Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hit-and-run Driver Kills Bicyclist on Hillsborough Ave. Monday Night

A bicyclist was killed Monday night and the common denominator with this death and other recent bicyclist deaths was darkness. The death was at 7:30 pm and it was done at the hands of a driver who fled the scene in a hit-and-run.

Not much details here, as both the TBO and and Times stories are short reports with the same info.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tour de France Winner Helped Save Lives During The Holocaust

The magazine that covers the bicycle industry has a wonderful and touching story about how Tour de France winner Gino Bartali smuggled ID photos to a convent to produce phony ID papers for Jews fleeing the Holocaust in 1943. Bartali told soldiers that he was simply on training rides when, in fact, he was sneaking ID info inside his bike frame and saddle, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News reported.

Bartali put it beautifully: "Good is something you do, not something you talk about. Some medals are pinned to your soul, not your jacket."

Talking SWFBUD Before The Pinellas Bicycle Committee

This morning I had the lucky chance to appear before the Pinellas County Bicycle Advisory Committee to offer a presentation about SWFBUD and the type of work we have done in the past few years.

It was great to see some familiar faces such as Tom Ferraro, who chairs the Pinellas BAC; members such as Cheryl Stacks, who does a terrific job as St. Petersburg's city bike/ped coordinator and Chip Haynes of Clearwater, who designed the fliers for SWFBUD's Bicycle Bash when we held it in St. Pete. It was also nice to see Tim Bustos and Becky Afonso of the Florida Bicycle Association (Tim, FBA's executive director, also gave a presentation). Scott Jessup of Chainwheel Drive and Glen Gullickson of Bicycle Outfitters were also in the house.

As a member of the Tampa-Hillsborough Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, I can appreciate the passion and commitment to bicycling showed by the Pinellas folks. St. Pete and Pinellas are ahead of Tampa and Hillsborough in regard to bicycle infrastructure, so my SWFBUD work has focused more on the Tampa side of the Bay.

I briefly offered an overview of SWFBUD's work:

-- Organizing the annual Bicycle Bash festival:
Take a look at a past Bash.

-- Organizing the SWFBUD Swap Meet.

-- Prompting Hillsborough County to initiate the Bicycle Safety Action Plan in response to bicyclist deaths in Tampa Bay.

--Writing a PSA and partnering with Hillsborough County on bike safety:

Check the video.

--Prompting the local MPO to look at SWFBUD BAM Network (Bicycle Area Mobility):

Read the BAM story in Creative Loafing.

--And working to create a host of other local bike infrastructure improvements such as bike lanes, sharrows and improved intersections.

There's more to come.

Letter Writer/Bicyclist Glen Fires Off Another Letter -- This Time To AAA

Glen Gullickson strikes again. The wrench at SWFBUD member shop Bicycle Outfitters writes another letter with a strong message.

If Glen can write letters, you can, too. Contact your local congressman or congresswoman and tell them to keep the bike and pedestrian money in the Transportation Bill.

Dear Sandy Klim,

A few months ago, "Going Places" featured a letter from the President and
the Chief Operating Officer at the newly combined AAA South group. I sent
them an email and have not had the courtesy of a reply from them or their
office staff-very unlike AAA!

The concerns I addressed to them and that I would like to share with you
are about AAA involvement in enhancing road safety for drivers, bicyclists
and pedestrians.

Congress is currently trying to eliminate a Transportation Enhancement
program that has been part of the Federal Highway program since Ronald
Reagan was President. It is in all of our best interests (drivers,
cyclists and walkers) to do whatever we can to enhance the commuting
experience for all users of roads and their infrastructure. AAA should be
100% behind the effort to preserve this TE!

As I'm sure you are aware, bicyclists using roadways are considered motor
vehicles. They are obligated to follow the same laws as vehicular traffic
AND they have the same rights as vehicular traffic. AAA would be providing
a valuable service to ALL transportation infrastructure users by 1) fully
supporting legislation that enhances safety and pleasure for ALL roadway
users and 2) helping educate the general driving public about the rights
of non-motorized infrastructure users.

AAA carries a big stick in Washington, D.C. and I'm sure they can help
promote both of these points to our elected officials, IF THEY CHOOSE TO!
The bicycle/pedestrian lobby is vocal, they are being heard AND they vote!
I encourage you to start the wheels rolling (pun intended!) on this issue.
If I can be of ANY assistance, please contact me.

