Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rolling The Bicycle Bash Billboard To St. Petersburg

I promote the Bicycle Bash by the Bay by all means -- including advertising the bicycle festival via the famed Bicycle Bash rolling billboard. This morning I biked from Tampa to St. Pete to promote the Oct. 11 bicycle festival and enjoyed bumping into some old bike pals and spreading the word to the folks in downtown St. Pete today. A tip of the helmet to my bicycle pal Ellen Pierson of the Police Unity Tour, who snapped some photos while I cyclked the Bash-board.

Matt, owner of Tour de Pizza, off 4th Street has a Pizza Diet and keeps in shape by cycling. Matt supports bicycling and is the Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

The famed Boston Bill enjoys posing next to the Bicycle bash billboard in downtown St. Pete today. Boston Bill lost his foot to MRSA but keeps on cycling.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cycling -- The New Golf

Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe went to bat for bicyclists recently when he worked with SWFBUD to keep Hillsborough County's parks open seven days a week and he has also worked behind the scenes to connect the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail.

Commissioner Sharpe believes cycling is the new golf, and that the way to attract high-tech and medical research businesses to Tampa Bay is to support quality-of-life issues and public amenities such as bicycling.

That's why I attended Sharpe's fundraiser last night in Tampa and I urge you to back political leaders and elected officials who support bicycle infrastructure and improving conditions for bicyclists and work to remove politicians who do not have the best interests of bicyclists at heart.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

SWFBUD Speaks at Open Mic Night at Bamboozle Cafe Wednesday

I will be representing SWFBUD next Wednesday at 7:30 PM at Bamboozle Cafe in downtown Tampaand discussing my 10-point plan to improving bicycling around the Tampa area next week at an open mic night event held by the Urban Charrette. The Urban Charrette is a group of eager and intelligent planners, architects, sustainability folks etc. who want to make Tampa a better-designed place to live. The open mic night will focus on greenways and green space.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

SWFBUD's Working On The Bash With A New Bash-board Trailer and Tampa Tribune Preview Coverage

This afternoon the famed Bicycle Bash rolling billboard-trailer got a new sign just in time for this year's event on Oct. 11.

Thank you Tampa Tribune for some nice previews of the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay. The Trib ran this story by Mary Shedden and also this story this afternoon.

SWFBUD's Lobbying Pays Off As Hillsborough County Plans To Start Connection Between Upper Tampa Bay and Suncoast Trails

As you know, SWFBUD lobbied Hillsborough County Commissioners to extend the Suncoast Trail south while county officials work on extending the Upper Tampa Bay Trail north to make the connection between the two trails. Nice to see some progress in the connection between the two trails as this St. Pete Times story explains that ground will be broken in the first part of the connection.

The Times story says that construction of a 4.2-mile stretch running west and south from Lutz-Lake Fern Road and the Suncoast Parkway will begin next spring or summer. Stretching the Upper Tampa Bay Trail northward hit a snag when several homeowners balked at selling easement properties, so the alignment is being altered to run west to Lake Rogers Park and then will cross Gunn Highway again eastward to eventually hook up with the trail. The entire connection will be about 10 miles and this first phase from Lutz-Lake Fern Road will be one of three segments to make the full connection.

When connected into one continuous trail, this paved multi-use path will run 57 miles long and be the longest trail in the state of Florida. Nice to see Hillsborough County can make positive headlines by saying it will be host to Florida's longest trail.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

SWFBUD Appears On A Share The Road Plate Minus The Dub

I tried to give SWFBUD some love on a Share the Road car plate. But with a maximum of five characters that are available, I dropped the "W" so it's SWFBUD minus the dub.

SWFBUD Invites Gov. Charlie Crist To The Bicycle Bash By The Bay

Dear Charlie,

You've hit the jackpot, my friend.

I heard you live in a downtown St. Pete condo, so all you have to do on the morning of Oct. 11 is stumble out of bed, dab a little gel into your lovely hair and saunter over to North Straub Park for the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

The Bicycle Bash is Tampa Bay's bicycle festival and there will be all types of fun bicycle activities for you and the Mrs. to enjoy.

Your pal Rick Baker is getting a SWFBUDdy award for making the 'burg a bicycle-friendly place.

The Columbia Restaurant and Richard Gonzmart will be on hand serving up the paella.

Not sure if you have noticed guv, but more and more Floridians are turning to a bicycle to get around. So if you want those votes for your U.S. Senate race, you might want to mingle a bit with the bicycle enthusiasts who will be hanging out at the Bicycle Bash on Oct. 11 in St. Pete.

Hope you can make it and if you do come, stop by the SWFBUD headquarters tent.

