5 Observations while bicycling Tampa Bay (Or as Dick Greco would say, "Give me 5!":
-- I never use ear buds while bicycling. I love to hear the whoosh of the air as I pedal. My ears function as the eyes for traffic behind me and I don't use the ear buds even when cycling in a car-free venue like Flatwoods park or on a paved trail. I like to hear everything around me. It's one of the reasons why I bike.
-- I like diverse surroundings when I bike and sometimes I enjoy cycling the side streets of south Tampa or St. Petersburg because I enjoy observing neighborhoods. Other times I like biking the Withlacoochee Trail when I don't want to deal with cars. And sometimes I like biking on main roads on early Sunday mornings like 49th Street in Pinellas County because industrial zones without car traffic are sometimes bizarre and fun places to bike through. And then there are the hills of San Antonio or Clermont if I want to climb.
-- The frontage roads on the Courtney Campbell Causeway are amazing places to ride your bike. I ride them all the time on my 3 Bridges Ride because I love being so close to the water while cycling. Sure, the span on the Tampa side is not pleasant to go over but it's relatively short and the access to the Bay is wonderful. From the Tampa side, there's decent access to the causeway via the U-Path and the Skyline Park trail. And from Clearwater, get to the road that leads from Safety Harbor that's near the Christian college at the causeway.
-- I use hand signals to say hi to drivers, give them the power fist, and even wave them around me on roads. I think connecting with motorists breaks down the potential conflict on the road and sets up an environment for more pleasant relations on the roads around here.
-- My new favorite bike lane road is 40th Street in Tampa, from Hillsborough to the USF campus. Shooting through the round-abouts is fun and the road surface is smooth as silk. Check it out.