Friday, April 22, 2011

SWFBUD Participates In St. Pete Bike n Eat Saturday

SWFBUD will be at the St. Pete Bike n Eat restaurant tour Saturday.

Ride is 3 PM and starts from the Trek Store at 3169 Fourth Street north.

I will have a SWFBUD table there, so stop by and say hi. More than 100 bicyclists will be there and if you like the Hub Grub Bicycle Ride of Seminole Heights you'll enjoy this ride.

SWFBUD Likes This Sign

Pro-bicyclist sign on Morris Bridge Road, a mile east of I-75 interchange.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

SWFBUD Likes 40th Street In Tampa

SWFBUD applauds the city of Tampa for its 40th Street road project, which includes a newly-poaved surface, bike lanes from Hillsborough to Fowler and three traffic circles that keep traffic flowing.

In the early mornings, I bike from Seminole Heights east on Hanna Avenue and intersect a 40th Street circle, which takes me onto the road north to Busch and beyond.

The road is smooth as silk and the bike lanes are great.

The traffic circles don't have the bike lanes, but I flow into the inside lane and take the lane. Most motorists understand my right to the lane and follow me if they need to turn out of tyhe circle behind me.

Well done, city of Tampa. Now, let's build some more roads like this around Tampa Bay.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

SWFBUD And The Three Mayors

On Saturday mornings at the St. Petersburg farmers market you can find former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker strumming his guitar at the market's weekly home in the parking lot of Al Lang Stadium.

So this morning, St. Pete's ex-mayor wearing his trademark dungaree shorts ended a set and shifted over to a table topped with his new book, Seamless City. He was selling books and signing them at the market.

I was in downtown St. Pete with my bicycle after cycling from Tampa over the Gandy with my bike pal Ellen and her friend Doug. Both are riding the Police Unity Tour this spring.

I said hi to Rick Baker, who used to stop at the Bicycle Bash festival when SWFBUD staged it in his city.

I noticed Rick was hanging with a pal -- new Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who was visiting Rick while his daughter was swimming at the North Shore Pool. And even St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster was there, too.

Since I had an audiience with the two current mayors and Rick Baker, I took the chance to tell Rick that he deserved credit for transforming St. Pete from a Mean Streets city to one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the state. Indeed, I spent Saturday morning biking from bike lane to trail to bike lane throughout St. Petersburg.

Then I asked Rick to help Buckhorn make Tampa more bike-friendly and explained to Bob the importance of a network of interlocking bike lanes or paved trails through a city so that neighborhoods can be safely connected via bicycle and cyclists can get where they need to go in an efficient and safe manner.

Rick said he mentioned the bicycle progress in St. Pete in his new book and Bob seemed to understand that bicycling needs to be valued in Tampa.

Tampa city government seems a bit more receptive to making its roads better for bicyclists -- witness 40th Street north of Hillsborough Avenue and North Boulevard's new re-surfacing and bike lanes north of Cass. Coming soon after the city dragged its feet for years -- Bayshore Blvd. bike lanes as part of the re-surfacing project.

But Tampa needs to be proactive and put sharrows and Share the Road signs on other roads used by bicyclists that do not have space for bike lanes. Too many studies and too many reports and too many powerpoints.

Notice to Tampa: stop spending money on consultants and start spending money on road improvements that help bicyclists. For years, the MPO has been advising Tampa on where bike lanes should go. The city already has maps of proposed bike lanes. Let's make it happen. It's not rocket science.

Making a city more friendly for bicyclists is a matter of political will by a mayor and the can-do enthusiasm of city workers to make it happen.

Let's hope Buckhorn takes a page from Baker's book and buys into making Tampa a better place for bicycling.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bad News -- Proposal Would Hurt Bicyclists and Pedestrians

On Friday, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) released a letter and supplemental document, which asked the US Department of Transportation to weaken their guidance on accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians.

The supplemental document, submitted as part of a formal review of regulations, asks that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) withdraw their guidance on the meaning of “due consideration” of bicyclists and pedestrians to make it easier for states to ignore the needs of non-motorized travelers. AASHTO prefers the weaker “consider where appropriate” to allow states to avoid having to justify failure to accommodate bicycling and walking.

This request is misguided. At a time when cities are building entire bicycling networks for the cost of one mile of urban four-lane freeway, bike projects are putting people to work, and benefiting business, this is not the time to move backwards. When more and more states – 23 and counting – are embracing Complete Streets policies, AASHTO should be a leading voice in shaping holistic and comprehensive transportation systems, not resisting them.

In fact, AASHTO’s own 12 year-old Bicycle Guide, due to be up dated this year, says that bicyclists and pedestrians can be expected on any roadway they are legally allowed to operate and therefore should be accommodated.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

SWFBUD Supports The Causeway Trail Project

Dear Ming Gao, Robin Rhinesmith and Lori Snively,

My name is Alan Snel, director of SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers) -- a group of 12 Tampa Bay area bike shops that represents thousands of bicyclists in the Tampa Bay area.

I am writing on behalf of our 12 bike shops and our thousands of bicycling customers to voice our support for the proposed Courtney Campbell Causeway trail project.

This is a badly-needed trail project that is necessary for bicycle safety, transportation, commuting, recreation, safe access, tourism and economic development reasons.

Bicycle safety -- the current high bridge on the causeway has a mere four feet for a shoulder, placing a bicyclist on the shoulder in danger of being struck and potentially killed. Too many bicyclists are being killed on local streets and roadsin Tampa Bay.

Transportation and Commuting -- Bicyclists would use the causeway to reach jobs and other destinations in Tampa and Clearwater. It would help remove motorized vehicles off the road and improve traffic flow.

Recreational and Access --The former Friendship Trailbridge drew 600,000 annual users, but that bike-ped bridge between Tampa and St. Petersburg is closed and a new bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians is needed to cross The Bay. This trail would provide safe access to recreational points along the causeway.

Tourism and Economic Development -- Visitors to Tampa Bay and Florida express interest in locating a safe place for bicycling and the causeway trail would create economic opportunities and spending.

Please move forward with this very vital trail project.


Alan Snel
Director of SWFBUD

Tell The Fla DOT To Build The Causeway Trail

Please write to the Florida DOT and tell them to build the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail.

Harry did!

Dear Ming Gao and Robin Rhinesmith,

When the old Gandy bridge was deemed unsafe and it was decided not repair it, the Tampabay Region lost a great asset. By building a safe route to cross Tampa Bay it would fill the missing link for a continuous bike/ped path around the our whole region. This would attract families and business to the area as it has done in other metropolitan areas.

The Greater Tampa Bay area needs the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail!

I urge you, to press forward with its' implementation and completion.

Thank you for you time and consideration in this important matter.

Harry Portellos
Tampa, FL

Dan Burden Visits Tampa-Hillsborough BPAC Wednesday

SWFBUD is a member of the Hillsborough County Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee and our committee doesn't get too many people off the street attending our meetings.

But at yesterday's meeting, our BPAC meeting was honored to receive a visit from the grandfather of the walk-bike movement in Florida -- Dan Burden.

For those who don't know Dan, he successfully lobbied for and gave birth to the bicycle-pedestrian committees around Florida and is a tireless and respected voice for bicycling, walking, hiking and trails in the Sunshine State.

It was great to see Dan yesterday in Tampa!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Send Pro-Causeway Trail Emails To The Florida DOT

SWFBUD asks you to write to these emails at the Florida DOT and tell them you support the proposed Courtney Campbell Causeway multi-use bike/ped trail.

Many people are writing to oppose this vital project.

The emails are:

Bicyclist Glen Gulickson, who works part-time at SWFBUD member store Bicycle Outfitters in Seminole, wrote this email in favor of the causeway trail.

Dear Ming Gao and Robin Rhinesmith,

Aas a follow up to my email yesterday, I would like to submit the article attached below. It is the word for word presentation, before Congress, by John Burke, CEO of TREK Bicycle Corporation.

You can take what you will from the article, but there are two things I would like to point out.

The first is that, if anything, the pendulum favoring bicycle/pedestrian
infrastructure improvement should be swinging our way. Everything about
non-motorized transportation is a plus-better health,documented economic
benefits, less wear and tear on the roads we already have, less reliance
on foreign oil and much less expensive infrastructure development and
maintenance costs.

The second is the example of Portland, Oregon. Here is a city that is
split right down its' heart by the Willamette River and stays connected by
five bridges. (Additionally, there are two interstate bridges) These are
OLD BRIDGES and I'm sure took some significant engineering to accommodate
cyclists and pedestrians, but the thing that caught my eye was that
Portland has spent, over the last TWENTY YEARS, the equivalent cost of ONE
MILE of urban, four lane highway. ONE MILE!!!! And bicycle ridership has

I know you have a tough job and a lot of folks are weighing in on all
sides, but now is NOT the time to waiver on this issue-now is the time to
step forward boldly and take the step that will be a legacy to our

The Greater Tampa Bay area needs the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail and
I urge you, once again to press forward with its' implementation and

Thank you for you time,

Glen A. Gullickson

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Motororist In Pickup Truck Kills Bicyclist In Hernando County Hit-and-run

Another week, another killed bicyclist at the hands of a killer motorist in the Tampa Bay area.

This time, it was in Spring Hill at around 3:15 PM today when a pickup truck struck a bicyclist from behind in the shoulder of US 19 and dragged the cyclist before the motorist drove away and left a mortally wounded bicyclist on this side of the road.

St. Pete Times story.

Tampa Tribune story.

We gave seen safety programs discuss what bicyclists should do in Tampa Bay but how about a campaign telling motorists to stop killing bicyclists?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

SWFBUD Likes The New Bike Lane On North Blvd. In Tampa

It's nice to see the city of Tampa working on North Boulevard with a newly-paved surface and a new bike lane from Cass to the North Blvd Bridge at Blake High School.

North of the bridge the roadwork will continue as the road gets narrowed from four to three lanes with bike lanes or sharrows to MLK Blvd.

Ride the Divide Movie Comes To Tampa April 28

SWFBUD is happy to sponsor the Ride the Divide mountain biking movie playing at the Cinebistro in Hyde Park on April 28 -- two showings between 6:30-9:30 PM

Tickets are $10 and available at

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

SWFBUD Bike Shops' Activities

SWFBUD's 12 member bicycle shops are all great bike stores and they're always involved in new projects and events.

At Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium -- a SWFBUD founding bike shop member -- owner Brian Eckman just unveiled a bigger store by moving next-door to a larger space.

Here's Brian at his new place.

And in St. Petersburg, Rick Fidanzato, owner of SWFBUD bike shops ABC Bicycles and the Trek Store of St. Petersburg, is doing a Hub Grub-style restaurant bicycle tour called, "St. Pete Bike n' eat," on April 23.

The bike n eat event starts at 3 PM from the Trek store at 3169 4th Street N. in St. Petersburg and will include stops at Tour de Pizza, 400 Beach Seafood and Top House, the Taco Bus, Grand Central Perc, The Hangar and Harvey's 4th Street Grill.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tampa Councilwoman Yolie Capin Says "Bike On!"

SWFBUD supported Tampa Councilwoman Yolie Capin when she ran for city council against Chris Hart last month.

And it's cool when an elected leader gets it -- which is why I was happy to hear Councilwoman Capin talk about her support for bicycling when she addressed nearly 100 bicyclists at Ella's restaurant in Seminole Heights for the Hub Grub Bicycle Ride Saturday.

Her quote was fabulous when she told the bicyclists: “You are activists,” Capin told the crowd. “You care about your city – otherwise you would not be here. So have a wonderful ride and bike on!”