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Another Bicycle Bash has come and gone here in the Tampa Bay area…the 5th annual Bicycle Bash Classic, which for the first time since its inaugural run was held on the Hillsborough County side of the bay. The temps were cool, the sun was bright and there was enough bikey goodness to go around for everyone. Didn’t see too many St. Pete folks on this side of the bay this year…a little distance never stopped us Tampa dwellers from rolling over there for the Bash, but apparently the cold weather and distance was too much for the Pinellas residents. Bummer — the more the merrier I always say!

Anyhow, on to the tour. A group of eight intrepid riders got out their winter gear and headed into the wind on their way to the Bash. Here we are just as we arrived on the scene (one of our riders went missing along the way):

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Presenting sponsor Cure on Wheels was on hand, with over 300 riders participating in fund-raising rides throughout the day. Here are their registration tents and some volunteers trying to stay warm in the early morning chill:

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Plenty of folks enjoyed the sights and sounds…lots of mountain bikers in attendance this year as well, since the hosting park (Flatwoods) is next-door to some great offroading trails:

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J&B Importers came up from Miami with a big tent, a big trailer and a lot of goodies to show off…many great bikes of all styles:

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As I wandered around, I came across this stunning and sophisticated young lady with an obvious understanding of high fashion. That’s a great-looking shirt!

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My homies at Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium brought a sneak peek…the new Trek “Earl” urban machine: singlespeed freewheel/fixed, doubled top tube that integrates a U-lock holster and bottle opener within, and subdued styling. Nice!

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Here’s a view of the myriad tents set up to display everything from advocacy groups, local bike shops, ratrods, swap meet vendors and dozens of other bike-friendly organizations:

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Tampa-based American Classic Wheels was on hand with a great display of their dreamy wheels…they had some really cool cutaway hubs showing their bearings and unique pawl systems and those displays were fun to check out. If only they offered a “locals only” discount!

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There was a large corral set up for bicycle valet parking this year…here’s the lovely and talented Bridget manning the corral (which was PACKED with bikes!):

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This is a cool tadpole trike…one of many such bikes on display over by the J&B Imports tent. I might just grow a beard and don some SPD sandals for a machine like this:

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There was a somber note to the Bash this year…in light of the many tragic deaths of cyclists in the Tampa Bay area over the past couple months, a special focus on bicycle awareness and safety was presented to the crowd. Here, Bash organizer and all-around champion advocate Alan Snel talks with Cpl. Troy Morgan of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office:

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Michael Ploch of SharrowShirts.com was on hand to show the ever-increasing reflective merchandise his company offers to cyclists, from safety vests to hats to casual wear. You may remember the vest from this recent article. This stuff was a big hit:

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The South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers (SWFBUD) presented their annual “SWFBuddy” awards to a number of folks this year for their advocacy and service to the Tampa Bay cycling community. Here’s a group photo of the recipients provided by SWFBUD; award-holders pictured from left to right are Ed Collins, Christopher Chow, Selena Glass, Cpl. Troy Morgan of the HCSO, Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern, State Rep. Janet Cruz, and Tampa Police Major John Newman. Not pictured was Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, who was instrumental in getting the Bash on this side of the bay for 2010:

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A good time was had by all — the (rather remote) location was well-received despite some early grumbling when it was announced back in March. The crowd wasn’t quite as big as years past, but if anything the group was MORE diverse…recumbents, roadies, fixed gear riders, tons of mountain bikers and lots of path ramblers. I’ve been to every Bash since its humble beginnings at the St. Pete Times Forum in downtown Tampa, and I’ve watched this thing grow by leaps and bounds. I’ve only got to say this in closing: things bode well for the future of the Bicycle Bash, and I’m already looking forward to next year!