Wednesday, December 28, 2011

SWFBUD Works With Reps Cruz and Harrison To Build BAM Network

By Alan Snel
SWFBUD Director
(South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers)

Democrats and Republicans don't agree on much these days but when it comes to local, back yard issues, SWFBUD has been able to unite Democratic state legiuslator Janet Cruz and Republican state legislator Shawn Harrison behind a SWFBUD initiative -- building the BAM Network.

The BAM stands for "Bicycle Area Mobility" and it centers on SWFBUD's idea to get Tampa and Hillsborough County to partner on building a regional paved trail system that would unite the Tampa Bypass Canal Trail, the South Coast Greenway and the Selmon Greenway into one comprehensive highway system for bicyclists. The tri-trail BAM Network would interface with roads with bike lanes like Fletcher Avenue and also HART bus routes.

Cruz and Harrison both attended the SWFBUD Bicycle Bash festival at beautiful Flatwoods Park on Nov. 6 and support bicycling. Rep. Harrison rode his bicycle with his son during the Bicycle Bash, while Rep. Cruz gave a speech at the Bash supporting bicycling in Tampa,

Bicycling transcends politics. Which is why SWFBUD sat down with Rep. Harrison recently to garner his support for the BAM Network. Rep. Cruz has backed the idea of paving a trail along the Bypass Canal Trail and making it part of the bigger BAM Network.

Rep. Harrison came up with the idea of co-writing a letter with Rep. Cruz supporting thr BAM Network and getting our local state legislators on both sides of the aisle in Tampa Bay to co-sign the letter that SWFBUD plans to share with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the Tampa City Council members and the Hillsborough County Commissioners. Commissioner Mark Sharpe is already a big advocate of the BAM Network and wants to see it built.

SWFBUD thanks Reps. Harrison and Cruz for stepping up and agreeing to co-write this BAM Network letter and for getting the local state legislator delegation to support SWFBUD's multi-trail system idea in Hillsborough County.

The BAM consists of three trails that would make up more than 30 miles of paved trails to provide effective transportation and a safe haven for our many local bicyclists.

The BAM can't be built fast enough as three more Tampa Bay bicyclists were killed by motorists in three days over the Christmas holiday weekend.

SWFBUD is already making strides with the BAM. SWFBUD has successfully lobbied the local MPO to conduct a feasibility study of the Tampa Bypass Canal Trail crossings, while the South Coast Greenway is in the MPO's 2035 Long Range Plan. The MPO has already had an open house for a consultant to preview the Selmon Greenway, too.

SWFBUD is asking you to also support the construction of all three trails as a cohesive unit and network of paved trails in Hillsborough County and Tampa that would interface with local road bike lanes and HART routes. As you know, the Hillsborough/Tampa area has a high bicyclist fatality rate and bicyclists need safe places to ride their vehicles.

SWFBUD offers several benefits of the BAM Network:

Economic impact: A trio of bicycle paths in Orange County, Fla. pumps $42 million into the local economy annually and supports 516 jobs, according to a study conducted by the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council.,0,3028584.story

Tourism: Trails promote Florida tourism.

Health benefits: Bicycling is a great exercise that promotes wellness and fitness.

Jobs creation: Studies show trail projects create more jobs per dollar than roads.

Please write emails to your local elected officials asking them to support the BAM Network and attend public meetings to support the BAM. Let's turn Tampa and Hillsborough County around and go from worst to first in bicycle safety and bicyclist enjoyment.

SWFBUD Mourns The Deaths of 3 Bicyclists In 3 Days In Tampa Bay

The Christmas weekend in Tampa Bay was a deadly one for bicyclists.

A bicyclist was killed Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- three dead bicyclists in three days.

Motorists killed bicyclists on both sides of the Bay.

Friday in St. Petersburg: A motorist was charged with DUI manslaughter for the Friday hit-and-run death of a bicyclist in St. Petersburg. The driver of the motorized vehicle killed the bicyclist at 2:15 am. Read the Times story here.

