I'm leaving Tampa's bicycle scene in the hands of a fantastic can-do group of bicyclists after more than 30 bicyclists of all backgrounds came together tonight to continue making Tampa an improved bicycle-friendly town. There were the vets like Tina Russo, Michael Edgerley, Phil Compton, Pat Kemp and Ed Crawford, plus Mike and David from the Bike Co-op, and Allan, Doug and Bill from the Seminole Heights Club, and the USF group, and Karen Kress of the Downtown Partnership, and Jose the bicycle stat man, and the list goes on. Great job organizing the meeting, Jim Shirk.
There are already many great bicycle groups and bike ride events in the Tampa area but the elected leaders need to also see a coalition representing the growing base and cross-section of bicyclists in this region. So my hope is that a new Tampa Bay bicycle coalition gets formed to continue making bicycling a political and public policy issue. The political pressure must be applied to step up funding to build an integrated and regional bicycle infrastructure network that connects all sections of the Tampa area and region and there must be a campaign to not only educate bicyclists about avoiding being hit by drivers but ALSO educating drivers to not hit bicyclists with the central theme that our roads are for ALL of us regardless of the type of vehicle you use.
The future looks good for bicycling in Tampa as a I hit the dusty trail. Keep it going everyone!