Tampa bicyclist Jose Menendez came upon this recent bicycle scene:
Jose, take it away:
Here's a bit of positive TPD cycling news. Early this afternoon, I happened to ride from Platt St. down the ramp to the Riverwalk behind the Convention Center, and when I came out at the small parking lot between the Convention Center and the Sail Pavilion, I saw nearly 20 police officers with bicycles. I stopped to find out what was going on and saw two TPD officers -- one male, the other female -- training a large class of would-be bike patrol officers. There were 17 trainees. Almost all of them were TPD officers, but I did see one wearing a Sheriff's Office shirt and one or two wearing USFPD shirts.
First, while riding around the parking lot in circles, the trainees learned how to pull their front tires into the air. Then they practiced using that skill to ride up over the curb from the parking lot onto the sidewalk. Then they practiced riding down the broad steps behind the Sail Pavilion onto the Riverwalk, first going straight down the steps, then going down them at a sharp angle.
While they were riding down the steps, one officer called out to me, "Hey! Get in line and join us!" I chuckled and shook my head no. A little later, I asked an officer who had successfully made it down the steps, "Are all of you training to be full-time bike patrol officers?" "Yeah," he replied, but an officer standing next to him said, "No, just doing it for the certification." I guess the first one wants to be on bike patrol full time, but the second one doesn't.
After filling their water bottles in the Convention Center, they rode up the Riverwalk behind the Center and up the ramp to Platt St. I decided to follow them for a little while to see if they were going to practice their traffic skills. They made their way up Franklin St., turned left onto Whiting St., then right onto Ashley Dr. They got into the inside lane on Ashley, so I assumed they were going to turn left onto Kennedy Blvd. But they kept riding north in the inside lane on Ashley all the way to Tyler St. by the library, where they turned left and went to the Performing Arts Center. It's a good thing they were law enforcement officers, or they might have gotten tickets for riding all that way in the inside lane. ;)
While they were going through their paces by the Sail Pavilion, a woman wearing a TPD Forensics shirt was taking a lot of photos. I asked her if the photos are going to be posted online. She smiled and said, "On Facebook!"