Saturday near Brandon: A Plant City bicyclist riding his bike across U.S. 301 just north of State Road 60 was killed by a pickup at 6:40 am Saturday near Brandon. Read the Trib story here.

Sunday in Dover in Hillsborough County: A hit-and-run motorist killed a bicyclist on Sydney Dover Road at 6 pm Sunday. Read the Times story here.

The stories are breaking news items with not too much information. But if you look at the times of the motorists striking and killing the bicyclists, you will see that there was little or no daylight -- Friday at 2:15 am, Saturday at 6:40 am and Sunday at 6 pm.

This a reminder to light you and your bicycle up like a Christmas tree or a menorah so that you have the best chance to be seen by motorists when the daylight is dwindling or non-existent.

In two of the three cases this weekend, the motorist struck and killed bicyclists and drove away. That gives you a little sense of the character of the motorists around here.

In 2010, there were a dozen bicyclists killed by motorists in Hillsborough and with the two killed bicyclists in Hillsborough over the holiday weekend, the 2011 bicyclist death number hit eight. In 2011, the Pinellas County bicyclist death count hit 10 with the hit-and-run DUI manslaughter case in St. Petersburg.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Tampa First: A Share the Road Sign Appears On Bayshore Blvd.

Dreams really come true in Tampa. Look what I saw this morning on Bayshore Blvd.

A Share the Road sign. Whoa nellie!

For years, SWFBUD has implored the city of Tampa to re-pave the city's signature road and include bike lanes from the Platt Street Bridge to Gandy.

The road was not a pleasant experienced for bicyclists. The concrete sections gave bicyclists a "ka-thunp, ka-thump, ka-thump" rolling experience. A bike lane disappeared on the downtown-bound side of the road. And motorists still move too fast.

But after years of SWFBUD lobbying, the city of Tampa government is adding bike lanes as part of an initial re-surfacing project from Rome Ave. to the Platt Street Bridge.

And the Share the Road sign was added on Bayshore after Rome.

Hope there are more Share the Road signs around Tampa.

Friday, December 16, 2011

TBARTA Has A Bike Lock-up Area -- Finally

For years, I found it ironic that a regional Tampa Bay transportation agency called TBARTA never had a bike rack in front of its building. That's because I consider bicycling great transportation and just wish the people who work at regional transportation planning would join me in telling our elected leaders to fund bicycle transportation projects like regional paved trail systems and bike lanes that form a network.

TBARTA is the same agency that at the start didn't show bicycles in its materials or slide shows and didn't have bicycles as part of a rendering showing downtown Tampa transportation center to a Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

I remember about three or four years ago Karen Kress, the super bicycle lady of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, spoke to the TBARTA board about an issue and ended her chat with a suggestion that the transportation agency have a bike rack in front of its building.

For years, this agency located at the USF campus off Fowler Avenue never had a bike rack.

Even my emails didn't spark TBARTA to have a bike rack.

But I am a member of the Hillsborough/Tampa Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee and a few months I made a motion that our BPAC Chair Jim Shirk send a BPAC letter to TBARTA asking for a bike rack.

So just two days ago at our December BPAC meeting I saw a surprise -- a letter from TBARTA saying it has a bike rack.

I stopped by the TBARTA building at the USF Connect building Thursday and didn't see a bike rack out front but there were these bike lock-up hoops behind the building.

And because this is Tampa, you take what you can -- even if the bike lock-up area is behind the buulding and not in front.

Chainwheel Drive Donates Bikes For Kids Next Week

SWFBUD stores are always doing good deads.

Take Chainwheel Drive in Clearwater and Palm Harbor, for example.

Dottie Jessup tells me Chainwheel Driuve is involved in a holiday bicycle donation for kids and that on Wednesday, December 21, at 5:30 pm Jim Dodson Law and Chainwheel Drive will present the bikes to the kids who have been chosen to receive their first bikes.

The presentation will take place at Chainwheel Drive in Clearwater.

"We can't wait to see the kids faces when they come into our bike shop and see their bikes lined up all in a row with big red bows on each one," Dottie says.