Sincerely Yours,

Glen A. Gullickson
a AAA member that does bicycle!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ray And His Recumbent

I met Ray this morning while biking the Bridges Ride. He's from the mountainous, German-speaking section of Italy and he's staying at a Clearwater motel and biking around Tampa Bay.

Ray owns six recumbent bikes, including this rig that he was ready to pedal across the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

He's youthful-looking at 64, retired from running a golf club and making golf clubs. If you see Ray around St. Pete or Clearwater, say hi.

Bicyclist Glen Gullickson Wrote A Letter And So Can You

Dear Senator Nelson,

Your suggestion is fine, but misses the point to some
extent. We need to get Americans out of their cars! Improving mass
transit, including light rail and Amtrack (which is seriously broken! If
you don't believe me, just try to use it some time!) and improving
bicycle/pedestrian infrastucture are key to reducing our need for ANY
oil-foreign or domestic.

The benefits, economically and health-wise, of walking or riding a bike
are well documented. The lobby for these causes is large and well
organised. They can be a huge plus in your corner, IF you reach out to
them. Americans need your leadership on this issue. I have written to you
before about improving bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure-in fact, I sent
you an email last week, encouraging you to fight to return transportation
enhancements for bicycle/pedestrian infrastucture back into the
Transportation budget now before Congress. These are TE's that have been
in place since the Reagan administration!

I would be happy to put you in contact with a number of lobbyists that can
give you any support you need to take this fight to the Senate floor. We
will be heard, it is just a matter of whether or not our elected officials
will listen!

Thank you for your time.

Written this Saturday morning before I bicycle nine/tenths of a mile to work!

Sincerely Yours,
Glen Gullickson

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hillsborough County, We Give You Permission To Build A Section Of The Connector Trail

SWFBUD joined a bunch of other bicyclists tonight in north Hillsborough County for an update on a segment of the trail that will connect the Suncoast Trail with the Upper Tampa Bay Trail. The county wanted to get comments from the masses last night and SWFBUD offers these two words:

Build it.

For those who would like a rundown on this particular trail project, I offer you this very official-sounding description:


-- Section “C” is the northern most section of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.

-- TRAIL DATA: Paved, 12 Feet Wide
4.35 Total Miles
2,475 Feet of Boardwalk

-- CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE: Start: September 2012

-- Substantial Completion: November 2013

-- PROPOSED CONSTR. FUNDING: Existing in CIP 80222 – $791,800
Transfer from CIP 89002 - $1,200,000
Existing from SWFWMD - $630,000
(To be used in the Preserve Only)
Unsecured FDOT LAP Funding - $1,500,000

The Double Ironman Is Here!

For those who believe the Ironman distances are too boring and short I offer you the Double Ironman event at Flatwoods park outside Tampa. The headquarters is where I staged the SWFBUD Bicycle Bash at Flatwoods and I was told today that the Double Ironman begins Friday. Good luck to the contestants and happy carbo-loading.

Sometimes Bicycling Can Be Electric

This morning I ambled over to the electric vehicle show in Tampa to check out the e-bikes. I'm a human-powered bicyclist myself, but I also believe in options for people who love to move on two wheels but might be too ailing to ride a bicycle via muscle power. Lots of retailers sell battery-powered bikes and retail power Trek is among the companies that offer e-bikes.

I caught up with my friend and fellow bicyclist Rob Keith, who did marketing and PR for the electric vehicle event and met event organizer Victor Juarez, who is pictured above riding the high-powered pedi-cab.

This folding e-moto bike was on sale for $799.

There's always a display with a conversion kit that was used on these bikes.

SWFBUD Supports Connecting Suncoast and Upper Tampa Bay Trails

Dear County Commissioners,

SWFBUD will be attending a Hillsborough County information meeting tonight regarding the proposed trail to connect the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail. For nearly the past five years, SWFBUD has advised the Hillsborough County Commission to move forward with connecting these two regional trails and the connector trail is a top priority in the MPO bike trail plans.

I am speaking on behalf of the thousands of bicyclists represented by SWFBUD's retail bicycle shops in advising you to please connect these two trails. For years, this has been discussed and the connection of the two trails is a long time coming.

I hope you can attend tonight's meeting on the status of the connector trail that would link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail.


Alan Snel
Director of SWFBUD -- South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers

Marlins Beat Reporter Pedals To "Work"

Joe Capozzi covers the Miami Marlins for the Palm Beach Post and knows the best way to get to his beat at the Marlins spring training camp in Jupiter is via bicycle.

