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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!

Ride With Us to the Bicycle Bash!

Folks from the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club and Bikecommuters.com are partnering up to host a group ride out to Flatwoods Park, home of the 2010 Bicycle Bash by the Bay. Here are the details:

On November 7, 2010 we’ll meet at 8AM and roll out promptly at 8:30 from the Seminole Heights Garden Center, 5800 Central Avenue in Tampa. From Flatwoods, the group will leave for the return leg to the Garden Center at 2:30PM from the SHBC tent. Distance will be roughly 40 miles roundtrip at a pace of 15-17 MPH.

Due to last year’s experience riding such distances on the road with a group, we must add: given the distance and pace, a well-functioning road bike is the only practical alternative for making the trip.

As with all rides hosted by Bikecommuters.com and SHBC, helmets are strongly encouraged. See you there!

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Bicycle Bash by the Bay — In Two Weeks!

The 5th annual Bicycle Bash by the Bay is rapidly approaching…November 7th is the day when the Tampa Bay area’s largest bicycle event gets underway. As with past years, I’ll be there to take photographs to share with those of you who can’t attend in person.

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Some friends and I are putting a ride together to head en masse to the Bash…more details on that in a day or two. We had a lot of fun and a pretty sizeable group in last year’s Bash ride, and I hope this one’s even bigger and better. Parking for the Bash is going to be tough, so beat the crowds by riding your bike there!

Sharrow Vests From Caleb’s Creations

Do you do any nighttime commuting? Want to give yourself a bit more visibility? Well, look no further — Michael Ploch from Caleb’s Creations is rolling out some screamingly-visible “sharrow vests”:

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On a standard polyester safety vest with sewn-on reflective bands, Michael is hot-pressing everyone’s favorite USDOT pavement symbol, the sharrow, in reflective pigment. A “Share The Lane” slogan appears at the bottom of the vest. Michael has these available online for $30 by clicking this link:

http://www.sharrowshirts.bigcartel.com/product/premium-sharrow-safety-vest

He will also have a booth at the upcoming Bicycle Bash by the Bay on November 7th, and promises to have a number of other visibility goodies for sale. I’ve seen a couple of previews, and am really liking what I saw!

Sure, you could go to your generic big-box home improvement store and pick up a safety vest for less, but in that $30 you’ll be shelling out for the Caleb’s Creations model, you’ll also be supporting bicycle advocacy in the Tampa Bay area, as a portion of the proceeds goes directly to Bay-area bicycle advocacy groups. Believe me, even if you’re not from the Tampa Bay area, that money is sorely needed to promote transportational cycling in our region. Besides, the generic safety vest is SO boring without the cool sharrow logo and slogan! Best of all, you can look like me, and that’s worth way more than a paltry thirty bucks!!!

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What are you waiting for? Crack open those wallets and get to it!

More “Independence From Oil” Rides Scheduled For This Sunday

Despite some weather setbacks on the first “Independence From Oil” ride here in Tampa, the event was pretty successful in getting the word out. Here’s some coverage from one of the local news outlets.

Now, other cities in the Tampa Bay area are joining in. Check out the (rather lengthy) press release for four other rides scheduled for Sunday, August 15th:

TAMPA, FL (Aug. 9, 2010) — Last week BP finally succeeded in plugging its blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Sealing the well, however, won’t repair the massive environmental damage that has been done to the Gulf, and it won’t solve the other problems related to America’s addiction to oil. To emphasize that fact, and the fact that bicycle commuting has never led — and never will lead — to oil spills that foul our oceans and beaches, local cycling advocates, joined by Tampa BayCycle and SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), have declared Sunday, August 15, 2010, “Independence from Oil Day 2.”

Like the first Independence from Oil Day this past 4th of July, the goal is to promote the environmental (and other) benefits of using bicycles for transportation. This one, however, will be much larger, a true Tampa Bay area event, featuring simultaneous rides starting from Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa, USF’s Tampa campus, Coachman Park in Clearwater, and the Pier in St. Petersburg.

All the rides will start at 8 a.m., but participants* should arrive at the starting points no later than 7:45 a.m. Since the theme of the event is “independence from oil,” participants are encouraged to ride their bicycles from home to the starting points. To find more bike-friendly routes, people can use the bicycle directions feature on Google Maps. (See below for specific ride information and links to route maps.)

While the organizers of this event believe strongly in the benefits of bicycle commuting, the recent tragic death of retired admiral LeRoy Collins Jr. is a stark reminder of the risks. Therefore, we have also declared August 15th “Bicyclist Safety Day,” and we call on both local and state governments to make Florida’s roads safer by adding more bike-friendly infrastructure, such as bike lanes, multi-use paths and trails, sharrows, and “share the road” signs.

We also call on the media to help keep pressure on government officials to make our roads safer. And we ask them to help raise public awareness by doing more reporting on the issue of bicyclist safety, rather than just reporting the latest traffic fatality or injury. For instance, they could remind their viewers and readers of the 3-foot passing law and that motorists need to watch out for cyclists and pedestrians before making turns.

Finally, since knowledge is a cyclist’s best protection, the organizers will offer some printed copies of bike safety literature to the participants of each ride. (The supply is limited, however.) We also urge cyclists to make use of bike safety resources on the internet. One of the best is the Florida DOT’s online version of Florida Bicycling Street Smarts. Tampa BayCycle has links to many other resources.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to make the roads totally safe for bicyclists and pedestrians — or for motorists. Accidents will always happen. Our hope, however, is that by working together, government, media, and advocates can help prevent some needless injuries and deaths in the future.

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SPECIFIC RIDE INFORMATION

Downtown Tampa Rides. Starting place: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Dr., 33602. Pace: 12-14 mph.

The shorter ride (route map) will be about 11 miles long and will go down scenic Bayshore Blvd. to Ballast Point Park, then head back to downtown. Contact: Karen Kress, 813-221-3686, KKress@tampasdowntown.com

The longer ride (route map) will be about 24.5 miles long and will also go to Ballast Point Park, then west on Gandy Blvd. and across the Gandy Bridge, turning back after reaching the Pinellas side. Contact: Margaret Shepherd, 813-254-8882, shema711@verizon.net

(Thanks to City Bike Tampa, 212 E. Cass Street, for its generous support in offering to provide some refreshments for the participants of the downtown Tampa rides.)

USF Ride. Starting place: Near the Botanical Gardens, 12210 USF Pine Dr., Tampa, 33620. Pace: 12-14 mph. This ride (route map), led by the USF Bicycle Club, will be about 21.5 miles long and will go to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa, then head back to USF. Contact: Jessica Brenner, jlbrenne@mail.usf.edu

Clearwater Ride. Starting place: Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., 33759. Pace: 10-12 mph. This ride (route map) will be about 18.6 miles long and will go to the Pinellas Trail, head north on the trail to the Honeymoon Island spur trail, west on the spur trail across St. Joseph Sound to the entrance of Honeymoon Island State Park, then head back. Contact: Chip Haynes, 727-464-8200, chaynes@pinellascounty.org

St. Petersburg Ride. Starting place: The Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE, 33701. This ride (route map) will be about 28 miles long and will go up to Gandy Blvd. and head east across the Gandy Bridge, turning back after reaching the Hillsborough side. Contact: Jose Menendez, 813-598-1031, linksmaster@netzero.net

In case of rain in the area on the morning of the 15th, the rides will be rescheduled for a later date.
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*All participants in this event assume responsibility for their own actions and safety. By participating, they agree to absolve all organizers and sponsors of the event of all blame and liability for any harm, injury, or loss that may result from participating in the event. All bicyclists must wear a bicycle helmet and ride a bicycle in good operating condition. They are also encouraged to bring spare inner tubes, snacks, and plenty of water.

We’re looking forward to hearing how each of these rides turns out…and I’m praying for better weather than the last time.