Saturday, February 27, 2010

Restaurant Cycling In Seminole Heights

The joys of life are defined by the sight of some 60 bicyclists pedaling down Central Avenue for a tour of eight local restaurants and a new restaurant owner couple inviting us to literally bike through their new restaurant on Florida Avenue and still another restaurant owner advising a swam of bicyclists to bike around his building on Nebraska Avenue and park our two-wheeled chariots on his porch outside the artsy eatery,

Those are just some of warm memories I took today from the inaugural Hub Grub Bicycle Ride -- the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club tour of eight restaurants in the neighborhood of Seminole Heights, Tampa.

After waiting for some rainy weather to move out of town this morning, we bicyclists gathered in front of the Garden Center in Seminole Heights at 3 PM for a six-mile bike ride around Seminole Heights visiting eight restaurants. I arranged the tour because it combined my three pastimes -- cycling, eating and exploring Seminole Heights.

I want to thank three Tampa police officers -- Jason Brocato, Jason and Kevin on bikes, plus car officer Fran -- who did a wonderful job letting us through intersections to get to our culinary destinations.

The bike club's members really came through -- Mike and Yvon Limerick who produced great maps of the route; Rick Hickman who did a nice job inviting folks on Facebook and Doreen Jesseph who came through with a catchy flyer. Our bike club has no by-laws, no membership fees and no titles, so we rely on people's love for bicycling and volunteer time to create events such as the Hub Grub Ride.

Amazingly, despite cool temps and wet weather in the morning, we drew about 60 bicyclists of all ages riding bicycles of all types to show that people really love bicycling in this city.

Let's get this bike-restaurant tour on the road!

Stop 1: Reservations Gourmet-To-Go
The lovely Elke and her husband Anthony were incredible hosts and got the bike ride off to a roaring start.

Everyone loved the food at Reservations.

Not too many leftovers when a gang of bicyclists descend on your restaurant like a horde of locusts.

There's my pals Mike and Yvon Limerick outside Reservations.

Stop 2: Taco Bus

There's Bridget on the road from the Taco Bus to Starbucks

Stop 3: Starbucks
Thank you Tiffany, manager of Starbucks on Hillsborough Avenue for having us.

Two of the most progessive politicians in the Tampa area, Linda Saul-Sena (L) and Pat Kemp (R), chat at Starbucks.

Stop 4: Front Porch

My two favorite T-shirts of the day -- that's Gordon Ridge (L) and Steve Swiger (R)

Thank you Front Porch for your hospitality.

There's Tanja and Jared, newlywoods whose wedding I was happy to attend.

Stop 5: The Refinery (formerly Bungalow Bistro)
Kudos to Michell and Greg Baker AKA The Cuilinery Sherpas who opened up their restaurant for the ultimate drive-through experience. Indeed, we biked right through their dining room while snacking on a delicious seafood dog. The Bakers bought the Bungalow Bistro from Elizabeth Graham and re-named it The Refinery. Good luck Michelle and Greg!

Tampa City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena enjoys visiting The Refinery, with Pat Kamp right behind.

Tanja comes through The Refinery.

Jose stops through and snags a square fish hot dog.

Margaret knew this was cool.

This cracks me up. Here's Elizabeth Graham, who sold her Bungalow Bistro to Michelle and Greg Baker, handing out free samples from her salon next to the Refinery.

Twin trailers at The Refinery.

On the way to The Independent after leaving The Refinery (formerly Bunaglow Bistro)

Stop 6: The Independent.
Thank you Veronica for your hospitality and free samples. Craft beer and bicycles -- is there a better combination?

Stop 7: Cappy's
Too bad Cappy's forgot we were stopping by. We went straight from The Independent to Ella's, skipping Cappy's.

Biking on the way to Ella's

Stop 8: Ella's
We biked down Nebraska Avenue and pulled in front of Ella's when the restaurant owner, Ernie Locke, a solid-built dude with a cool beard instructed us to bike around the buiilding and park our chariots on the wooden porch outside the restaurant. Ernie and his crew brought us a terrific display of snacks and 2-for-1 beers.

I was impressed with Ella's potato pancakes -- which is high praise from a guy who has been known to make a potato latke or two.

Bike helmets can come in all shapes and sizes -- as Daniel proves.

I think women who wear their helmets when they're not biking are cool.

Donny from USF is a frequent commenter on this blog.

There's Melissa, co-owner of Ella's and Ernie's wife, with her son Henry and SHBC member Doug Jesseph.

At Ella's, Beth one of the bicyclists still had her bike map showing the Tour de Seminole Heights restaurants.

Ella's art is amazing -- and it goes well with our bicycles.


Nick said...

Kudos to Alan. Great job organizing this ride. Thanks, I had a great time.

Donald said...

I think that's the most fun bike ride I've ever been on!

My favorites were The Front Porch and Ella's, but all of them were pretty neat. I'll definitely be stopping by these places again!

And smart move getting a police escort; it kept things safe and smooth for the whole ride.

Margaret said...

Great event, Alan! Eat / ride / eat / ride - repeat! Very cool!

Charles said...

Great job to all the organizers and people that stuck it out even when the weather threatened! The sun came out and it looked like a lot of fun. We had a few people peel off and visit the shop on the way to Ella's. Great photos and coverage, I'll link it on our blog as well.

Sue @ All About Food said...

What a great idea! That's my kind of bike ride! Thanks for sharing the details.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to Alan, my fellow SHBC members, the restaurant owners and staff, the police officers, and everyone else who helped make this ride a big success!