Happy pedaling,


Friday, September 18, 2009

SWFBUD Proudly Hangs the 2009 BBbtB Banner Today

The 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay banner was unveiled today and the first place to hang the banner was the Bicycle Outfitters store on the Pinellas Trail. Stalwarts Matt and Richard of Bicycle Outfitters, one of eight SWFBUD stores, hang out by the BBbtB banner today on the Pinellas Trail. Mark your calendar and circle the date -- October 11 in downtown St. Petersburg for the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SWFBUD Welcomes Tampa's New Police Chief -- Bicyclist and Chief Jane Castor

SWFBUD welcomes Tampa's new police chief -- Jane Castor, who happens to be a big bicyclist.

When I asked the city of Tampa and city police to stop advising bicyclists that it was illegal to bike across the Gandy Bridge (with the TrailBridge closed), it was Castor who contacted me personally to tell me that she would tell the officers that it was legal to pedal across the Gandy Bridge.

This was in response to several bicyclists earlier this year who reported that they were stopped by Tampa city police from crossing the Gandy Bridge.

I hope Chief Castor -- as a bicyclist -- makes sure that her police force enforces the Florida law that requires drivers to give at least a three-foot buffer when passing a bicyclist on the road.

SWFBUD wishes Chief Castor good luck and to keep on cycling.

SWFBUD Releases Tentative Program For the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay

SWFBUD is happy to release the early program of events for the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay, Presented by Cure on Wheels.

11 AM -- Bicycle Bash by the Bay opens.

11 AM-2 PM -- City of St. Petersburg helmet giveaway and bike rodeo

11:15 AM -- Tampa Bike Co-op holds education seminar

11:30 AM
-- Bay Area Association of Dirt Riders (BAADR) holds mountain biking clinic

11: 30 AM -- Tim McClain holds recumbent bicycle/camping demo

11:45 AM -- Bicycle Outfitters bike maintenance demo on fixing flats and making equipment adjustments

12 Noon -- Singer and long-distance cyclist Rachel VanSlyke performs on main stage.

1 PM -- SWFBUD Awards Ceremony

1:30 PM
-- BAADR mountain biking clinic

2 PM -- Rachel VanSlyke performs on main stage

2:30 PM
-- Tim McClain holds recumbent camping demo

2:30 PM -- Tampa Bike Co-op holds bike education demo

3 PM -- BAADR holds mountain biking clinic

3:15 PM
-- Grand drawing for free gifts and gear

4 PM
-- Bicycle Bash by the Bay closes

Thursday, September 10, 2009

SWFBUD Demands Bike Lanes For Cass and Tyler Streets in Downtown Tampa

When SWFBUD heard last Friday that the city of Tampa government staffers were not keen on putting in a bike lane on downtown Tyler and Cass Streets as part of a re-pacving job, I decided right then to appear before the city council today and ask the council to instruct staff to get with the bike lane program.

The city's master plan on trails and greenways lists Tyler and Cass for bike lanes, which should be striped for bike lanes because the roads are being torn up for utility lines. When the road is paved, the bike lanes should go in. As I was told, the coordination of adding bike lanes from the ADOPTED greenway and trails master plan as part of the UCAP/SIAC resurfacing project is a great example of ouir communityu getting ready for light rail..

No brainer, right?

Well, this is the city of Tampa.

So, at this morning's meeting, I asked the council to take action and I'm happy to say at least one council member took action. Council member Linda Saul-Sena fired off this memo today:

Date: September 10, 2009

To: Pam Iorio, Mayor
Chairman Scott & Members of City Council
Steve Daignault, Administrator of Public Works & Utilities Services
Irvin Lee, Director of Public Works

From: Linda Saul-Sena, Council Member

Re: Bike Lanes on Tyler & Cass Streets

At today’s CRA meeting Alan Snel, President of SWFBUD brought to our attention that Tyler & Cass Streets are being re-surfaced and re-stripped with no bike lanes, although Tampa’s Master Plan indicate that they should have bike lanes.

I am sure that this is an oversight. Please address this omission immediately to include bike lanes on Tyler & Cass Streets.

Thank you for your cooperation regarding this matter.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ranger Rick At Flatwoods Says, "Thanks SWFBUD"

I could not have put it better than Ranger Rick.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Award-winning SWFBUD Gang After Getting A National Bicycle Advocacy Award From Trek at Trek World

Icon Gary Fisher joins CBE owner Brian Eckman (left), with Richard of Bicycle Outfitters in Seminole (center) and Geoff Lanier, Suncoast Trailside Bicycles owner (right). CBE manager Manny (in front). SWFBUD Trek dealers that were part of the award were David Luppino's Just Ride Bicycles shop in Riverview and Trek Bicycle Stores in Clearwater and Tampa, owned by David Sanborn.

