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Bicycle Bash by the Bay — Next Week!

The fourth annual Bicycle Bash by the Bay is almost upon us…Tampa Bay’s showcase for celebrating everything about bicycles.

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This year’s Bicycle Bash event (www.bicyclebash.com) will be extra special.
The Cure on Wheels bike ride is our presenting sponsor, so this year’s event will be known as the “Bicycle Bash by the Bay, presented by Cure on Wheels.? As our presenting sponsor, Cure on Wheels has exclusive food-vending rights to the Bicycle Bash and is partnering with several local restaurants to sell food at the event.

SWFBUD has switched to North Straub Park from Vinoy Park to allow a national senior men’s cross-country race to be staged at Vinoy Park. The national race is drawing 1,200 competitors and there will also be hundreds of high school runners in running events at Vinoy Park, which is next to Straub Park. The Bicycle Bash is expected to draw many visitors from the next-door running races, boosting our attendance with folks from both the running events as well as those visiting downtown St. Petersburg.

Other Bicycle Bash features this year include:

– Singer-bicyclist Rachel VanSlyke is biking from North Carolina to perform.
– The Youth Triathlon Series, led by Suzanne Henslee, is having its season celebration at the Bicycle Bash.
– The St. Petersburg Bike Club will have Share the Road bike rides throughout the event.
– Pinellas County bicycle personality John Sinibaldi is returning to be the event emcee.
– The city of St. Petersburg will be giving away free helmets and holding a bike rodeo.
– Cure on Wheels will be signing up bicyclists for its ride.
– Flatland bike performances will be held.
– A Swap Meet, free gear, public agencies that support bicycling and a bike-donation station will be available.

If you can’t make it, stay tuned for coverage. I’ll be there taking photos and video of the various events throughout the day. Also, if you live on the Tampa side of the Bay and want to ride your bike over to the Bash, the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club is hosting a ride to the event. The SHBC is meeting at the Seminole Heights Garden Center (5009 N. Central Avenue, Tampa) at 8:30 AM on October 11th to ride over. Come join us for a fun 25 mile jaunt across the water!

Check out our coverage of the Bash from 2007 and 2008. This year’s should be even bigger and better, so if you’re in the area, come on out and enjoy a day of bicycle love!

Tampa’s National PARK(ing) Day Installations

Tampa played host to twelve installations as part of National PARK(ing) Day this year. What better excuse to go for a bike ride than to go check it out? And, there was no better way to view all 12 stops on the tour than on a bicycle, as the total distance would have been a fairly long walk.

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Just what IS National PARK(ing) Day? Well, here’s a brief description from their website:

Originally created by Rebar, San Francisco art and design collective, PARK(ing) Day is an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens independently but simultaneously temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)? spaces: temporary public parks.

Anyone can participate in PARK(ing) Day, though it is strictly a non-commercial project, intended to promote creativity, civic engagement, critical thinking, unscripted social interactions, generosity and play.

I rounded up my friend Alan Snel and we rode downtown to check out the buzz. Alan used the ride to help advertise the upcoming Bicycle Bash By the Bay, slated for October 11th in Straub Park/downtown St. Petersburg.

Overall, the installations were fun, quirky and oh-so luxurious. Tampa’s downtown is already blessed with a lot of green space, but the locations of many of these “urban oases” helped break up some of the bleak areas.

My personal highlight: Site 8’s “Park N Squeeze”, where anyone who stopped got a shot of hand-squeezed fresh orange juice and a packet containing a orange tree seed so we could “grow our own”.

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I would have liked to have seen some of the other installations on busier streets, as most of the setups were along the Franklin Street corridor…a fairly quiet street. In other cities, I’ve heard tales of PARK(ing) Day installations in VERY prominent locations — in front of big office towers, along the main arterials in and around downtown, etc. But, Tampa made a pretty good choice for the intended tour — as the whole idea is to make viewing the installations a pedestrian/bicycle-friendly endeavor, there wasn’t a whole lot of vehicle traffic to contend with.

Anyhow, I shot a lot more photos…please check them out at my Flickr stream.

It was fun…here’s to an even bigger and better one next year!

Get an Award…Give an Award

Mere weeks after Alan Snel and the Southwest Florida Bicycle United Dealers (SWFBUD) won a coveted “BRAINy” award at the 2009 Bicycle Leadership Conference in Monterey, California, he turned around and presented an award on behalf of SWFBUD to a local woman with a passion for bicycle commuting.

