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Bicycle Bash by the Bay

Well, it has come and gone…the 2nd annual Bicycle Bash by the Bay held today in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. The weather couldn’t have been better — 78 degrees and sunny!

Bikecommuters.com was there to provide coverage and to spread the word about bicycle commuting in the Tampa Bay area. Come with me as I walk around the incredible Vinoy Park venue…a tour in pictures, if you will!

First, a satellite view of the venue — that blue stuff to the right of the arrow is Tampa Bay itself. Vinoy Park is located on the north edge of downtown St. Petersburg and is RIGHT ON the water. It’s a great place for a great event!

Satellite view of Vinoy Park

Bikecommuters.com partnered up with the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization to distribute flyers, bike route maps, blinkies, “Share the Road” stickers and lots of other great giveaways. I recruited my good friend Terry (a fellow librarian, rocker and all-around good guy) to assist. We both had a blast meeting people and spreading the word.

Jack, spreading the word

On with the tour!

Bikes from every discipline were on hand…from mild to wild. Here are a couple of the highlights:

There was a fantastic vintage BMX collection on display (this is only a fraction of the full collection…I caught the guy right after he started unloading his trailer).

Vintage BMX collection

There were lots of freakbikes here, too. Many were hand-built by chopper-building extraordinaire Robert “Bullet” Ferrin.

Choppers and freakbikes

Here’s the winner of Bullet’s “$100 freakbike challenge”…this machine had the most pristine chrome on any bike I’ve ever seen!

Chrome cruiser...an event winner!

Check out this machine…a Welsh-made Newton trike. This bike’s front wheels are turned with steering rods attached to the fork’s steerer tube. It was, in my opinion, the coolest bike that stopped by the Bikecommuters.com booth!

Welsh-made Newton tricycle

Here’s a shot of “tent city” during the height of the event. It is estimated that somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 people came to the Bash, making it one of the largest (if not the biggest ever) bicycle-related events in the Tampa Bay area’s history.

Look at all those tents!

In addition to the bike shops, advocacy groups, free massages, bike and component manufacturers and others in attendance, there was also a lot of locally-made food. This tent was serving some BADASS Cajun cuisine…hot and spicy!

Cajun goodness

There were also lots of demos throughout the day…everything from cyclocross to BMX to fixed-gear stylin’. Here, some junior BMX racers from the Profile Racing Team demonstrate the starting gate “holeshot run”:

Profile Racing baddies bashing the starting gate

There was a short, tight grass cyclocross course set up for demonstrations of powerslide turns, run-ups and barrier jumping. On this racer’s first pass, he chose to shoulder his bike and run over the pair of 2ft. high plywood barriers. He did that with no problem. On his second pass, he decided to try to bunnyhop the first barrier and packed it in. I caught him just as he hit the ground:

Cyclocross demo mishap

The rider was OK, but he appeared to have damaged his front wheel…he got some technical assistance from his crew before he resumed the demo.

Meanwhile, out in the parking lot, the small (and growing!) but dedicated local contingent of fixed-gear riders was showing their stuff — barspins, wheelies, reverse circles, hangstills and skids galore. Here’s a rider doing his thang:

Fixed-gear shenanigans

While I was wandering around, collecting freebies from other tables and taking photos, I ran into Julie Bond from Tampa BayCycle. You may recognize Julie from her commuter profile (photographs lost to our hacker) on our very own website! Here she is hobnobbing with some cyclists:

Julie Bond of Tampa BayCycle

Finally, I caught the man behind this event in a quiet moment. Alan Snel is our area’s dedicated champion of all things bicycle, and his hard work, relentless spirit and great personality came together to make this event a success for participants and visitors alike. Alan, take a bow — you deserve your moment in the spotlight!!!

Alan Snel, the driving force behind this event

We’d like to thank Alan for inviting us to this event and getting us a table to use. We’d also like to thank the great folks from Sweetskinz for donating a few sets of tires that we are going to raffle off…those tires created quite the buzz at our booth — everyone who walked by could not resist picking them up, remarking about them and asking questions…good thing we had brochures to distribute! We’d also like to thank our friends at KHS Bicycles, who donated some goodies for us to give away and who support our advocacy efforts in many other ways. Finally, we’d like to thank the gentleman from Tampa Bay Freewheelers (sorry, buddy, I didn’t catch your name) who graciously offered us the use of a tent canopy for the event — we would have gotten a wicked sunburn without you, and we are gratefully for your group’s generosity!

One F**ked Up Commuter Horror Story

I just stumbled across this terrible story via Kent Peterson’s blog.

Read about a nice, cheerful man who was shot twice for no reason whatsoever and survived while commuting home on his bicycle:

http://petermckay.blogspot.com/2007/11/not-typical-commute-home.html

Sonsabitches! As if we didn’t have enough to worry about out there with the douchebags in Hummers, rich assholes in Mercedes and all the glass, debris, substandard bike lanes, shoddy law enforcement and rough streets we bikers have to face!

Bring out the torches and pitchforks…it’s vigilante justice time!

Bicycle Bash by the Bay — Tomorrow!

It’s almost here…the 2nd annual Bicycle Bash by the Bay.

Come say howdy if you’re in the Tampa Bay area…the event is tomorrow (November 4) at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg and will run from 11AM until 4PM.

This event is shaping up to be HUGE this year, too. More demos, food vendors, bike shops and advocacy groups than you can shake a frame pump at!!!

Hope to see you there — and if you come say hello, you might even get your pretty face featured on this very website (I’m packing a camera and I’m not afraid to use it)!

Two-wheeled Paramedics

A lot of skeptics and naysayers fight against the build-up of cycling infrastructure in our cities because they say it is a waste of funds that could be spend on more important infrastructure. I have had a conversation about this with many a friend, and have read blog posts, editorials, etc., about the subject. One of the favorite arguments I see being made against cycling infrastructure: “What about hospitals? You can’t carry a patient in critical need on a bicycle.”

There is a great deal of truth to that point, and until now I have simply accepted it as a practical truth. I would never promote cycling as more important as saving a life in need, which, until now has meant that we need roads and we need ambulances. But no longer is the realm of life-saving solely in the hands of automobiles and helicopters. There is a real-life example of bicycle paramedics in the UK: a fully functional unit of paramedics that ride bikes and still comply with governmental regulations for response times. While this may be old news to some, it is new to me – and provides a much-needed burst in excitement about bicycles being viable alternatives to automobiles.

I came across this story on the TreeHugger website. To me, it is a testament that there is wide-spread hope in the bicycle as a viable alternative to the automobile. While a bicycle paramedic cannot necessarily carry a patient to a hospital on a bike, they CAN respond to an emergency – often arriving sooner than an ambulance, especially in crowded metropolitan areas – and stabilize a patient until a larger transport vehicle can arrive on the scene.

Whether or not you think bicycle paramedics have a practical application in our cities, you have to admit: this is a pretty cool story and a hopeful day for cyclists.

[a more traditional journalistic story can be found on the BBC news website, where the image above was taken from.] 

It’s Coming Next Sunday…

…the 2nd annual “Bicycle Bash by the Bay“, that is.

Bikecommuters.com will be there with giveaways from our friends at KHS Bicycles, “bike suitability maps” of Hillsborough County provided by the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization and assorted other goodies.

There will also be a bunch of bike shops, food vendors and bicycle advocacy groups there, so if you’re in the Tampa Bay area, come on by and say “Howdy”. You might even get a chance to win something!

The Bicycle Bash by the Bay will be at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg next Sunday, the 4th of November, from 11AM until 4PM. See you there!