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I attended the Tampa Bicycle Co-op grand opening party and workshop last night on behalf of Bikecommuters.com. There were about 30 bike enthusiasts of all types in attendance, from fixed-gear stylists to professional bike mechanics to casual bike club members. A small contingent of riders from the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club made an appearance, too, and they were very eager to learn about bike repair and to absorb some of the burgeoning Tampa bike culture.

The event was held at the Transitions Art Gallery, which is located at the Skatepark of Tampa. This is a temporary location for the once-monthly co-op workshops, too (first Monday of every month to start).

flyer

Dave Japenga, one of the “brainchildren” behind the co-op, stressed that the co-op “isn’t about me or you — it is for ALL of the Tampa bicycling community!” Here he is (in the red shirt on stage) addressing the attendees:

Dave speaks to the crowd

At the grand opening, there were a couple of repair workshops, food, music and bike-related videos. A screening of the influential NYC Critical Mass documentary “Still We Ride” was staged for the attendees. The core of the co-op, of course, is bike repair: teaching folks how to do it for themselves. Here is Joe (another founding member) offering a quick lesson in side-of-the-road flat repair:

Joe

On display was a sweet vintage Schwinn Varsity in the classic yellow color…this bike was set up to demonstrate a number of repair techniques. Here’s a group learning the ins and outs of derailleur adjusting:

varsity

This is a very exciting development for the Tampa bicycling community — and a sign of healthy growth. We wish the Tampa Bike Co-op the best of luck! If you live in the Tampa area and want to get involved, the co-op is looking for volunteers with mechanical skills to help repair bikes during the monthly workshops. Also, they’ll welcome donations: tires and tubes, bicycles, bearing grease, spare parts.

I’ll leave you with a final image — these days, what bike event isn’t complete without some sweet stylie tricks on a fixed gear? Have no fear…this guy was on the scene to wow the crowd:

stylie