Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ABC Bicycles and Trek Bicycle Store, St. Petersburg Join SWFBUD

SWFBUD is happy to welcome two St. Petersburg bicycle shops to our bike shop advocacy alliance -- ABC Bicycles on Central Avenue and the Trek Bicycle Store -- St. Petersburg on 4th Street in NE St. Pete.

Both stores are owned by Rick Fidanzato, an ardent bicycle advocate who wants his bike shops to play a big role in Tampa Bay bicycle advocacy and also in local St. Pete community events.

Rick's stores join Bicycle Outfitters, Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, Chainwheel Drive, Just Ride Bicycles, Oliver's Cycle Sports, Street Fit 360, Suncoast Trailside Bicycles, University Bicycle Center, The ironman Store and Trek Bicycle Store in Clearwater and south Tampa.

SWFBUD Interviews Tampa Mayoral Candidate Rose Ferlita

This morning SWFBUD interviewed Tampa mayoral candidate Rose Ferlita about her views on bicycling and how she will approach bicycling as a public policy if elected in March. Here is a summary of today's inteview:

-- "Educating has to be done. Bicyclists and drivers have to respect each other. Bicycles are smaller but they should not be intimidated by motorists. This can't be the case."

-- We have to do traffic calming.

-- Bicycling will be incorporated as transportation policy.

-- "It's embarassing there are so many (car-bike) accidents. And it's not just happenstance."

-- Giving cyclists an ear in local government.

-- You are part of a bigger committee called a transportation department.

-- Rose was disappointed TBARTA did not include bicycling more in its planning. "Bicycling was not a big component -- and it has to be."

-- I was pleased that Rose brought up the topic of enforcement. "Education should be extended to the officers."

-- Rose is tired of reading media stories about bicyclists being killed and injured. "We don't want to be in the news because of that . . . It's a public safety issue."

-- She stressed education.

Monday, November 29, 2010

SWFBUD's Lobbying Pays Off With First Bike Action Plan Workshop Today

TAMPA -- It was a day of bicycle safety ideas at the bicycle safety action plan workshop put on by the Hillsborough/Tampa MPO, which hired the planning/engineering consulting company of Tindale Oliver to lead the workshop.

About 35-40 planners and engineers from the DOT, MPO, Hillsborough County, city of Tampa and Temple Terrace -- along with local bicycle advocates -- gathered to come up with a game plan in response to the uptick in the number of bicyclists who have been killed by motorists in Hillsborough County and Tampa the past four months.

I was there on behalf of SWFBUD and was proud to know that our lobbying efforts with Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe and Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern paid off in both officials prompting their respective governing boards to initiate this bike safety action plan in October.

Much of today's workshop discussion focused on building on what the local governments are doing right now -- more Share the Road signs, more road markings called "Sharows," more education and outreach -- especially to the working-poor bicyclists.

There is a 6-8 PM meeting set for bicyclists and the public to weigh in with their ideas -- tonight's workshop session will be at the Hillsborough County Government Center at 601 Kennedy Ave. in downtown Tampa. Please attend and share your suggestions and ideas.

We bicyclists have to make our voices heard.

More coverage after 8 PM tonight.

Monday, November 22, 2010

SWFBUD Interviews Tampa Mayoral Candidate Thomas Scott on His Bicycle Views

SWFBUD is interviewing Tampa mayoral candidates to get their views on bicycling. The mayoral election is only four months away. Today, SWFBUD caught up with Thomas Scott, current city council chairman and former Hillsborough County Commissioner. Ed Collins, whose dad was killed while riding a bicycle in Tampa on Jily 29, joined me in talking with candidate Scott. Here are the highlights about Scott's views on bicycling if elected mayor:

-- Considers bicycling "a major issue" in light of the rash of recent bicycle deaths in the Tampa Bay area.

-- Will hire a national bicycle expert to identify bike routes.

-- The ciy will puruse grants more agressively for bicycle infrastructure.

-- "It has to be a priority."

-- TV Commercials will be aired to educate car drivers to watch our for bicyclists.

-- Look at including bicycle safety messages in water and energy bills.

-- His grandkids ride bicycles so he's concerned.

-- Educate the working poor about bicycling.

-- Have a public forum like a bicycle summit.

-- Look at bicycling at mobility and a mode of transportation.

-- "We have to make it happen."

Friday, November 19, 2010

NOV 29 Workshops On Bike Safety Action Plan

Don't forget: The Hillsborough County/City of Tampa Bicycle Safety Action Plan will be discussed on Monday NOV 29:

-- 8:30am-4:30pm at the DOT building on McKinley Drive, just south of Fowler Ave.
-- 6-8 PM at the County Center, 601 E. Kennedy.

Karen Kress at the Tampa Downtown Partnership put together a nice flier on the Nov. 29 workshops.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bicycle Safety Workshop Added NOV 29 from 6-8PM

Reminder -- The Bicycle Safety Action Plan Stakeholders Meeting is set for NOV 29 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM at the DOT building on McKinley Drive just south of Fowler Avenue and USF. It's a day-long stakeholder meeting intended to be more technical in nature and requires an RSVP for the limited room available. Please contact Gena Torres at the MPO as possible if you are interested in this meeting.

