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Florida Bike Month — Urban Street Skills Session

Florida Bike Month is in full swing here in Tampa — lots of events going on here and across the Bay in Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

Last Friday, I attended the Urban Street Skills “Lunch and Learn” Session hosted by Tampa BayCycle and the Tampa Downtown Partnership. The event was held at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. League Certified Instructor Theo Petritsch offered some informal instruction on bike-handling skills, commuter equipment choices and safety gear selection for a group of about 40 attendees. I met some new folks and ran into quite a few familiar faces…including faithful Bikecommuters.com reader Gordon Ridge.

Here, Karen Kress (transportation director for the Tampa Downtown Partnership) greets attendees and gives out bike maps, patch kits and other goodies:

karen

Using a variety of props, Theo demonstrated some crucial skills and facts to the folks in attendance. His instruction style was filled with humor, and the assembled crowd was rapt with attention.

theo

Later, Theo demonstrated some on-bike skills…including some tricks to look behind you while riding and a couple of crash-recovery techniques. There were things to learn for even this jaded commuter, and the event was well worth attending.

bike skillz

Toward the end of the session, Karen Kress announced the winner to Tampa BayCycle’s 2009 “Words For Wheels” contest. Contestants had to submit a 100-word essay on how a bicycle could change his/her life, and the winner (I didn’t catch her name; I am an amateur reporter, at best) described how she was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Anyhow, Karen read the winning essay and presented the winner with her new bike (donated by Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium):

words for wheels

Good times were had by all — and there are a lot more events going on this month. I’ll do my best to bring you coverage of some of the others, including the Tampa Twilight Criterium scheduled for March 21st. Stay tuned for more!