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Bicycle Bash 2012 returns to Tampa!

This should please a few of our Tampa Bay-area readers: the 2012 Bicycle Bash is coming to downtown Tampa after several years in St. Petersburg and a couple years out in the remote corners of Hillsborough County.

Straight from the source:

The Bicycle Bash Festival is returning to downtown Tampa in 2012.

The inaugural Bash drew thousands of bicyclists to the Tampa Bay Forum plaza in 2006 and one of the Southeast’s premier bicycle events is coming back to downtown Tampa in 2012 after three years in downtown St. Pete and two years in Hillsborough County.

Now SWFBUD wants to spread the bicycle love to Tampa.

South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers, a nationally-recognized and award-winning alliance of 9 Tampa Bay bicycle stores, puts on the annual Bicycle Bash Festival to promote bicycling as a great way of life, effective transportation and healthy lifestyle in the Tampa Bay market.

Read the full press release by visiting the Bicycle Bash homepage here.

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Even more exciting is the Tampa Bicycle Summit being held at the Tampa Bay History Center on November 5th. League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke will be the keynote speaker at the Summit…wow!

Heck, even Mayor Bob Buckhorn of the City of Tampa is getting in on the act:

Since I am unable to attend this year, I’m looking for someone in the Tampa area who can do a little coverage for Bikecommuters.com — you know, snap some photos, get a feel for the thing, talk to some attendees. If you’re interested, drop me a line at ghostrider[at]bikecommuters[dot]com.

Bicycle Bash Classic 2010 — A Tour in Photographs

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!

2010 Bicycle Bash by the Bay Announcement

The other night, I attended the press conference to announce the 2010 Bicycle Bash by the Bay, southwest Florida’s premier bicycling event.

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Good stuff is in the works for this year, including a new venue:

South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers is celebrating the relocation of a popular bicycle event to Flatwoods Wilderness Park.

The Bicycle Bash, which was previously at St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park, will take place Nov. 7.

“It’s a really big move for us,” said Alan Snel, director of SWFBUD, the bicycle advocacy group. “It was successful in St. Petersburg, but to take it to the next level we needed to have live bicycle activities with the bicycle exhibitor village.”

More details can be found at the Tampa Tribune online.

Alan was inspired by his trip last year to Sea Otter, and moving the Bash to a location where bike riding can take place during the event is a GREAT move…who knows? Perhaps one day the Bash will rival Sea Otter!

Anyhow, back to the press conference. Here, Alan presents some details to the group:

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Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe spoke to the gathered crowd. Sharpe was instrumental in getting the Bash moved over to our side of the bay and the man is absolutely passionate about finding ways to incorporate alternative transportation (including rail, cycling and walking) into our daily lives here in the Tampa area. Plus, he’s a hell of a nice guy:

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Next, Tina Russo of the Hillsborough County MPO Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (and an employee of the Hillsborough County Parks Department) spoke to the group. She stressed the importance of having such an event in a beautiful location like Flatwoods and seemed very excited by the prospect of this year’s Bash:

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Here are some of the attendees mingling after the formalities…the press conference was held at SWFBUD member store Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, and they had the place well-stocked with cold beer and yummy snacks for all ages. They make fantastic hosts…and didn’t even mind my child running amok through their showroom. Good folks over there!

Check out our coverage of last year’s Bicycle Bash by clicking here. You can be sure we’ll be at the 2010 edition to provide coverage. We may even sponsor a booth again this year and should have goodies to give away. In any case, I hope those of you in the Tampa Bay area mark your calendars for November 7th, and we’ll see you there!

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!