Here’s the press release:

TAMPA — SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers) is proud to announce Wednesday the inaugural winner of the SWFBUDdy Award is Sandy Ballestra, building manager of the Tampa City Center office building at Jackson and Franklin Streets in downtown Tampa .

SWFBUD — a Tampa Bay area coalition of eight bicycle stores and one lawyer — is awarding the honor to Ms. Ballestra for installing a new bicycle-storage area for bike commuters who work in the Tampa City Center in downtown Tampa .

“The new storage area for bicycles in the Tampa City Center building provides a safe and secure place for bike commuters to store their bicycles in the building. They have easy access to the room and it’s extremely convenient for workers who bike to that building,” said Alan Snel, director of SWFBUD.

“This is a tremendous example for other buildings in the Tampa Bay area to follow,” Snel said. “There are a lot more people who bike to work than the public might think. These types of projects can motivate people to bike to work ”

SWFBUD found out about the bicycle storage rooms when Snel attended a recent bike commuter meeting held at the HOK architects office in the Tampa City Center .

HOK employees who bike to work and use the new storage room for their bicycles welcomed the secure and safe space to park their bicycles.

“I can ride my bike daily to work without worrying about where to store it. It’s very convenient and the storage space is time saving,” said Anna Vasquez, a bike-commuting architect at HOK. “It’s very efficient for me and I know it will be safe.”

Fellow HOK employee and bike-commuter Brent Cutshall echoed those thoughts: “It’s very effective.”

SWFBUD Director Snel will present the SWFBUDdy award to Sandy 2 PM Friday, May 8, at the Tampa City Center building.

SWFBUD is a nationally-recognized bicycle-advocacy coalition of eight Tampa Bay area bicycle stores and one lawyer committed to growing bicycling in the Tampa Bay region. SWFBUD puts on the annual Bicycle Bash by the Bay bicycle festival, winner of the 2007 Florida Bicycle Event of the Year.

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Congratulations, Sandy! Hopefully, other Tampa-area businesses will follow your lead and encourage their own employees to consider bicycle commuting by providing safe, secure lockup areas and other incentives.

The Well-Tempered Cyclist

My friend Ken Sturrock turned me on to a well-written essay over at the excellent online/print magazine Momentum…in the essay, author Deb Greco describes her evolution from hotheaded badass to a more “well-tempered cyclist”.

What motorists have always suspected is true: When I get on my bike, a switch goes off and consideration for anyone else ceases to exist. Each morning, amped on fresh air and adrenaline, I fly downhill on San Francisco’s Market Street and head for the Financial District. My goal is simple: to make it to work without stopping – or at least not long enough for my feet to touch the ground.

This is how I recently found myself in the middle of an intersection before the light had turned green, when a MUNI bus came barrelling through despite a good solid red overhead. I only avoided a crash by turning in the direction the bus was travelling in; it came so close, I felt the kiss of steel along the length of my right side. The bus driver slammed on his brakes, stuck his head out his side window, looked me right in the terrified eye, and yelled, “A…”

To read the rest of the essay, please visit Momentum Planet.

This essay really resonated with me — especially because I’m steadily evolving into a more well-tempered cyclist. There were many times in the past when I was quick on the draw with a middle finger and a shouted curseword, and I made a commitment to change after spending a lot of cycling time with my good friend Alan Snel. Alan, a consummate cycling advocate, showed me that a thumbs-up, a friendly wave or any other positive acknowledgment of the motorists around us does far more to help our fellow two-wheelers than any shouting match, obscene gesture or physical confrontation ever could. Alan claims to have transformed several streets in our area into a far more bike-friendly atmosphere by simple acts like throwing the peace sign at every car that passes by, and by God — I think he’s right!

I’ve got a way to go, but Deb’s essay gives me encouragement to continue my evolution towards calmness and friendliness out on the roads.

Le Burrito Ride in Tampa

I just posted a quick recap of today’s “Le Burrito Ride”, hosted by our local Chipotle Restaurant and the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club, over on our sister site, TheBikeGeek.com.

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Full coverage of the event is over on our friend Alan Snel’s blog — Bicycle Stories and Other Misadventures on the Road of Life. You should check it out!

About my jersey: to celebrate Bianchi’s 100 year anniversary, they produced a bunch of commemorative jerseys and other team gear back in 1985…calling the collection “Centenario 1985”. I got this jersey in 1987 from my then-girlfriend’s mom as a graduation present for high school. Coincidentally, my girlfriend’s last name was “Celestini”, which means “little Celeste” in Italian — how fitting is THAT?