It's easy to complain about cities and counties not building safe roads and facilities for bicyclists. Regrettably. too many elected officials marginalize bicyclists and do not vote for improved conditions here in the Tampa Bay area.
But I have been lucky enough to find a few elected officials -- and even a baseball manager -- who publicly support bicycling in Tampa Bay.
So, SWFBUD will be awarding the SWFBUDdy awards at the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay on Oct. 11 to four people who believe bicycling makes the Tampa Bay area a better place to live. Here is the press release I sent out earlier today.
SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), a Tampa Bay alliance of retail bicycle dealers, is proud to announce that four people in the public eye will be awarded with the coveted SWFBUDdy Award for their support of bicycling in the Tampa Bay area.
SWFBUD will present the SWFBUDdy awards at the 2009 Bicycle Bash by the Bay, presented by Cure on Wheels on Oct. 11 at North Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg. The awards ceremony will be at 1 PM during the bicycle festival, which goes from 11 AM to 4 PM.
The four are:
-- Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe. Commssioner Sharpe has actively supported connecting the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail, supported repairing the Friendship TrailBridge; and expressed his support for making Hillsborough County a destination place for bicyclists.
-- St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. Mayor Baker was instrumental in extending the Pinellas Trail to the St. Petersburg waterfront and has actively supported making the city of St. Petersburg one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the southeast United States with its comprehensive bicycle plan and bike lanes.
-- Tampa City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena. Councilwoman Saul-Sena is an ardent supporter of bicycling for transportation purposes in the city of Tampa and arranged an important meeting with the Tampa city public works administrator earlier this year to shine the spotlight on bicycle transportation in the city of Tampa.
-- Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon. Manager Joe pedals his bicycle in Tampa all the time and has said he comes up with some of his Rays managerial and team strategy while cycling.
"There is a growing bicycle movement in the Tampa Bay area and there are many people in the public arena who are helping that movement. It was a very difficult decision to single out four individuals, but SWFBUD believes these four people make the Tampa Bay area a better place to live because of their public support for bicycling," said Alan Snel, director of SWFBUD.
The Bicycle Bash by the Bay, winner of the 2007 Florida Bicycle Event of the Year as awarded by the Florida Bicycle Association, is put on by SWFBUD to celebrate, promote and advocate bicycling as a healthy lifestyle and effective mode of transportation in the Tampa Bay region.
SWFBUD, a coalition of eight bicycle stores and one lawyer in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties, was presented in 2009 with the national retail bicycle advocacy award out of 5,000 national retail bike dealers by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, the trade publication that covers the bicycle industry in the United States.