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Florida Bike Month…Just Days Away!

As many of you may know, Florida celebrates Bike Month in March rather than May like the rest of the country.

To kick things off, the folks at Tampa BayCycle have (finally!) announced a schedule of events taking place in March. Here are some of the highlights:

–Tuesday 3/2 Free tickets to Lightning game for those arriving via bicycle, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

–Thursday 3/4 Street Skills workshop (brown bag, 12 – 1pm), sponsored by Sprinkle Consulting, RSVP to Karen Kress .

–Friday 3/5, 3/26 Bike to Work Day — Join experienced cyclists coming downtown from all directions with a morning meet up at Indigo Coffee.

Words for Wheels free bike giveaway contest opens (due 3/22).

–Log your miles to compete in the Commuter Challenge.

–Discounts at CityBike Tampa when you mention “Tampa BayCycle” (varies each week).

–The Downtown YMCA is even offering free use of the locker room for cyclists throughout the month. And don’t forget our 2nd annual Tampa Twilight Criterium and ECO.Festival on 3/27.

Hope to see some of you out there during Bike Month and at some of these events. With luck, I’m going to try to cover the Twilight Criterium like I did last year.

Commuter Choices Week in Tampa Bay

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.