Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BRAINy Award To Be On Display At SWFBUD Stores During The Next 9 Months

The national BRAINy Award -- given this year to SWFBUD for our bicycle store alliance's bicycle advocacy work in Tampa Bay -- will be on display at SWFBUD's nine stores through the next nine months.

Be on the lookout for the BRAINy Award, which is given by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News -- the trade publication that covers the bicycle business. Here is the BRAINy Award schedule:

November -- Bicycle Outfitters
December -- Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium
January -- Chainwheel Drive
February -- Just Ride Bicycles
March -- Oliver's Cycle Sports
April -- StreetFit 360
May -- Suncoast Trailside Bicycles
June -- Trek Bicycle Store
July -- University Bicycle Center

The award will be accompanied by the following framed message:

"You’re shopping at a “SWFBUD” member bicycle store. SWFBUD stands for South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers – an alliance of Tampa Bay bike shops committed to bicycle advocacy, lobbying local governments for improved bicycle infrastructure and putting on the annual Bicycle Bash event to celebrate bicycling.

"SWFBUD’s bicycle advocacy work has garnered national recognition. In 2009, the magazine that covers the bicycle industry – Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) – gave a prestigious BRAINY award to SWFBUD for its advocacy work.

"Rest assured that this store has your back when it comes to bicycle advocacy and supporting the rights of bicyclists in the Tampa Bay region. Find out more about SWFBUD at www.swfbud.blogspot.com or contact SWFBUD Director Alan Snel at alansnel@yahoo.com."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

SWFBUD Has a New 11th Member

I'm happy and proud to announce that we have a new member of SWFBUD.

Street Fit 360, a retail bicycle dealer on Gandy Blvd. in Tampa, has joined SWFBUD. SWFBUD now has 11 members, including nine retail bicycle stores.

I met Jana and Andy Clark, owners of Street Fit 360, after I represented SWFBUD at public meetings this summer regarding the fate of the Friendship TrailBridge.

They are true bicycle advocates and Jana and Andy support SWFBUD's efforts to make the Tampa Bay area a more bicycle-friendly market. They look forward to working on bicycle issues to grow bicycling in this area.

Check out their store's web sites at www.streetfit360.com and www.RRstepper.com

Tampa Government Believes Bicycle Safety Features Such as Bike Lanes Are "Non-Essential"

SWFBUD supported the Tampa Downtown Partnership's request that bike lanes be striped as part of the installataion of utility lines on Cass and Tyler streets in downtown Tampa because Cass and Tyler are on the city's master plan for lanes.

Here's why the city of Tampa government did not stripe bike lanes on Cass and Tyler streets in downtown Tampa -- even though Cass and Tyler are on the city's master plan for bike lanes -- as part of the recent UCAP utility road project.

Notice how the city of Tampa government believes safety facilities such as bike lanes are "non-essential." (Reason 3 below).

Mr. Snel,

Thank you for your interest in the development of bike lanes along Tyler and Cass streets in downtown Tampa. The City, the Tampa Downtown Partnership (TDP) and the UCAP team met several times to discuss the possibility of creating the bike lanes as desired by the TDP. Unfortunately, the City will not be able to establish the bike lanes as requested. The reasons for this decision are as follows:

1) The pipeline alignment in the roadways moved between the south to the north side of the street, meaning that the restoration would also change lanes. As a result, there would not be an area of consistent restoration to tie in the bike lanes.

2) Timing for the respective projects was not conducive to linking the projects together.

3) Economic conditions make it very challenging for the City to undertake any "non-essential" projects at this time.

The City, the TDP and the UCAP team remain committed to work together on projects such as this and will continue to look for opportunities to do so in the future. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.


Wendy Nero
Vice President

4350 W. Cypress Street
Suite 600
Tampa, FL 33607

Friday, October 16, 2009

"What Can I Do?"

SWFBUD represents the voices of bicyclists in the Tampa Bay area and people ask me all the time, "What can I do to help" the bicyclist cause in Tampa?

As you know, Tampa has one of the worst reputations in the country for being unfriendly to bicyclists and pedestrians.

People want change.

But how do you get it?

Well, first you have to let the city of Tampa government hear your voice.

The city has a nice Web site to log on to for the purpose of documenting problems.

It's the customer service center form and you can get it here.

I submitted this today.

Feel free to send in yours.

"Dear Tampa,

"The city's master plan for trails indicates bike lanes on Cass and Tyler streets in downtown Tampa.

"There is a utility project to install new utility lines on Cass and Tyler, yet I have learned the city will not stripe bike lanes on Cass and Tyler when those roads are repaved.

"Why is the city not complying with its own trails master plan and failing to put in bike lanes on Cass and Tyler when you repave those roads?

"As you know, independent reports cite Tampa as one of the most bicycle-unfriendly cities in the country and installing bike lanes on streets that are specifically designated for bike lanes under master plans would help Tampa shake this most negative reputation.

"I look forward to your response."

HOK Blog Post on SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash from Oct. 11

Nico Stearley, an architect at HOK architects in Tampa, participated in the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay, Presented by Cure on Wheels, and did a nice blog post for HOK.

You can read Nico's post here.

Nico and her comrade at HOK, Anna Vasquez, are both bicycle commuters who have drafted an urban greenway proposal that would run underneath the current Selmon Crosstown Highway and serve as a trail in the shadow of the expressway.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bicycle Lovers Share Their Favorite Photos From SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash by the Bay

I didn't get around the Bicycle Bash by the Bay festival as much as I had hoped on Sunday, so it was only after looking at photographs taken by other folks did I realize how truly diverse the bicyclists were who attended the BBbtB.

It's one of the things I'm proud about, regarding the Bicycle Bash by the Bay. That it's a true cross-section of roadies, mountain bikers, cruisers, fixed-gears, recumbents, trikes and even tall bikes with ages ranging from 1-90.

SWFBUD is proud to hold the Bicycle Bash by the Bay every year. And besides the photos I took that are available on the previous post, I wanted to share with you highlights of other photo displays taken by other folks.

Bridget took a boatload of photos, and I tried the best I could to pick the best of the best of her photos when I posted them on my Bicycle Stories blog. Here was my favorite of Bridget's photos.

Then, there's Jack Sweeney, the famed Ghost Rider, who posted a terrific series of photos on his bikecommuters.com Web site.

And Ken Sturrock, another Seminole Heights Bicycle Club member and a member of the Hillsborough Bicycle-Ped Advisory Committee, sent me his photos, including some great environmental shots of the Bicycle Bash setting in downtown St. Petersburg.

One of Ken's nice shots.

If you have Bicycle Bash by the Bay photographs you'd like to share, send them to me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash A Big Hit Today In Downtown St. Pete

Today's Bicycle Bash by the Bay was all about celebrating bicycling in Tampa Bay.

SWFBUD puts on the Bicycle Bash by the Bay -- Tampa Bay's bicycle festival -- to shine a light on cycling,

But when I spoke to people at the Bash today at North Straub Park, I said it's important to have fun with bicycles but at the end of the day we were there to speak out politically about gaining a bigger bite of the infrastructure pie for bicyclists.

So we had great fun with terrific exhibitors but we also included a SWFBUDdy Award program to recognize the pro-bicycle work of political leaders. The fact the cities and counties that flourish are the ones that embrace bicycling and build roads and trails designed to be hospitable for bicyclist

When you shop at a SWFBUD bicycle store, you're suppoting bicycle advocacy in the Tampa. And SWFBUD makes a difference. Besides putting on the Bicycle Bash by the Bay, we worked with Commissioner Mark Sharpe to keep the county's parks open seven days a week. Adam Beland of Bicycle Outfitters is emblematic of the SWFBUD bike shop owner who cares about cycling and getting people on bikes.

Geoff Lanier, owner of Suncoast Trailside Bicycles, is also another SWFBUD shop owner who had a terrific booth today -- he had different photos and bicycles showing the various categories of cycling.

Now that's a fat tire.

Rachel VanSlyke sang her heart out. Only a year and a half ago I met Rachel in the Polk County city if Dundee on US 27 in a shopping plaza. Rachel was biking from Miami to Montreal playing gigs along the way and had a flat tire. I helped you fix her tire, then biked 10 or 12 miles north on US 27 with her.

It was wonderful that Rachel could come from her home in South Carolina to sing at the Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

The Seminole Heights Bicycle Club, fresh off its command performance in a story that ran in Bicycling Magazine, offered Rachel the club tent when she sang at 2 pm for her second set.

Polo, anyone?

That's a good-looking tri right there.

I was honored today to hand out SWFBUDdy Awards to Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, St. Petersburg City Council Chairman Jeff Fanner, Tampa City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena and crossing guard Denise Rigali.

SWFBUD was especially happy to recognize the work of Denise Rigali, an everyday person like you or me who bought 12 bikes for kids.

Cheryl Stacks, the city of St. Petersburg's bicycle/pedestrian coordinator, won a nice award from the Florida Bicycle Association.

It's not every day kids ride a bicycle, hop off the bicycle and start doing dance routines on a dance floor. But you saw that at the Bicycle Bash by the Bay, where the 4-H Bicycle Brigade led by Gina Hunter pictuired here danced up a storm.

We had the sidecar cyclist.

Check out the kiddo pedaling the bike on the rollers to make a smoothie.

This little fella was cycling a pushcart made for pizza.

I'm always amazed that an hour after the Bicycle Bash closes the park returns to its former quiet self.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tune In At 4 PM To 1010-AM For Bicycle Bash Chat On The Radio

I'll be cycling the Bicycle Bash by the Bay billboard trailer this afternoon to downtown Tampa to talk about Sunday's Bicycle Bash with radio sportscaster JP Peterson. I'll be on JP's radio sports show at 4 PM to chat with JP about the Bicycle Bash. The show is remote from Splitsville in Channelside.

JP's radio show is on 1010-AM.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Speaking Out For Bicyclists

Thank you Urban Charrette for inviting me to speak Wednesday night at Bamboozle Cafe about what we can do together to improve bicycling in the Tampa Bay area. As you can tell, if my legs are not in motion my arms will be.

No. 1 piece of advice: Let's get political.

For too long, bicyclists in the Tampa Bay area -- and specifically Tampa -- have been politically shy about asking for what I believe is a fair share of the infrastructure pie for bicyclists.

Bicycling is a legitimate, if not preferred, form of transportation around the world, and many cities in this country routinely include bicycling in its transportation plans.

Such cities include big cities like New York and Chicago -- and smaller cities, too, such as Davis, Calif. and Boulder, Co. They all have terrific bicycle plans.

But not the city of Tampa. Mayor Pam Iorio is a pleasant woman and likable politician who given us more lip service than actual infrastructure such as bike lanes on roads and off-road bike trails.

Let your voice be heard at city council meetings and tell the mayor you want a city that's safer for bicyclists.

See you at the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay festival on Oct. 11.