This just added: A Public Workshop
will then be held that same evening on NOV 29 from 6 pm to 8 pm on the 26th floor of the County Center at 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, Fla. 33602 in downtown Tampa. The MPO wants you to share your ideas and experiences on cycling in our county and what we can do to reduce the alarming crash statistics. Feel free to RSVP for this Public Workshop, but you are welcomed and encouraged to attend either way!

Gena Torres -- (813) 273-3774 x357

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bicycle Safety Action Plan Meeting NOV 29, 8:30am-4:30pm

SWFBUD is proud to have prompted Hillsborough County and Tampa to initiate a bicycle safety action plan and the first meeting is set for NOV 29 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM at the Florida District 7 DOT office on McKinley Avenue, just south of Fowler Ave. and the USF campus.

I realize the meeting is during the day when most people are working but please try and attend to tell local engineers, planners etc. what needs to be done to help bicyclists on the roads and increase public awareness.

I have heard from dozens of bicyclists about the problems around here and now it's your turn to tell people face-to-face what needs to be done.

In a few weeks, there will be also be an evening meeting scheduled as well.

Beth Alden of the MPO tells me that if you attend the Nov 29 meeting to RSVP by Nov 24 (the day before Thanksgiving) to Gena Torres at torresg@plancom.org or 813-273-3774 x357. Seating is limited at this workshop, the primary audience for which is technical staff.

Beth says the MPO is working on getting a larger facility for a meeting with the general public as soon as possible -- possibly in January.

SWFBUD Gets HART To Post 3-Feet Warning Signs On Its Buses

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

SWFBUD's Persistence To Clean Bike Lane Pays Off

It took a while and a few phone calls, but this bike lane showing lots of dirt and sand along Fletcher Avenue about three miles from the USF campus

was finally cleaned up. It's not perfect, but at least the Hillsborough County government road crew returned to Fletcher Avenue and scraped the sand off.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bicycle Media Coverage Growing In Tampa Bay

Tragically, it took bicyclists losing their lives on the roads of Tampa Bay for the media to start covering bicycle conditions in Tampa Bay.

Now, the stories on TV, in the newspaper and on radio come nearly on a daily basis.

SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash 2010 Sunday drew extensive coverage. The St. Pete Times published a story on the front of its Sunday metro section about the Bash and bicycle safety.

TBO's Ken Knight also wrote an item about the Bash on Saturday.

Sunday, Channel 28 ABC Action News, Channel 8 and Channel 13 all sent reporters to talk with bicyclists at the Bicycle Bash.

Here's the Channel 28 Action News report.

Channel 13 came out with this story Sunday.

Josh Green of WFLA-TV did a nice report that I saw last night and I'm still trying to find a Web link for that one.

Creative Loafing also did a report on the Bash.

And WUSF radio offered a report by a young radio reporter who went out biking with her tape recorder on roads around the USF campus.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash 2010 Brings Smiles And Bikes To Flatwoods Today

So many warm memories from SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash 2010 today.

There was retailer David Luppino, who has sold more bicycles than just about anyone in this town, giving people rides on his highwheeler bicycle, And Michael Ploch selling his cute pink "I love my bicycle" T-shirts. And the little girl who biked around Flatwoods' paved seven-mile loop and asked with a smile, "Can I have a prize?" (I gave her an orange-and-black bicycle cap and she responded, "It's Halloween colors."

And Karla Price with city of Tampa trails and Tina Russo from Hillsborough County parks and the rest of the SWFBUD store owners and the SWAMP club and All Children's Hospital doling out free helmets to the kids and Tampa police on bicycles and Clay at American Classic and the SWFBUDDY Awards and a whole day of bicycle purity under a cloudless sky at Flatwoods Park. So many great exhibitors and velo lovers.

I was proud to hold the Bicycle Bash today at Flatwoods Park and I congratulate our presenting sponsor, Cure on Wheels, for holding a successful bike ride for 325 riders also staged in Flatwoods Park. They will present huge checks to Moffit Cancer Center and All Children's Hospital.

The smiles of kids riding bicycles and young adults with tires slung over their shoulder and middle-aged adults testing road bikes and people of all ages relishing a bright sun and crisp feel to the air.

It was a wonderful selling the beauty of bicycling -- in all its forms -- during the first weekend of legitimate fall weather in Tampa Bay.

Thank you to all my volunteers who made the Bicycle Bash 2010 possible -- Margaret, Kate, Donny, Doreen, Michelle, Bill, Jim, Jared, Tanja, Lee and the incomprable Bridget. You all made it possible for the Bicycle Bash to make so many people happy about bicycling today.

Here are some of my favorite photos from today's wonderful day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

See You At The Bicycle Bash Sunday

It's time to celebrate bicycling in Tampa Bay.

Bash Prep Today

I will be at Flatwoods this afternoon working on preparing the Bicycle Bash site. Swing by and say hey.

SWFBUD has adopted the sharrow as our safety symbol and look for vests and shirts with the sharrow at the Bicycle Bash.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

See You At The Bicycle Bash Sunday

Top 10 Reasons to Attend SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash Sunday

10. SWFBUD's 10 Bike Shops will be in the house!

9. For the first time at the Bash, off-road biking. The Bash site borders the Eubanks Trail -- and SWAMP and Trips for Kids will do demos.

8. Free helmets for the kids. All Children's Hospital and More Health will fit kids for helmets.

7. SWFBUDDY Awards will be given to 7 local people for helping bicycling in Tampa Bay.

6. Great exhibitors such as local bicycle wheelmaker American Classic.

5. Finally, fall weather! Sunny with a high in the 70s.

4. Wonderful local bicycle groups, local agencies and clubs will tell you everything you want to know about the local bicycle scene.

3. SWFBUD's 3 lawyers!

2. Great eats -- NOLA Cafe will be in the house serving jambalaya and Buddy Brew Coffee will offering java for the cool morning.

1. Because you love bicycling!

Bicycle Bash Map

If you can, ride a bicycle into the Bicycle Bash at Flatwoods Park on Morris Bridge Road. It's free and you'll get around easily.

If you drive a car to the Bash, you can park in the Bash's remote parking lot at Branchton Park -- just two miles down the road from the Bash and take a free bus shuttle to the Bash. If you drive a car with your bike, you can park at Branchton Park and ride your bike the two miles to the Bash. The county will be charging its normal $2 parking fee at Branchton Park.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

SWFBUD Says Be Vigilant About Your Bicycle Safety

Lisa Davis wrote a cool story in today's Tampa Tribune about being vigilant about bicycle safety with a nice mention of SWFBUD.

This Hurts: MInnesota Congressman and Bicycle Advocate Jim Oberstar Loses After 18 Terms

One of the highlights of attending the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC in March was meeting and chatting with one of the great bicycle lions of Congress -- Congressman Jim Oberstar, who chairs the House's Transportation Committee.

Oberstar has served an amazing 18 terms from Minnesota and is a rousing bicycle supporter whose speeches before the gathered bicycle advocates every year at the National Bike Summit makes for great inspiration.

So you can understand why my jaw dropped this morning when I read that Oberstar -- an 18-term congressman -- lost last night in the Republican storm that blew across the country on Election Day.

Losing Oberstar will hurt -- but that only means other congressional leaders will have to emerge to spark the bicycle movement in Washington.

League of American Bicyclists president Andy Clarke summed it up about losing Oberstar in Congress.

3 Great Bicycle Rides To The Bicycle Bash Sunday

From Seminole Heights: Rolls out promptly at 8:30 am from the Seminole Heights Garden Center, 5800 Central Avenue in Tampa. From Flatwoods, the group will leave for the return leg to the Garden Center at 2:30PM from the SHBC tent. Distance will be roughly 40 miles roundtrip at a pace of 15-17 MPH.

From Palm Harbor/Oldsmar area: Leaves 7:30am and should arrive around 10am. The riders will possibly do a group ride around the 7 mile loop around 10:30am. Then head back to Palm Harbor. Contact is Harry Portellos at hportell@tampabay.rr.com

USF Campus: The Bicycle Club @ USF will be leading a ride from USF from the corner of 50th Street and Holly to Flatwoods Park. Leaving at 9:30am. More info: http://usfbc.blog.usf.edu/

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bicycle Bash Week Is Here!

It's Bicycle Bash Week:

-- Great weather is forecast! Sunny and a high of 73 degrees. Fall will be here just in time for the bash!

-- All Children's Hospital will be in the house giving away helmets for kids.

-- Check out a great array of bikes and gear at all 10 SWFBUD bike shops: Bicycle Outfitters, Just Ride Bicycles, CBE, UBC, Oliver's, Suncoast Trailside Bicycles, Street Fit 360, Chainwheel Drive, Trek Bicycle Store, The Ironman Store

-- Great eats! NOLA Cafe will be supplying the food and Buddy Brew coffee will be offering the java. Celsius will also be an exhibitor.

-- SWFBUDDY Awards will be given to 7 people who have stepped up for bicycling this past year, especially in the past few months.

-- SWFBUD member lawyers Tom Singletary and J. Steele Olmstead will at the Bash and can answer your legal questions about bicycle issues.

-- We have a wonderful group of bicycle exhibitors, groups and organizations on hand to fill you in about bicycling in Tampa Bay.

-- Michael Ploch of Caleb's Creations will be offering bike safety reflective gear with sharrows on safety vests and shirts.

-- Mike Lasche of the Florida Bicycle Association will update people on bicycle legislative issues.

-- And the Bicycle Bash is happy to have Cure on Wheels on hand as out presenting sponsor to several great bike rides.

-- SWAMP and Trips for Kids Tampa will have tons of info on the mountain bike scene and off-road trails!