Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2 SWFBUD Stores Host Tour de France Events

There are lots of big-time international sports going on -- the World Cup in South Africa and Wimbledon in Londson and that little bike race in July in France called the Tour de France.

I have been informed that two SWFBUD bike shops -- Just Ride Bicycles and Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium -- are having fun Tour-related rides and activities at their stores.

On Saturday July 3, Just Rude Bicycles is hosting a 56-mile road ride from the bike shop, located at 13431 Fishhawk Blvd. in Lithia. The ride will head to the Oasis store in Manatee County and return. The wride starts 7 am with an 18-20 mph pace.

Just Ride Bicycles, owned by David and Jodi Luppino, will also have food and drinks at the shop all day on Saturday from 10 am-5 pm and invite you to watch the Tour. Lots of items are on sale. And those who do the ride get a free radio Shack waterbottle. Call David at 813-381-3907 for more info.

Over at Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, owner Brian Eckman also has some fun Tour activities. On Sunday July 11, CBE is having a Tour ride at 7:30 am, with two loop options-- a 27-miler and a 42-miler. Both will be at an intermediate 18-19 mph pace.

The long route will go to Safety Harbor for a quick stop at Starbucks, then back.
After the ride, there will be lots of French-themed refreshments and snacks, with the Tour de France on both of the store's TVs at 14407B North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. Call Brian at CBE at 813-063-5765 for more info.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Independence From Oil Bike Ride Set For July 4th

Independence From Oil Bike Ride -- 8 AM Sunday July Fourth from Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park -- 11 and 24 miles. It's free and an easy pace of 12-24 mph.

SWFBUD Supports July Fourth Bike Rides -- Independence From Oil Bike Rides

Two great bike rides are set for the Fourth of July to celebrate our independence and independence from oil. One is 11 miles and the other is 24 miles and they start from downtown Tampa.

My friend Jose Menendez came up with the idea of having a bike ride on the Fourth of July to show our independence from oil in light of the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf.

The rides start at 8 AM Sunday at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa and are easy, fun rides at about 12-14 mph along Bayshore and also across the Gandy Bridge.

Here is Jose's press release:

TAMPA, FL (June 26, 2010) - The massive oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is only the most glaring example of the dangers of America's unquenchable thirst for oil. With images of the ongoing disaster on TV every day, the environmental (and other) benefits of using bicycles for transportation have never been clearer.

Bicycling is a clean, sustainable mode of transportation that produces no pollution. It's also fun, practical, especially for shorter trips, and it improves health and fitness. By using bicycles, people can save a lot of money annually on gasoline, diesel fuel, motor oil, etc. Most importantly, using bicycles doesn't require that billions of barrels of oil a year be pumped out of the ground and shipped around the world -- with the constant risk of a disastrous leak or spill.

To encourage people to try bicycle commuting, local cycling advocates, joined by SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), have declared Sunday, July 4, 2010, "Independence from Oil Day." To declare their own independence, people should leave their motor vehicles at home that day and use bicycles (or walk) to get around.

To help celebrate the day, there will be two "Declare Your Independence from Oil" bicycle rides, starting that morning from Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on Ashley Dr. (between Zack and Twiggs Streets) in downtown Tampa. Both rides will start at 8 a.m., but riders should try to arrive at the park between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m.*

The shorter ride (click here for a route map -- will be about 11 miles long and will go down scenic Bayshore Blvd. to Ballast Point Park, then head back to downtown.

The longer ride (route map -- will be about 24.5 miles long and will also go to Ballast Point Park, then west on Gandy Blvd. and across the Gandy Bridge, turning back after reaching the Pinellas side of the bridge.

Declare your independence this 4th of July, and help free yourself and your country from its costly and dangerous addiction to oil.

(Since the theme of the event is "independence from oil," participants are encouraged to ride their bicycles from home to downtown Tampa. To find a more bike-friendly route to get there, people can use the bicycle directions feature on Google Maps.)

