the parks to a 7-days-a-week operation after the proposed budget originally called for the closure of county parks for two days a week.

The St. Pete Times wrote a story explaining the parks were spared the budget ax

It's the behind-the-scenes, trench work like this that prompted Trek Bicycle Corp. to present SWFBUD with the national advocacy award last night. Congrats to SWFBUD and the six Trek dealers in SWFBUD.

Only four months ago, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, the trade bible that covers the bicycle industry in this country, gave SWFBUD a national advocacy award.

We're on the national radar and people around the country are recognizing our contributions to the Tampa Bay bicycle scene.

Please support SWFBUD and be a vendor or sponsor at the Bicycle Bash by the Bay in downtown St. Petersburg on Oct. 11 from 11 AM to 4 PM.

Trek Bicycle Corp. Gives National Advocacy Award to SWFBUD

SWFBUD won a national advocacy award last night from Trek Bicycle Corporation. John Burke, president of Trek, gave its national advocacy award to SWFBUD during a Trek show that drew six SWFBUD member stores.

SWFBUD's advocacy work includes keeping Hillsborough County's parks open seven days a week, lobbying Pinellas and Hillsborough counties to fix and re-open the Friendship TrailBridge and holding the annual Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

SWFBUD appreciates the national recognition from Trek, one of the most prominent bicycle companies in the world. To win a national advocacy award from Trek, which has 1,300 dealers around the country, is amazing and is testimony to the commitment of the SWFBUD Trek dealers to growing bicycling in the Tampa Bay area.

In April, SWFBUD won a national retail advocacy award from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, the trade publication that covers the bicycle industry in this country.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

SWFBUD To Award SWFBUDdy Awards at the 2009 Bicycle Bash By The Bay

This media release was sent out today:

SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), a Tampa Bay alliance of retail bicycle dealers, is proud to announce that four people in the public eye will be awarded with the coveted SWFBUDdy Award for their support of bicycling in the Tampa Bay area.

SWFBUD will present the SWFBUDdy awards at the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay, presented by Cure on Wheels on Oct. 11 at North Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg. The awards ceremony will be at 1 PM during the bicycle festival, which goes from 11 AM to 4 PM.

The four are:

-- Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe. Commssioner Sharpe has actively supported connecting the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail, supported repairing the Friendship TrailBridge; and expressed his support for making Hillsborough County a destination place for bicyclists.

-- St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. Mayor Baker was instrumental in extending the Pinellas Trail to the St. Petersburg waterfront and has actively supported making the city of St. Petersburg one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the southeast United States with its comprehensive bicycle plan and bike lanes.

-- Tampa City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena. Councilwoman Saul-Sena is an ardent supporter of bicycling for transportation purposes in the city of Tampa and arranged an important meeting with the Tampa city public works administrator earlier this year to shine the spotlight on bicycle transportation in the city of Tampa.

-- Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon. Manager Joe pedals his bicycle in Tampa all the time and has said he comes up with some of his Rays managerial and team strategy while cycling.

"There is a growing bicycle movement in the Tampa Bay area and there are many people in the public arena who are helping that movement. It was a very difficult decision to single out four individuals, but SWFBUD believes these four people make the Tampa Bay area a better place to live because of their public support for bicycling," said Alan Snel, director of SWFBUD.

The Bicycle Bash by the Bay, winner of the 2007 Florida Bicycle Event of the Year as awarded by the Florida Bicycle Association, is put on by SWFBUD to celebrate, promote and advocate bicycling as a healthy lifestyle and effective mode of transportation in the Tampa Bay region.

SWFBUD, a coalition of eight bicycle stores and one lawyer in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties, was presented in 2009 with the national retail bicycle advocacy award out of 5,000 national retail bike dealers by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, the trade publication that covers the bicycle industry in the United States.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SWFBUD Pleased That Hillsborough County Commission Votes To Apply For Friendship Trail Repair Money

Good news for the Friendship TrailBridge. The Hillsborough County Commission voted 5-2 to partner with Pinellas County to apply for federal transportation grant money to fix the TrailBridge, which has been closed since last November.

I represented SWFBUD and spoke at the public comment period of the commission meeting this morning to voice our support for applying for the "TIGER" transportation money to fix the deteriorated sections of the Old Gandy Bridge, which now serves as the Friendship Trail, connecting St. Pete and Tampa.

Commission members Rose Ferlita and Mark Sharpe led the charge to apply for the grant, and were joined by Ken Hagan, Kevin Beckner and Kevin White. Commissioners Jim Norman and Al Higginbotham voted against.

The application will be for $20 million -- $15 million for the bridge trail work and $5 million for trail systems leading to the old Gandy Bridge.

The application has to be in by Sept. 15 and Pinellas and Hillsborough counties should find out whether they got the grant within a month after that.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

SWFBUD Meets With County Commissioner Mark Sharpe About Keeping The Parks Open 7 Days A Week

This afternoon, SWFBUD met with Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe to discuss ways to keep the county's parks open seven days a week in light of a county budget proposal to shut down the parks for two days a week.

Here, Brian Eckman, owner of SWFBUD member store Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, and Oliver's Cycle Sports owner Randy Myhre, also a SWFBUD store member, meet with Sharpe, pictured in the center.

SWFBUD organized a bike ride to a budget hearing last month to call attention to the county's plan to close the parks two days a week. Brian and Randy attended that meeting and Brian and SWFBUD Director Alan Snel spoke in favor of the county finding ways to keep the parks open seven days a week.

Commissioner Sharpe invited SWFBUD to meet with him to discuss the matter further.

That's exactly what we did this afternoon as Sharpe spoke of his support for bicycling in Hillsborough County and his efforts to keep the parks open seven days a week.

Stay tuned for more developments.