It's not the most sexy job around -- and God knows it doesn't pay much -- but I take pride in representing the eight retail bicycle stores and one lawyer who comprise SWFBUD. When I go to public meetings to champion bicyclist' causes in the Tampa Bay area, sometimes I feel like I'm out there on a limb because local politicos still need to understand the beauty and benefits of bicycling.
But the reward is when I see a new bicyclist out there pedaling for the first time on the road or a cyclist riding her first organized century ride.
That's why it was also pleasant validation today when I was informed that SWFBUD has won a national retail bicycle advocacy award called the BRAINY given by the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN), the national bicycle trade publication that covers the bicycle industry in this country.
Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong, which works with Bicycle Retailer on national bicycle issues, called me today to tell me that national bicycle leaders at Bikes Belong and BRAIN have been following SWFBUD and our work to promote and grow bicycling in the Tampa Bay area.
Tim said usually an individual retail bike store wins the award.
But SWFBUD's advocacy work at local government meetings and staging the Bicycle Bash by the Bay -- and pulling together bike stores to work for the common goal of growing bicycling in our market -- was so impressive that SWFBUD deserved to win the BRAINY.
I will be flying to Monterey, Calif. Wednesday to receive the award on behalf of SWFBUD at a Thursday award ceremony as part of the Sea Otter Classic bicycle festival.
I want to thank the bike shops for being part of national award-winning SWFBUD. They should feel proud that SWFBUD's work is being honored nationally and that we're on the national bicycle radar. The bike shops in SWFBUD are: Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, Oliver's Cycle Sports, Chainwheel Drive, Bicycle Outfitters, Suncoast Trailside Bicycles, The Trek Bicycle Store in Tampa and Clearwater, University Bicycle Center and Just Ride Bicycles. Tampa lawyer Thomas Singletary is also a SWFBUD member.
Tim said SWFBUD can be a national model for other metro areas -- an idea I plan to pursue.
Safe and happy pedaling everyone.