Well done Chainwheel Drive.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Florida DOT Removes Graphic Video From Its Web site

Well, that didn't take long -- the Florida Department of Transportation has removed a graphic and inflammatory video from its so-called pedestrian-bicyclist safety campaign web site created by the Troy Dunn advertisement company less than a month after the DOT issued a press release about the safety campaign.

Months ago, SWFBUD warned the DOT that the Troy Dunn advertisement company's content was inflammatory and distorted because it blamed only pedestrians and bicyclists for getting hit and killed by motorists, but failed to hold motorists accountable for their actions.

SWFBUD believes bicyclists MUST be educated about safely riding their vehicles on roads. But we also believe motorists must be held accountable, too -- something the local DOT safety staffers and the Troy Dunn advertisement company failed to accomplish in its safety campaign.

The web site originally showed a highly graphic video on its home page that showed images collected off the internet of motorists smashing into pedestrians, with the pedestrians going flying. The scenes show pedestrians walking in front of cars and getting smashed, but I guess the Troy Dunn advertisement company couldn't find the videos of the two car drivers racing down Fletcher Avenue in Tampa and killing bicyclist Robert Niedbalec who was pedaling in a bike lane in February or the red-light-running driver who killed bicyclist Diane Vega at Spruce and Himes on Oct. 1, 2010.

The DOT wanted something attention-grabbing in the campaign because, according to the DOT PR spokeswoman, the conventional Share the Road messages are too "vanilla."

Apparently, the graphic video hatched by the Troy Dunn advertisement company was too inappopriate for the DOT.

So, the web site shows another video on its home page showing elephants and tanks on a downtown street, scaring pedestrians and a bicyclist.

SWFBUD also opposes that video because it reinforces the stereotype that roads are only for cars at a time when we are working to show the public that the roads are for everyone -- not just cars but for bicylists and pedestrians, too.

In previous St. Pete Times stories on this DOT bicycle-ped campaign, Florida Bicycle Association Executive Director Tim Bustos expressed his concerns about this DOT campaign. Andy Clarke, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists, also opposes this inflammatory DOT-Dunn campaign that does little to instruct people on how we all as motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians can safely co-exist on local roads.

The local DOT safety staffers in Tampa did not consult with the local Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee or the Florida Bicycle Association about presenting safety content in this campaign.

The local DOT safety staffers believe pedestrians and bicyclists cause their accidents and they're the ones who need to be addressed in a campaign.

Without contacting the Florida Bicycle Association, the DOT-Dunn campaign stated this on its web site: "According to a published guide from the Florida Bicycle Association, bicyclists are at fault in seventy percent of all police-reported crashes because they violated traffic rules."

FBA's Bustos said the DOT-Dunn web site distorted the information.

SWFBUD, like most bicycle organizations, believes it's split about 50-50 between bicyclists and motorists regarding who causes accidents. The local DOT pays for a local agency to run pedestrian and bicyclist safety programs and SWFBUD supports that -- but how come there is no DOT initiative to also educate motorists on how they need to share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians? There are WalkWise and BikeSmart programs but what about a program to make motorists smarter or wiser and to teach motorists how to drive in a new world where roads are for everyone?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

SWFBUD Thanks HCSO For Arresting Drivers Who Killed Bicyclist

Dear Sheriff Gee and Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office,

On behalf of SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), I want to thank you and your staff for arresting the drivers who were connected to the death of bicyclist Robert Niedbalec, a Temple Terrace resident who was killed while he rode his bicycle in a bike lane on Fletcher Avenue on a Sunday afternoon on Feb. 13 at 1:46 pm.

As you know, Hillsborough County suffered a string of tragic bicyclist deaths and an important element is arresting and prosecuting motorists who engage in reckless and lawless behavior that lead to bicyclist deaths.

I appreciate your efforts and please continue your hard work and committed efforts. Please pass our appreciation to the State Attorney's Office as well for their efforts.

All the best,

Alan Snel

Thursday, November 10, 2011

SWFBUD Talks Bicycling With Tampa Bay Partnership

SWFBUD talked with the Tampa Bay Partnership during the Bicycle Bash Sunday about the the value and importance of bicycling in Tampa Bay.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mayor Buckhorn Talks Bicycling While Bicycling

SWFBUD interviewed Mayor Buckhorn during the 2011 Bicycle Bash Festival Sunday.

Plus, check out the Bash photos:

SWFBUD celebrated bicycling in Tampa Bay with its 5th annual Bicycle Bash Festival at Flatwoods Park. The venue was a former parking lot tucked between Flatwoods' 7-mile loop at the "Y" water station and a mountain bike trail and woods.

Gorgeous weather, a wonderful crowd of more than 2,000 and a super mix of bicyclists made for another memorable Bash.

It included Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn leading a bike ride around the 7-mile loop and a host of cool bike activities and groups.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Channel 10 Bike Story Hits Close To Home

Channel 10 did a touching story on Genevieve Almodovar, who is overseeing the kids arts and crafts program at the Bicycle Bash to honor the memory of her mom Diane Vega. A red light runner killed Diane while she was on her bike commute home from work on Oct. 1, 2010.

Bike Bash Ahead!

Thank you Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for placing this sign on Morris Bridge Road just east of I-75 to tell everyone about the Bicycle Bash at fabulous Flatwoods Park Sunday.

Tampa Police did the same on Bruce B. Downs for the other entrance into Flatwoods. Thanks go out to Tampa's John Newman for that sign.

I spent this afternoon laying out the Bash site and all systems go for a full day of celebrating bicycling in Tampa Bay Sunday.

County parks at Flatwoods led by Kevin Church, Eddie, The Grizz, Ranger Rick and the whole crew have been wonderful. See you guys bright and early tomorrow. Enjoy your extra hour of sleep

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Creative Loafing Previews Sunday's Bicycle Bash

Thank you Julie Garisto at Creative Loafing for doing a wonderful job previewing the Bicycle Bash in the magazine's "do this" section on page 5.

Creative Loafing also wrote a cover story two months ago on SWFBUD's BAM Network idea for a regionwide paved trail system in Hillsborough County/Tampa. See you Sunday.

SWFBUD Bicycle Bash Draws Media Coverage

Check out the cool story on Sunday's Bicycle Bash.

Recognize the by-line?

Also, Brian Eckman of Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium and I met Channel 10 News at Flatwoods this morning to talk about the Bash. Look for coverage Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bicycle Bash Draws All-Star Food Line-up

This year's Bicycle Bash Festival features an all-star selection of food, with our headliner being the Taco Bus Food Truck.

But we have others, too, including The Killer Samich Food Truck, La Cepereria Cafe Food Truck of Ybor City, Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant and Little Greek Restaurant.

Here's Dino of La Creperia Cafe in action.

The Killer Samich Food Truck will be at Flatwoods, too.

And the famed Taco Bus will be at the Bash.

Tampa Tribune Reports On Sunday's Bicycle Bash Festival

Ken Knight of the Tampa Tribune wrote a terrific story about Sunday's Bicycle Bash.

Friday, October 28, 2011

5 Fast Reasons To Attend The Bicycle Bash NOV 6

SWFBUD's 12 Bike Shops -- The bike stores will be on hand to show you the latest and greatest in bicycles.

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Free bike helmets for kids -- Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office will be giving free bike helmets to kids. Also, there's a free bike gear drawing at 2:30 pm!

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Bikin' Bob -- Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will be leading a bike ride around the 7-mile loop at 11:15 am.

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Incredible Food -- led by the famed Taco Bus Food Truck. The Killer Samich and La Creperia Cafe food trucks will be there, too, along with the Queen of Sheba Ethiopian and The Little Greek restaurants.

