Saturday, March 27, 2010
Tampa's Downtown Rocked With Bicycle Racers at the Twilight Crit
It's a special day when that pro-bicycle city, St. Petersburg, closes its downtown streets so that Indy, open-wheel cars can zip around the business district while the city that's supposedly a bit behind the bicycle times, Tampa, closes its downtown so that bicyclists can race on the pavement.
But it was Tampa that ruled the bicycle world in Tampa Bay today, as the Tampa Twilight Criterium offered a full day of high-speed bike races by rockhard cyclists whose bikes probably cost more than many used cars.
The Tampa Downtown Partnership's Karen Kress did a great job at pulling together the day of downtown bike racing. It featured a fun 1:20 p.m. family ride led by the mayor herself and the day of racing included a green expo called ECO.lution pulled off by the Urban Charrette urban planning organization.
I was at the Crit representing SWFBUD, which is holding our Bicycle Bash festival on NOV 7 in Flatwoods Park off Morris Bridge Road in Hillsborough County.
It was wonderful to see all my local bicycle pals, from Jack "Ghost Rider" Sweeney to bicycle photographer Mary Stewart Latta to bicycle planner Michael Moule to Ellen Pierson of the Police Unity Tour to Jim Shirk, Tampa's all-around bicycle volunteer. Nice to see my buddies from the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club, plus Tim Butts and Wendy Menne of the St. Pete Bike Club.
On the scene were also SWFBUD store owners Brian Eckman, David Luppino, Geoff Lanier and SWFBUD member Tom Singletary, who doled out free legal and insurance advice at the SWFBUD tent.
Sure, there were more than 400 urban street racers flying through Tampa's downtown at breakneck speeds during the variety of races through the streets of Tampa. But there were also a colorful array of other bicyclists.
Bike crashes hurt no matter what your age.
Even The Big Wheel was on the course.
With Mayor Pam leading the Family Ride, it was time for my every-two-years photo with Pam.
The Ghost Riders team was in town. Does Tampa's famed Ghost Rider, Jack Sweeney, know about this?
Lawyer Tom Singletary gets animated while chatting legal issues this afternoon.
Bridget's green Electra was the envy of the bicycle crowd.
There's Karen Kress and two of her three sons during the Family Ride.
Michael Ploch of Caleb's Creations, Inc. stopped by to say hey.
As for the action, it's breathtaking speeds on the streets of Tampa.