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bicycle bash by the bay

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.

Tampa Bay Bicycle Bash…Coming Sunday, November 6th

Whatcha doin’ on Sunday? Live in the Tampa Bay area and want to get your bike on? Well, the 5th Annual Bicycle Bash will take place at Flatwoods Park in Hillsborough County. Here’s a little bit from the Bash website:

The Fifth Annual Bicycle Bash is all about celebrating bicycling in the Tampa Bay area and it’s brought to you by SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers) — a nationally-recognized alliance of 12 Tampa Bay-area bike stores and three lawyers, too. The 12 SWFBUD bike shops are Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, Oliver’s Cycle Sports in New Tampa, Just Ride Bicycles in Lithia, Bicycle Outfitters in Seminole, Chainwheel Drive in Clearwater and Palm Harbor, University Bicycle Center in north Tampa, the Trek Bicycle Store in South Tampa and Clearwater, ABC Bicycles in St. Petersburg, Street Fit 360 in South Tampa, the Trek Bicycle Store of St. Petersburg, the Ironman Store in New Tampa and Velo Champ in Seminole Heights. SWFBUD members who are lawyers are Thomas Singletary in Tampa, J. Steele Olmstead in Tampa and the Mark Roman Law Group in Clearwater.

The Bicycle Bash invites bicyclists of all stripes, backgrounds, ages and interests to come to beautiful Flatwoods to visit the bike shops, check out the vendors, bike the seven-mile paved loop or a mountain bike trail, enjoy the music, food and swap meet.

SWFBUD thanks our presenting sponsor — the Cure on Wheels bike ride, which will hold its event one day before the Bicycle Bash on Saturday Nov. 5 at Flatwoods. We also thank our co-sponsor, Hillsborough County, which manages Flatwoods Park, and our sponsor, American Traffic Solutions. See you Nov. 6 at the Bike Bash!

There’s going to be a lot of good times for bicyclists…Tampa’s Mayor Bob Buckhorn will be there to lend his support for the Peopleforbikes.org petition; food from the fabled “Taco Bus” (featured on Man Vs. Food and on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, both on the Food Network) will be served; rides to, from and around will take place during the event…so much to do and see! The Bash goes from 10AM to 4PM on Sunday. And, for the first time since the Bash’s inception, I won’t be there to capture words and images of the event. However, if you’re interested, you can see coverage of past years’ Bashes by clicking here.

If you’re in the area, it’s a must-visit event — one of, if not THE largest bike festivals in Florida.

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!

Save the Date…More Bicycle Bash Goodness!

The new flyers for the 2010 Bicycle Bash by the Bay appeared today…this year’s event is at Flatwoods Park in Hillsborough County (just NE of the University of South Florida campus). The Bash will be held November 7th from 10AM-4PM, and you can be sure I’ll be there to provide coverage of SW Florida’s premier bicycling event.

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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!