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Bicycles of all sizes! The Bicycle Bash is a festival for all bicyclists, bicycles and bike groups.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

SWFBUD Welcomes at the Bicycle Bash

Today's Bicycle Bash message comes from -- a national bicycle organization that's coming from Boulder, Colo. for the Bash on NOV 6 at Flatwoods Park. They are looking forward to having Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn sign the peopleforbikes pledge to support bicycling in this country. is signing up 1 million people across the U.S. to support bicycling.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bicycle Bash Press Release

TAMPA -- SWFBUD, the alliance of Tampa Bay bicycle stores, is proud to put on the 2011 SWFBUD Bicycle Bash Festival to celebrate bicycling in the Tampa Bay market at Flatwoods Park on Nov. 6 from 10 am to 4 pm.

The Bicycle Bash is Tampa Bay's bicycle festival and SWFBUD's 12 retail bicycle shops hosts the bicycle festival to bring Tampa Bay's bicycle community together and promote bicycling as a healthy lifestyle, effective transportation and asset to the region.

The 5th Annual Bicycle Bash will feature:

-- Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn leading a bike ride called the Buckhorn Bash Ride around the Flatwoods 7-mile loop at 11:15 AM.

-- The SWFBUDDY Awards given to local Tampa Bay residents and officials who have worked to make the area a more bicycle-friendly community.

-- A Swap Meet where people can buy used bike gear; food provided by the famed Taco Bus Food Truck; and music.

-- Guest announcers Skip Mahaffey and Brendan McLaughlin of Channel 28 Action News.

-- Free bike gear giveaway drawings; an artist doing creating live bicycle painting;

-- SWFBUD lawyers will be on hand to offer free legal advice regarding bicycle issues.

-- Tampa BayCycle will provide a free BikeSmart bike education class and Tampa Bay's bicycle clubs will be on hand to talk about bike rides throughout the region. Bikes Belong from Boulder, Colo. and the Florida Bicycle Association will also be participating. HART and the MPO will be on hand, too.

-- The Bicycle Bash is FREE.

-- The Cure on Wheels charity bike ride ( is the Bicycle Bash presenting sponsor and Hillsborough County is a co-sponsor.
SWFBUD is a nationally-recognized, award-winning alliance of 12 Tampa Bay bicycle stores: Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, Oliver's Cycle Sports, Bicycle Outfitters, Just Ride Bicycles, Chainwheel Drive, ABC Bicycles, Trek Bicycle Store of Tampa and Clearwater, Street Fit 360, University Bicycle Center, Trek Bicycle Store of St. Petersburg, The Ironman Store and Velo Champ. SWFBUD also includes three lawyer members: Tom Singletary, J. Steele Olmstead and the Mark Roman Law Group.

SWFBUD's achievements include prompting Hillsborough County to initiate a bicycle safety action plan in response to local bicyclist deaths and also prompting local officials to consider a regional paved trail system called the BAM (Bicycle Area Mobility) Network.

Please log on to and for more information.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bicycle Bash Update

The Bicycle Bash Festival on NOV 6 at Flatwoods is Tampa Bay's bicycle festival and I am happy to release an early program:
10 AM -- BASH starts
10:30 AM -- Bicycle yoga with Michelle Cherry
11:15 AM -- Buckhorn Bash Ride with Mayor Bob Buckhorn around the 7-mile loop
12 Noon -- SWFBUDDY Awards Ceremony
1 PM -- WalkSmart bike education program
2:30 PM -- Free bike gear drawings
4 PM -- BASH ends

If you want to be an exhibitor/vendor, log onto to get a form or contact

We also have the swap meet, the Taco Bus food truck, guest announcers Skip Mahaffey and Brendan Mclaughlin and our SWFBUD bicycle shops and lawyers: Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, Olivers's Cycle Sportsm Just Ride Bicycles, Chainwheel Drive, Univerfsity Bicycle Center, Bicycle Outfitters, ABC Bicycles, Trek Store of Tampa and Clearwater, Street Fit 360, The Ironman Store, Trek Store of St. Petersburg, Tom Singletary, Mark Roman Law Group and J. Steele Olmstead.

Thank you sponsors -- Cure on Wheels, our presenting sponsor; Hillsborough County, our co-sponsor; American Traffic Solutions, a sponsor.