*All participants in this event assume responsibility for their own actions and safety. By participating, they agree to absolve all organizers and sponsors of the event of all blame and liability for any harm, injury, or loss that may result from participating in the event. All bicyclists must wear a bicycle helmet and ride a bicycle in good operating condition.

Monday, June 21, 2010

SWFBUD Says RIP Britt Hardy, Friend Of Bicyclists At The Florida DOT

Only a few weeks ago I was chatting bicycling with a friendly Midwestern guy who also happened to be a road engineer and designer for the local Florida Department of Transportation office.

Britt Hardy, who loved to commute on his receumbent bicycle from his Brandon area home to the DOT office in Tampa, was talking about roads in Hillsborough County he loved to bike on. We were both sharing pizza and soda pop at a party at Splitsville held by the Tampa BayCycle folks.

Britt was a vital voice for bicyclists at the DOT, not exactly known as a bastion of bicycle progressive thinking.

So I was saddened deeply after I came home this afternoon from a county bicycle map meeting to learn that Britt our DOT bicyclist had died only two days ago on Saturday.

The Tampa Bay area lost a champion for bicyclists and I will allow Scott Collister of the local DOT office to elaborate:

"It is with great sorrow that we share with you that our Design and District Seven family has lost a cherished employee and friend. Mr. George Britton Hardy passed away on Saturday, June 19, 2010. Britt was an exceptional family man who always shared stories about his family and their dinner table lectures with his district family. Britt was very active at his church, Nativity Catholic in Brandon, as a member of the church choir and as a key player in planning and executing their annual community “Novemberfest”.

"Britt joined the district team on May 20, 2005 as the District Roadway Design Engineer and built a strong roadway production section for District Seven. Britt was well respected by Central Office design staff, and the consultants he worked with for his engineering judgment and practical approach to design challenges. Britt shared his culinary skills during the Thursday Roadway Design breakfasts with us, with the aroma from his cooking lingering for everyone to envy.

"Britt enjoyed commuting to work on his bicycle. He was truly a champion of bicycle lanes and pedestrian facilities, and he was always ready to cite the Florida Statutes regarding pedestrians and bicyclists to district staff and consultant engineers. He enjoyed his annual fishing trips to upstate NY for salmon and reuniting with lifelong friends.

"He is survived by his wife, Marianne, children Aaron, Stephanie and David, three grandchildren, and his mother and sisters.

"He will be dearly missed by everyone who was fortunate to have known him."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thank You Hillsborough Sheriff's For Bicycle Safety Messages

SWFBUD thanks Troy Morgan of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for using bicycle safety messages as part of portable electronic signs on Fletcher Avenue near I-75 and also on North Dale Mabry Highway in the Northdale area. I contacted local governments and law enforcement agencies last month about using their portable signs to get bicycle safety messages such as share the troad and pass bikes with at least 3 feet to the public. Troy of HCSO was the FIRST to use the electronic signs to help bicyclists. I hope Tampa and Temple Terrace police departments and also local governments do the same with their portable electronic signs.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bicycle Bash Posters Through The Years

It's hard to believe SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash is in its fifth year in 2010. Through the years, we have had talented poster designers offer their skills to come up with attractive posters. This year, Steve Turner has stepped up and provided our primary and secondary posters.

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In 2009, the talented velo-loving Chip Haynes of Clearwater came up with this poster. We moved the Bicycle Bash to North Straub Park, around the corner from Vinoy Park, in downtown St. Pete.

And Sara Quinn, a talented and gifted designer at the Poynter Institute, created this cool poster as well for the 2009 event.

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In 2008, Steve Turner, my Seminole Heights neighbor and a designer at the Tampa Tribune, came up with these two Bicycle Bssh posters to complement Chip's poster work. The Bicycle Bash was at Vinoy Park again.

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In 2007, SWFBUD moved the Bicycle Bash to Vinoy Park on St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront and the Chip did the first of his Bicycle Bash poster.

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In 2006, I worked with David Luppino -- then-owner of Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium -- to put on the first Bicycle Bash. It was held on the plaza outisde of the St. Pete Times Forum in downtown Tampa before a Sunday afternoon Lightning game.