Wednesday, March 17, 2010

SWFBUD Moves Bicycle Bash To Flatwoods Park

Nearly a year ago I had a chance to see the Sea Otter Classic, the country's biggest bicycle festival held in the scenic hills outside Monterey, Calif. It was incredible -- a lively vendor/exhibitor village combined with live bicycle activities of all types. The place was crawling with thousands of bicycle lovers.

I loved Sea Otter's synergy of an exhibitor village combined with multiple bicycle activities. So, when Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe reached out to me and asked what Hillsborough could do to become known as a bicycle county, I thought, let's move the Bicycle Bash to Flatwoods Park where we can combine a dynamic exhibitor village with off-road, on-road and off-site bicycle activities.

So the "2010 Bicycle Bash Classic, Presented by Cure on Wheels" was born. After three successful years of SWFBUD holding the bicycle festival in downtown St. Pete, it was time for SWFBUD to move the Bicycle Bash to a site where we can have BOTH an exhibitor village and many different types of bicycling.

The Tampa Tribune did a story on TBO today about SWFBUD shifting gears and moving the Bicycle Bash to Flatwoods.

The story also includes a video SWFBUD made of the 2009 Bicycle Bash.

So I'm happy to officially announce the 2010 Bicycle Bash Classic, Presented by Cure on Wheels will be held in Flatwoods park on Nov. 7 from 10 am to 4 pm. The Bicycle Bash will host the Cure on Wheels charity bike ride, which will raise money for local cancer research. Hillsborough County will be a co-sponsor of the Bicycle Bash.

For more information, check out the Tampa Bay Sports Commission media release about SWFBUD moving the Bicycle Bash to Flatwoods Park.

More news next week about the Bicycle Bash. Stay tuned!


ToddBS said...

Glad to hear this. St. Pete was always a bit of a hike for me, and I felt like a hypocrite driving to the bicycle bash. Granted, Flatwoods isn't much closer for a bike ride. According to Google's new bike route finder it's still a 46 mile/ 4 hour ride (I'm in Polk county).

I won't feel so bad about driving it this year though as I can use it as an excuse to load up the ATB and do some trail riding while I'm there.

SWFBUD said...

Todd, if you drive make sure you bring a bike because our parking lots will be in remote parking areas along Morris Bridge Road and we would like people to bike into the Flatwoods/Wilderness park system! It's a way to try and get people on bikes!

Anonymous said...

I can definitely see the appeal of having Bike Bash at Flatwoods park but the good part about having it in St. Pete is that it brings awareness of bicycles to the urban setting. I thought the message was "share the road". Maybe I'm wrong but I thought that Bicycle Bash was in part to show the non cycling public that bicycles do exist on the road and in larger numbers than most people think. IMHO if this event goes to Flatwoods, it will become just another obscure bicycling event for people that already ride and in the end, we bring less awareness of bicycling to the general public.
I'm willing to bet that a large percentage of the turnout at the last Bicycle Bash was because of the location and now it seems like it will be much less about advocacy and more about shameless marketing.

SWFBUD said...

In response to Anonymous:

SWFBUD's charge is to increase the profile of bicycling in the Tampa Bay area; get more people on bikes; and influence local governments to provide more resources for all forms of bicycling.

Downtown St. Petersburg is a fine location for an exhibitor festival and the setting is, indeed, urban. I thought it was successful in drawing bicyclists to downtown St. Pete. I like St. Pete.

To build on the previous Bicycle Bashes, SWFBUD will still have its exhibitor village and we will have the array of advocates manning tables amid the exhibitors. But now we will have live bicycling going on all day to excite people about biking. Bicycling comes in all forms and because Tampa Bay is so varied, I think it's a good idea to showcase the various bicycling settings Tampa Bay has to offer.

We are still advocating people on bikes. I disagree with Anonymous about the shameless marketing comment. There are different ways and settings to provide to get people on bikes and to advocate. Anonymous, I'm assuming you are an accomplished bicyclist who feels comfortable biking in an urban setting.

But the fact is that I meet many people interested in biking around here who say they would like to bike, but that the urban atmosphere -- especially in Tampa -- is too imposing and scary.

The Flatwoods venue will allow newbies and inexperienced bicyclists to chat with a wide variety of bicycle-related exhibitors and ALSO get them on bikes to pedal around a loop. It's an incubator to nurture bicyclists to go from a protected trail to roads that contain cars to high-traffic urban areas. My own personal bicycling experiences have led me across the country twice by bike solo and also to bike-commute into New York City, but it took me several years to get to that level.

In moving the Bicycle Bash to Flatwoods, we also forged a political relationship with Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, who is a big proponent of bicycling and transportation alternatives to the car. Few politicians around here have been so vocal on that fribt as Sharpe. Advocacy means growing political relationships to deliver more bicycle-friendly roads and resources.

I think we need all types of bicycle venues -- from paved off-road trails to roads with great bike lanes in urban settings -- to accommodate the wide variety of bicyclists. We also have beautiful natural resources and off-road biking is also another category of bicycling that past Bicycle Bashes could not accommodate in downtown St. Pete.

Tampa Bay is a big market and no matter where we stage the Bicycle Bash, someone will have to travel. For three years, Hillsborough County residents have journeyed to downtown St. Pete to enjoy bicycling and the Bicycle Bash. Anonymous, if you live in Pinellas County, I hope you give the Flatwoods site a chance for the Bicycle Bash.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised.