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This morning was the inaugural ride of the newly-formed Seminole Heights Bicycle Club here in central Tampa. We had about 60 riders of all ages and abilities today, and we were graced with the company of none other than Mayor Pam Iorio of the City of Tampa! She and her husband are both active cyclists and so they came along to experience a chilly, family-friendly ride around our historic neighborhood.

Me and the Mayor!!

First off, I must admit that I was already a HUGE fan of Mayor Pam — she is very personable and really gives me the impression that she tries to do whatever is best for the community at large, not just for her supporters. She’s had to make some really tough decisions of late as the Florida State Legislature has steadily chipped away at funding for local governments, and while these decisions certainly don’t please everyone, they appear to be well-considered. In any case, after this ride and the encouraging words she said to our group, the deal was sealed — Mayor Pam is awesome, and we’re lucky to have her looking out for the city!

Ok, enough fan-worship…on with the ride!

The group strings out...

Once again I was pressed into “sweeper duty”, making sure no one was left behind. The day started out chilly but warmed quickly. The ride was only 6 miles long — the whole idea of the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club is to keep things community- and family-friendly. There will be longer rides scheduled for the more hardcore among us, but the bulk of our rides are for people of all ages.

At the midway point we were treated to free hot coffee and bottled water from the store manager of the Seminole Heights Starbucks…thanks, guys! That was mighty sweet of you!

Here’s the group in all our glory — 60 friendly faces who make our neighborhood a great place to live:

The group
picture by Alan Snel

Even my son’s trailer was a hit. Here is Grey demonstrating its features to a group of eager future cyclists:

trailer love

We’re looking forward to riding as a group again in a couple weeks, and I am VERY excited that this club has formed. We may not have a special guest every time, but the friends and neighbors involved in this club will make our get-togethers more than worthwhile. Events like this are yet another reason that the Seminole Heights area is renowned city-wide for its friendly, active residents.

I want to thank Alan and Mike for planting the seeds that got this club started, thanks to Mayor Pam for riding with us and pledging to do what she can to make Tampa a more bike-friendly city, and I want to give special thanks to my friend Ellen, who dropped back and gave me someone to chat with towards the end of the ride…being the sweeper can be a lonely chore!

More coverage of the ride (text and great photos and a video of the Mayor speaking to the group) can be found here and here.