SWFBUD is on the national radar for its commitment and hard work for bicycle advocacy in the Tampa Bay market. SWFBUD stores also honored this year were University Bicycle Center, recognized by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News as a Top 100 Retailer, and Chainwheel Drive, owned by the dean of Tampa Bay shop owners, Tom Jessup -- a board member of the National Bicycle Dealers Association.

Shop at SWFBUD stores -- they believe and are committed to bicycle advocacy in the Tampa Bay area. They have invested in advocacy and growing bicycling here.

Selmon Crosstown Expressway Bike Trail Idea from South Tampa into Downtown Tampa

Every so often I attend a meeting of bicycle advocates interested in making downtown Tampa more friendly and inviting to bicyclists. Karen Kress of the Tampa Downtown Partnership does a nice job hosting these sessions.

The city of Tampa government has a history of not being very hospitable to cyclists, but that culture is slowly changing as old city staffers who favor only the car in road planning are getting phased out and newer, more progressive staffers with more modern ideas (complete streets approach) about the bicycle are slowly phased in. But it's going to take a while until the dinosaurs are gone.

Today from 12 noon to 1:30 pm I had the chance to watch a terrific presentation made by Tampa HOK architects Anna Vasquez and Nico Stearly, who unveiled a proposal to build a multi-use trail below the Selmon Crosstown Expressway toll highway from south Tampa into downtown.

It would offer a terrific way for bike commuters to pedal into downtown and points north to USF, for example, while taking advantage of a corridor that has potential for enhancement. You can get more details about Anna and Nico's plan at a blog post here.

Anna and Nico are still putting meat on the bones of this trail system proposal and are seeking funding sources, so stay tuned for more details. SWFBUD likes this idea because it's consistent with its 10-point bicycle plan for enhancing bicycling in Tampa/Hillsborough County by having bicycle trails leading into downtown.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SWFBUD's Top 10 Suggestions To Improve Bicycling In Tampa/Hillsborough County

I appeared before the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Board this morning to offer a SWFBUD Top 10 suggestions to make the Tampa/Hillsborough area the Portland of the East Coast.

1. Attitude -- Elected officials need to expand their perspective that the bicycle is solely a leisure tool. We must see the bicycle as a transportation tool and adopt a complete streets approach to roads where bicycling and pedestrian use is mixed into road design and building. For too long, the city of Tampa government has held an institutional belief that bicycling is a leisure activity and not part of a transportation plan.

2. Trails -- The inventory of bicycle infrastructure should include trails as bicycle highways into downtown. Build trails along the Hillsborough River and the By-pass canal from Morris Bridge Road to serve as bicycle commuter highways into downtown Tampa. See city of Denver where bike trails along the Platte River and Cherry Creek lead into downtown.

3. Widen Roads -- Key narrow roads such as Livingston and Westshore need to be widened so that bicycles can have a shoulder or a bike lane. The DOT has done road widening work on US 92 from Tampa to Plant City to make it better for bicycles.

4. Read Jeff Mapes' Pedaling Revolution -- Jeff is a Portland Oregonian newspaper reporter whose book shows the best cities are ones that people get around by ways other than a car and that bicycle infrastructure is much cheaper than constantly building wider roads for cars.

5. Create a City of Tampa Bicycle Czar position -- The city of Tampa government is rudderless on bicycle infrastructure. A government staffer needs to shepherd bicycle lane projects to completion, make sure the city complies with its bike lane master plan and represents bicyclist and pedestrian concerns. See city of St. Petersburg's bicycle/ped program.

6. Recognize bicycle-friendly buildings and businesses -- Give awards to downtown buildings and businesses in the county that designate inside space for bicycle storage, lockers and showers. SWFBUD gave the first award to the Tampa City Center for its bicycle-friendly building this year.

7. South Tampa to USF -- Designate a bike route for people to bike from South Tampa to USF. And make sure all light rail has bicycle infrastructure support such as bicycle racks and secure lockers and light rail cars allowing bikes on board.

8. Bayshore Blvd. -- Pave and have bike lanes along the entire stretch of Bayshore from Platt to Gandy. There has been talk about this for years. Make it happen now.

9. Start connecting with bicyclists -- City and County elected representatives, officials and planners need to start connecting with bicyclists by going out on rides and increasing awareness. They need to get of the offices and meetings, stop using technical planning jargon that average people do not relate to and start connecting with everyday bicyclists.

10. The bicycle plans are here. Start enacting them -- Planning agencies have bicycle infrastructure plans in place, It's time for elected officials to show political will and start putting the plans into action.