Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Crit Grows In Tampa

Wow, now there's a sight: bike racers in a downtown Tampa crit flying down Franklin Street.

It was all part of the Twilight Crit that drew several hundred racers in a several different divisions today to bring attention to bicycling in the Tampa Bay area. The Tampa Downtown Partnership put on the crit and accompanying health festival to highlight Bike Month and the Tampa BayCycle program of getting people around Tampa on bicycles. See Tampa Tribune story on the crit.

I was there representing the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club and SWFBUD and was happy to report that several SWFBUD members -- Brian Eckman, Thomas Singletary and David Luppino -- were on hand at the crit. I want to thank everyone who stopped by to say hi.

Tampa has never been too receptive to closing downtown streets and allowing race organizers to stage a twilight crit, which is popular in places like Athens, Ga. But Karen Kress's efforts with the Tampa Downtown Partnership helped make today's crit become a reality.

David Luppino, who used to own Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium and owned parts of Oliver's and Suncoast Trailside Bicycles shops, makes a point to Brian Eckman, who nows owns CBE. David is opening the Just Ride Bicycles store in Fish Hawk Ranch.

They showed up on all types of bicycles.

The famed Ghost Rider, Jack Sweeney, made a cameo on a mountain bike.

Karen grew up in Sarasota but works in Scotland now as a yoga instructor but was in town visiting family in Sarasota. She came for the race.

Racer Trish Cohen shows off her homemade jersey as seen on her Web site.

CBE's Brian Eckman did good business at the Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium store on site.

SWFBUD member Tom Singletary, a Tampa lawyer and bicyclist, chats with Eric Pages -- a big pedestrian advocate who serves on the Bicycle-Ped Advisory Committee in Hillsborough County.

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