Florida Bike Month — Urban Street Skills Session

Florida Bike Month is in full swing here in Tampa — lots of events going on here and across the Bay in Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

Last Friday, I attended the Urban Street Skills “Lunch and Learn” Session hosted by Tampa BayCycle and the Tampa Downtown Partnership. The event was held at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. League Certified Instructor Theo Petritsch offered some informal instruction on bike-handling skills, commuter equipment choices and safety gear selection for a group of about 40 attendees. I met some new folks and ran into quite a few familiar faces…including faithful reader Gordon Ridge.

Here, Karen Kress (transportation director for the Tampa Downtown Partnership) greets attendees and gives out bike maps, patch kits and other goodies:


Using a variety of props, Theo demonstrated some crucial skills and facts to the folks in attendance. His instruction style was filled with humor, and the assembled crowd was rapt with attention.


Later, Theo demonstrated some on-bike skills…including some tricks to look behind you while riding and a couple of crash-recovery techniques. There were things to learn for even this jaded commuter, and the event was well worth attending.

bike skillz

Toward the end of the session, Karen Kress announced the winner to Tampa BayCycle’s 2009 “Words For Wheels” contest. Contestants had to submit a 100-word essay on how a bicycle could change his/her life, and the winner (I didn’t catch her name; I am an amateur reporter, at best) described how she was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Anyhow, Karen read the winning essay and presented the winner with her new bike (donated by Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium):

words for wheels

Good times were had by all — and there are a lot more events going on this month. I’ll do my best to bring you coverage of some of the others, including the Tampa Twilight Criterium scheduled for March 21st. Stay tuned for more!


  1. Guy

    On my way into work this morning, I saw a whole group of riders for the morning commute. Looks like were gearing up for “Bike to Work Day, Week, Month, and Year” ;=)

  2. Ghost Rider

    Guy, where did you see this group of riders…here in Tampa or elsewhere?

    I was just informed by Karen Kress that the winner of the 2009 Words For Wheels contest is named Michelle Crabtree. Again, congratulations, Michelle! Happy riding!

  3. Tina

    Michelle is always helping others. She’s a very active volunteer in the community & is the most compassionate person I know. I’m so happy she won this bike as it’s nice to see something come back to someone so deserving.

    I noted this article doesn’t mention that the essay had to say how a bike would change your life. She wrote about being a recently diagnosed insulin dependent diabetic. It’s great she won this bike in many ways.

  4. Ghost Rider

    Tina, you didn’t read the article closely enough:

    Contestants had to submit a 100-word essay on how a bicycle could change his/her life, and the winner described how she was recently diagnosed with diabetes.

    Thanks for chiming in, though — we’re all very glad she won and hope that the bicycle is her vehicle to insulin-independence!

  5. Tina

    It’s rather disappointing someone felt the need to choose the path of quickly rebuking another for simply sharing their joy upon posting a comment about a friend & stressing the significance of this particular win due to this nice program.

    Without a doubt, this bike will help her be more active & gain better control of her diabetes, which will help offset the terrible complications that occur with this disease. But for those unfamiliar with diabetes, an insulin dependent diabetic will always require insulin injections. Unfortunately, in these cases, one can only become ‘insulin independent’ when a cure is found.

    Again, it’s really good to see a program such as this one exists. It’s great to see deserving people recognized.

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