We also have incredible bicycle groups coming -- Tampa BayCycle, the St. Petersburg Bicycle Club, Suncoast Cycling Club, SWAMP, Seminole Heights Bicycle Club, the Florida Bicycle Association, Bikes Belong and the Tampa Bay Bicycle Co-op.

Organizations and agencies in attendance include -- the Sierra Club, HART, Hillsborough County MPO/Planning; Hillsborough parks and recreation.

Please support the Cure on Wheels bike ride on NOV 5 from Flatwoods. Cure on Wheels helps out on the Bicycle Bash and raises money locally for the families of cancer patients going through treatment. Their 350 riders raised $165,000 last year! Log onto to sign up.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Look For The Bicycle Bash Signs and Banners

The Bicycle Bash signs are out -- you'll see them around Flatwoods and SWFBUD shops.

And the Bicycle Banners are up, too.

Rick Fidanzato's crew at Trek Store of St. Petersburg put up a Bicycle Bash banner in front of their store on Fourth Street in St. Petersburg. This will be their first Bicycle Bash.

SWFBUD's newest bike shop is Velo Champ in Seminole Heights. Jordan Miller plus dad Doug and mom Sue make Velo Champ a family-run busines. They strung up the Bicycle Bash banner on their storefront on Central Avenue.

Monday, October 3, 2011

SWFBUD Names SWFBUDDY Winners for 2011

SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), the alliance of 12 Tampa Bay retail bicycle shops, is proud to announce this year's SWFBUDDY Award winners who will be honored during the SWFBUD Bicycle Bash Festival at Flatwoods Park on Nov. 6.

SWFBUD gives the SWFBUDDY Award to Tampa Bay residents who have made our community a more bicycle-friendly place. The SWFBUDDY Award honorees are:

-- Tampa City Councilwoman Yolin Capin, for her support of shared road markings ("Sharrows") that have been placed on various streets in the city of Tampa. Councilwoman Capin also delivered a stirring speech at the Hub Grub Bicycle Ride in Seminole Heights in April.

-- Zachary Taylor, wellness specialist for the city of Clearwater's parks and recreation who started a bicycle sharing program.

-- Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon, for showing his love for bicycling during various media reports and doing a bicycle safety PSA.

-- Alicia Zicchino, Catherine Fritchman and Dan Magazu, for reaching out to the bicycle community and holding a bicycle memorial event to honor the life of bicyclist Dr. Robert Niedbalec, who was killed by a speeding motorist while cycling on Fletcher Avenue in Tampa in February.

-- Tampa Police Department, for applying Share the Road decals across the entire width of the rear window of its police cruisers.

-- St. Petersburg Councilwoman Leslie Curran, for her courage to return to bicycling after suffering a serious head injury from a bicycle crash.

-- Doreen Jesseph of Seminole Heights, for her generous contributions to donating many bicycle event fliers and supporting Seminole Heights bicycle club activities in Tampa.

SWFBUD holds the Bicycle Bash Festival to promote and celebrate bicycling in Tampa Bay. The Bicycle Bash will be 10 am to 4 pm at Flatwoods Park on Nov 6 and will include Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn leading a bicycle ride, bike vendors and exhibitors, a swap meet, music and food led by the Taco Bus food truck. Check out and the Bicycle Bash blog at

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cure on Wheels Is the Bicycle Bash Presenting Sponsor

SWFBUD appreciates Cure on Wheels being the presenting sponsor for the 2011 Bicycle Bash on Nov 6 at Flatwoods, so please participate in the Cure on Wheels ride one day before the Bicycle Bash on Nov 5 at Flatwoods.

Sign up at

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Buddy Brew Coffee Comes To The Bicycle Bash Again

SWFBUD welcomes Buddy Brew coffee of Tampa to the Bash festival on NOV 6 at Flatwoods Park outside Tampa.

Buddy Brew owners Dave and Susan Ward are friends of bicyclists and check out the bicycle cargo rig created by SWFBUD bike shop Velo Champ. Buddy Brew will be bringing that cargo bike to the Bash.

Buddy Brew was at the Bicycle Bash last year and don't forget to visit their coffee shop on Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa.