The 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay was held today at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. The weather was gorgeous, the crowds were thick and the enthusiasm for all things bicycle was strong and friendly. Of course, Bikecommuters.com was there to tell folks about our website, meet fellow commuters and give away some goodies provided by our wonderful site sponsors KHS Bicycles and the good folks at Xtracycle. We gave away literally HUNDREDS of flyers, “Gas Sucks” stickers, Bikecommuters.com stickers, KHS and Xtracycle catalogs, Hillsborough County Bike Maps and a variety of other pamphlets, pens and literature, and we spoke to hundreds of bike fans of all types. Great times were had by all!
For those of you unable to attend, I shot a bunch of photos and a couple videos to share so that you can experience this event “virtually”. Let’s proceed, shall we?
My partner for the day was Terry Eagan, fellow librarian and employee of the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission. He was chosen by his agency to represent sister agency Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization. Terry was extremely helpful and friendly and helped get the Bikecommuters.com word out, allowing me to wander the event, schmoozing with friends and strangers alike for most of the day.
Check out some of the crowd — bicycles and bicyclists of all types…recumbents, roadies, fixed-gears, ratrods, choppers, trikes, BMX bikes and mountain bikers galore:
Here’s a wide shot of the enormity of this event — 70+ tents, thousands of visitors (estimated at 3000 or more):
Vendors were varied this year…everything from bike shops to component manufacturers, advocacy groups, regional transportation planning agencies, bike clubs and co-ops. Here we see the lovely ladies of The St. Pete Skirts, fixed gear badasses and incredible vegan bakers:
Right next door we have the Tampa Bike Co-op. The Co-op volunteers did seminars and demos throughout the day, from repairs to loaded bike touring. They were selling really incredible t-shirts to raise funds for the Co-op, and I was happy to add one to my shirt collection. Here they are fixing bikes and telling folks how they can do it themselves:
Here’s another one of the Co-op demos — this one the finer points of loading bicycle touring. This demo drew quite a crowd, and they had a sweet tourer to show off:
Manny Sierra of Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium chatted up passerby and did some bike tuneups of his own. CBE is my absolute favorite bike shop in the Tampa Bay area — they’re super-friendly, talented and knowledgeable. They have a really good understanding of the needs of bicycle commuters, as many of the employees there are out mixin’ it up with traffic every day.
Next to them, we’ve got the cool folks and ultra-badass wheels of American Classic. American Classic’s headquarters is right down the street from my house…too bad they don’t give “good neighbor” discounts!
Here’s the line for the St. Petersburg Bike Rodeo program. These folks gave away hundreds of bicycle helmets to kids in attendance today…each one with a personalized fitting. Bravo, Bike Rodeo!
The custom-printed Bikecommuters.com jerseys were a gigantic hit at the Bash. We were asked dozens of times if we had any for sale, and were asked to get some made pronto in sizes all the way up to XXL. We’re sitting on a fashion goldmine, folks! Here, the boys from Bikecommuters.com model these awesome jerseys…comfortable on a hot and breezy day — we’re bringin’ sexy back:
(Thanks, Moe, for the wicked “One Speed” socks…another big hit)
Speaking of sexy, my wife and son came over and spent most of the day with us. Leah helped out a bunch, chatting up visitors, fetching lunch for us and passing out stickers and flyers. She’s a dedicated bike commuter, too, so advocating for us came naturally:
I brought the Recycletron 1000 to display — man, the Xtracycle was a HUGE hit with this crowd. We gave away dozens of Xtracycle catalogs and literally hundreds of business cards. Folks had a million questions and most came away convinced to add one of these to their lives. Xtracycles sell themselves, really, but the real thrills came when I took my son out for loops around the park — we were being stopped every 20 feet or so to answer questions and we received lots of smiles and thumbs-up. One of the shops had a Kona Ute under their tent…and it languished all day in the shade. Xtracycle ruled this day! People were truly excited by the prospect of hauling groceries, children and anything else aboard an Xtracycle.
Toward the end of the day, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker made an appearance and spoke to the gathered bike throngs. This guy is SERIOUS about making St. Pete a truly bike-friendly city, and he’s made tremendous progress in getting things done there. I had a chance to speak with him during his tour of the event, and he’s very personable, passionate and dedicated to bicycling as a valid transportation alternative. Kudos, Mayor — you rock!
Here’s a Flip video I shot — one quick loop around the park. I’m calling out highlights as I see them, and you’ll be able to see what a huge event this was for the Tampa Bay area:
We’d like to thank site sponsors KHS and Xtracycle for sending goodies our way to distribute (we’ll be giving away some KHS “Gas Sucks” t-shirts and cycling socks soon…stay tuned for details) and Alan Snel and the shops of SWFBUD (Southwest Florida Bicycle United Dealers) for putting on this amazing event for its third year.
I hope you enjoyed this virtual “taste” of the Bicycle Bash. Perhaps we’ll see you next year?