Thursday, September 15, 2011

Greetings From Interbike In Vegas

SWFBUD is on the scene at the Interbike show, the bicycle industry's annual get-together where some 1,200 bicycle brands set up exhibits and thousands more from the bicycle world come to schmooze, network and hob-nob.

SWFBUD is spreading the word about our 2011 Bicycle Bash festival on NOV 6 at beautiful Flatwoods Park and is recruiting exhibitors to be Bash vendors in less than two months.

SWFBUD is also spreading the word about the BAM (Bicycle Area Mobility) Network that we have lobbied for in the Tampa Bay area. The BAM Network is a unified paved trail system made up of the Tampa Bypass Canal Trail, the South Coast Greenway and the Selmon Greenway as a superhighway for bicyclists in the Hillsborough County and Tampa area. Check out Creative Loafing for a great story about the BAM.

SWFBUD is happy to see SWFBUD bike shop owners on the scene, such as David Luppino of Just Ride Bicycles, Tom Jessup of Chainwheel Drive and Carlos Mirabal of University Bicycle Center. On the flight to Las Vegas from Tampa, SWFBUD bumped into Tom's son, Scott Jessup, from Chainwheel Drive and also Brian and Jen are here from Chainwheel as well. Waiting for the flight fromk Tampa, I also chatted with Bicycle Bash supporter Clayton Bramlett of American Classic wheels, as AC owners Bill and Ellen are on the scene at Interbike, too.

SWFBUD also appreciates the support of Steve and Laura Toll, owners of the incredible ISM bicycle saddle. Steve and Laura are from the Tampa area and are big supporters of SWFBUD, the local cycling scene and the kids' triathlon programs put on by Suzanne Henslee. Steve and Laura are spreading the word about ISM and people are listening.

SWFBUD has caught up with Andy Clarke, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists, who wrote letters of support to Hillsborough County commissioners and Tampa city council members advising them to help the local bicycle scene in light of the 12 bicyclists killed in Hillsborough County in 2010. I also enjoyed chatting with Bill Nesper, the guy at the League who runs the program that awards bicycle-friendly honors to towns and businesses.

Bill has a personal connection to Tampa because his wife is from the Tampa area, so Bill keeps tabs with the SWFBUD work to make the Tampa Bay area a more friendly place for bicyclists.

It was also great to see Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Boulder, Colo.-based Bikes Belong, which is collecting 1 million signatures from people who favor bicycling to give to the power brokers in Washington, DC. By the way, please call your local US senators and congressmen and tell them to keep funding for bicycle infrastructure. Bikes Belong will be at the Bicycle Bash (bicyclebash,com) so please sign the 1 million bicyclist petition at the Bash on Nov. 6.

My cycling pal Ellen Pierson has rolled into Vegas and it's her first Interbike, so she's in for a treat today when she sees the endless sea of bicyle exhibitors at the gargatuan Sands Expo and Convention Center.

I arrived Tuesday morning to torrential rain in the Vegas area -- how bizarre is that? I came Tuesday to experience the second day of the Outdoor Demo in Boulder City and took the shuttle bus from the convention center to the Bootleg Canyon park, where the demo is staged.

It stopped raining at the demo by the time I got there, but threatening skies kept the crowd low and subdued at the demo, where I met Facebook friend Ben Coffey of Cinelli bicycles. Ben might be from Santa Fe, NM but he also supports SWFBUD and bicycling in Tampa. Ben, how about coming to the Bicycle Bash?!

It was nice to see Dan Thornton and Fred Clement of the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) -- and remember SWFBUD's own Tom Jessup of Chainwheel Drive is a NBDA board member.

I also hope today to catch up with my friend Ira David Levy from Chicago, who plans to start of a PBS TV show called "Pedal America."

I'll be back late Thursday night and will post photos when I'm back in Tampa.

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