Category: News

The Tour de Fat is coming to Phoenix – well Tempe to be exact, but if you live here then you know what that is all about. The Tour de Fat is an all-day bike and beer festival put on by the wonderful folks at New Belgium Brewery, the brewer of Fat Tire beer. The festival will take place at Tempe Beach Park this Saturday, Oct. 13, with a massive bike parade (bring your costumes) kicking off at 11 am. Afterwards, the music starts playing and the beer starts flowing.

If you need information or directions, be sure to check out the Tempe Bicycle Action Group’s website – they are the great folks who coordinate and host this event for the city of Tempe.

So if you live in the Phoenix metro area, or someplace close by, grab your bike and come on out. They will be presenting one lucky person with a custom Surly commuter bike – and to think, all this individual had to do to win was swear to not drive for an entire year! I will be there all day – so let me know if you want me to keep an eye out for ya.

tour de fat

Today I discovered a new and altogether great excuse to put some more miles on my bike. My son started his first day of school today! He’s in the Florida voluntary pre-Kindergarten program…they got a late start this year, but today’s events are his first steps down a long road — education ROCKS!

I figured I’d bring him in style today — riding my singlespeed “Patriot”, adorned with Sweetskinz “Nightwing” tires. Grey rides in a Nashbar trailer — he’s getting a little too big for it, but until he’s got the skills to navigate his new trail-a-bike, this is what he’s stuck with.

The school chariot

The ride to school is only a hair over a mile and a half…silly to fire up the car for such a short drive, and there is a nice, quiet residential street to take him there and back. I do have a short stretch on the sidewalk, which sucks, but otherwise I’d have to dodge the crazies in their cars on one of the worst traffic streets in Tampa (Nebraska Avenue, home of the transvestite hookers).

Alright, let’s make sure all the gear is there: got your helmet? Check. Got your lunchbag? Check. Got some clean underpants? Check! Let’s DO THIS!!

Let's do this thing!

Of course, everyone else brought their kids via giant, gas-sucking SUV. Dammit! I talked to a couple parents, and many of them live even closer than I do!! That’s a bummer.

Finally, here is a picture of some of the other kids in his class…and his teacher, Ms. Perez. Let’s pray that our boy is well-behaved — he can be a wild one!

School time!  Education ROCKS!

New York City’s bronze medal from the Washington-based bike group represents an endorsement for the city’s efforts under Mayor Michael Bloomberg to promote cycling for a cleaner environment and a healthier populace.

“The way we think about transportation and how we use our limited street space is changing,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner.

The city is installing 400 to 500 bike racks a year and plans to have more than 400 miles of bike lanes and paths by 2009. There will then be 1 mile of bike lane for every 10 miles of road; the ratio is now 1 to 15. In San Francisco, it’s 1 to 7.

In Brooklyn’s hipster-heavy Williamsburg section, the city reduced the space for car parking in favor of bike parking — a first — when it widened the sidewalk to fit nine new bike racks over the summer.

“It’s better because people used to chain their bikes to trees and house gates,” said Pedro Pulido, an architect who parked his bike at one of the new racks last week.

Read More Here.

Commuter choices week header

All this week, Bay Area Commuter Services is having their annual “Commuter Choices Week“, with festivities and bike rides throughout the Tampa Bay area. On October 1st, I attended their “Party on Poe Plaza”. There were representatives from local bike shops, bicycle/pedestrian planning organizations, the area’s two municipal bus services and many others in attendance.

part of the crowd

Even better, this event was attended by folks from the national, state and local governments. It was a veritable “who’s who” of Senatorial staff, Congresspeople, County Commissioners and planning chiefs — someone from U.S. Senator Mel Martinez’s office came and made a speech, our U.S. Congressional Representative Kathy Castor said a few words, and Hillsborough County Commissioner and all-around great lady Rose Ferlita gave the keynote address to the gathering.

Here’s Rose Ferlita (behind the podium at left) addressing the folks in attendance:
Rose Ferlita

Everyone in attendance seemed to agree that more work is needed in the Tampa Bay area to get people to use alternative forms of transportation. Although there was a lot of talk about “light rail” solutions, plenty was said about building bicycling infrastructure throughout the area. As this is the event’s 11th anniversary, it is apparent that the Tampa Bay area is really looking to change for the better — the event is better-attended every year and with all the politicians and planning professionals mingling with the crowd, good things CAN happen if we’re patient (and vocal!).

Oh, did I mention that Thunderbug, the mascot of NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning (2003 Stanley Cup Champions) also came to the event on his custom-made trike? Here he is:
Thunderbug

Going to this event also gave me the opportunity to talk with the organizer of Tampa Bay’s upcoming Bicycle Bash By the Bay, which the Bikecommuters.com team will be participating in. Stay tuned for more info on that event, which will take place on November 4th at the Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg.