Tag Archive: bicycling

Speak Up For Florida’s Cyclists, Pedestrians, and Trail Users !

From the Florida Bicycle Association’s news wire:

We envision a state where people of all ages see bicycling as an enjoyable, practical and safe activity and transportation option, and where all who lawfully use the roadways, motorists and bicyclists alike, respect and appreciate each other’s use.

We inspire and support people and communities to enjoy greater freedom and well being through bicycling.

Strength lies in numbers and every voice counts towards making Florida a bicycle-friendly community. Better bicycling means a better Florida.


Just as Florida’s cyclists, pedestrians, and recreational trail users are making headway in terms of how much is spent to improve conditions, we now face the real possibility of a significant hit in funding.

A provision of a $26 billion Federal Jobs Bill includes $6.7 billion in rescissions, of which $2.2 billion will come from transportation funds. The fact that there is no requirement for equity when determining where cuts come from has resulted in Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) proposing a formula that will result in a significantly disproportional impact on funds for non-motorized projects in our state.

Specifically, $24.7 million from Transportation Enhancement (TE) funds and $3 million from Recreational Trails Program (RTP), figures that represent approximately one-third of monies that would be used for non-motorized projects since Florida historically under-utilizes funds that are available for bike/ped/trails improvements. As compared to a 0.1% overall cut to traditional road projects, this decision by FDOT can only be deemed reprehensible.

Please speak up for TE and RTP to Governor Crist, gubernatorial candidates Alex Sink and Rick Scott, Florida State Transportation Development Administrator Brad Thoburn and FDOT Assistant Secretary for Intermodal Systems Development Debbie Hunt.

Florida’s office of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has made it easy for you to speak up.

Just click on this link and you can send a letter in less than 30 seconds!

It’s typical of a state like Florida to strip funding away from many shovel-ready bicycle/pedestrian-friendly projects to cover budget shortfalls, all the while keeping motorists happy by maintaining road funding. I suppose the folks at the FDOT haven’t read the news that Florida is a pretty dangerous place to use a bicycle or your feet for transportation, and they don’t seem to care about improving the odds for those that do. I’m sure this federal rescission order is impacting more than just the people of Florida, though, so if you live elsewhere, contact the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy to see if a similar mechanism is set up to help you contact YOUR elected officials.

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.


Your Rite of Passage

The latest issue of Bicycling magazine arrived in my mailbox yesterday morning and I couldn’t resist thumbing through it right away.

While sipping my coffee, I mused at how much I could relate to many of the 109 items on the rites of passage list. The list begins with “01. Realizing that the hill isn’t in the way; it is the way.” In Chicago — I couldn’t so much relate to that one, but I could modify it to read “realizing the wind will always be in your way and at your face”. 🙂

I smiled when I read “22. Riding a bike through a big, congested city and feeling smarter than everyone else because you’re moving.” And cringed at “43. Doored!”

Let’s add to the list. “109. Reading a rites of passage list and finding that your own favorite one is missing.”

So, what’s your rite of passage in cycling and bike commuting? Or which of those already listed can you most relate to? How long can this list be???

Book Review: “The Practical Cyclist” by Chip Haynes

Last week, I had the pleasure of receiving an autographed (being a minor Internet celebrity has its perks!) review copy of The Practical Cyclist: Bicycling for Real People (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2009) from local cycling hero Chip Haynes.


First off, here’s what this book is NOT: a comprehensive guide to training, repair, nutrition, racing strategy or any of that other in-depth stuff. What this book IS is a very simple, very practical and extremely humorous guide to bicycling for everyday purposes.

Chip’s a funny guy and an excellent writer. In this book, he gets to demonstrate both skills as he distills a lifetime of bicycling into 160-odd pages. The Practical Cyclist contains perhaps the most compact — yet thorough — history of the bicycle that I’ve ever read…seven pages that covers over a century of cycling innovation. Wow! And that’s not all — the book is filled with gems…basic repair, practical considerations of clothing, gear, route planning and pretty much every other aspect a new cyclist needs to think about when setting off.

Throughout, Chip has an uncanny ability to cut through all the complexity and b.s. that tend to plague the world of cycling. He presents his thoughts in a coherent and complete manner while eliminating the mysteries. Distilled to its base, bicycling really is quite simple, and Chip relays this “insider secret” with aplomb. Folks discovering (or rediscovering) the bicycle should take a good look at this book.

At the end of the book, Chip presents a little “How do you know if you’re a practical cyclist?” quiz that will ring bells of familiarity to many of us, and ends with some sage words of wisdom:

Ride your bicycle because it’s fun. Yes, it makes sense both financially and environmentally, but ride your bike because it’s more fun than driving. That, to me, is the best reason of all. If it’s not fun, why bother?

Truer words were never spoken…

Seasoned cyclists and hardcore commuters probably won’t get much out of The Practical Cyclist other than a lot of laughs…frankly, it’s just not written for the accomplished cyclers among us. But, for someone just entering the wonderful world of bicycles, this book is a must read. Let’s hope this book sells a billion copies!!!

me and chip
(Me, Chip and the lovely JoAnn at the 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay)

And, if you’re in the Tampa Bay area, come on out to Chainwheel Drive in Clearwater this coming Saturday to meet Chip and to get your very own autographed copy of The Practical Cyclist. Details can be found by clicking here.