Joe and I have the unique common experience of reporting about former Marlins president Don Smiley and former Port St. Lucue City Manager Don Cooper -- which was the highlight of our newspaper careers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SWFBUD Supports Bike Lanes As Part of US 301 Improvements

The local Florida DOT office is holding a public information meeting on proposed improvements to US 301/State Road 41 on Tuesday from 5 pm to 7 pm at the FDOT District 7 office at 11201 N. McKinley Drive in Tampa -- just south of the USF campus.

The proposed improvements are from south of the Tampa Bypass Canal Trail to north of Fowler Avenue.

For bicyclists, you should know that the proposal includes widening 301 from 2 lanes to 4 lanes, with sidewalks and bicycle facilities (which I guess means bike lanes).

Please attend and advise the DOT how important it is to have safe bike lanes on roads whenever they are improved.

Meeting For The Connector Trail to Link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail to the Suncoast Trail

There's a Hillsborough County meeting Thursday to get comments from the public about the connector trail that would link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail.

SWFBUD has for years lobbied Hillsborough County commissioners to connect the two trails.

Please attend this meeting to voice your support for this connection.

Here's the info: UPPER TAMPA BAY TRAIL PHASE IV “C” CIP# 80222
Public Awareness Meeting February 23, 2012
Martinez Middle School, 5601 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road

Section “C” is the northern most section of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.

It will begin at Van Dyke Road and the old railroad corridor that is now owned by Tampa Bay Water.

The trail will proceed north to a point across from Wayne Road and Gunn Highway intersection; turn east proceeding along trail right of way accessing the Brooker Creek Headwaters Preserve.

The trail will meander north along the western limits of the preserve to a trailhead along Lutz Lake Fern Road approximately one half mile east of Still Wood Drive.

From here, the trail will continue east along the south side of Lutz Lake Fern Road via trail right of way to a signalized crossing to the north side.

The alignment from here meanders along trail right of way until it connects to the Suncoast Trail at the Suncoast Expressway.

TRAIL DATA: Paved, 12 Feet Wide
4.35 Total Miles
2,475 Feet of Boardwalk

TRAIL USE: Multi-use (Hikers, Joggers, Skaters, Cyclist), Daylight hours or as posted, No Equestrian Use, No bikes off the paved trail in the Preserve

TRAILHEAD: Replaces existing parking facility at the Suncoast Expressway
53 Parking Spaces (Increased parking by 28 spaces)
Permanent Restrooms
24’x24’Picnic Shelter
Other Amenities


CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE: Start: September 2012
Substantial Completion: November 2013

PROPOSED CONSTR. FUNDING: Existing in CIP 80222 – $791,800
Transfer from CIP 89002 - $1,200,000
Existing from SWFWMD - $630,000
(To be used in the Preserve Only)
Unsecured FDOT LAP Funding - $1,500,000
(To be used along LLF Rd. Only)



SWFBUD Store Velo Champ Broken Into During Monday Night

SWFBUD was saddened to hear that SWFBUD bike shop Velo Champ in Seminole Heights was broken into on Monday night. Here is the post on Velo Champ's Facebook page:

"To our customers, neighbors and the bay area cycling community. Our shop was broken into last night (Monday) at 9:00pm. A storefront window was broken out and a Cinelli cyclocross bike was stolen and later recovered.

"Thanks to a neighbor, who while jogging, witnessed the break-in and called 911 following the prompt notification to TPD by our alarm company.

"Any information regarding the incident will be appreciated. We are thankful that we have such careful neighbors, and hope with fingerprints and a witness, that we can catch this person.

Support Your Local."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

SWFBUD Swap Meet Draws Nice Crowd To Taco Bus St. Pete

SWFBUD partnered with the Taco Bus in St. Petersburg to have a terrific swap meet, even with the breezy gusts and the occasional light rain.

I spoke with many folks about the BAM Network -- Bicycle Area Mobility system to tie the Tampa Bypass Canal Trail, the South Coast Greenway and the Selmon Greenway into a unified highway system for bicyclists. SWFBUD bike shops also enjoyed meeting customers.

Thank you Taco Bus!

Brian shares his bicycle expertise with a swap meet attendee

Clayton had a good time selling from the back of his Yaris.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Report Shows Bicyclist Deaths Decreased Nationally

NHTSA Report Indicates a Decrease in Cycling Fatality Rates in Latest Data
San Francisco, CA

A report released in by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found encouraging news in the grim annual toll of cycling fatalities: 630 "pedalcyclists" were killed in 2009, down twelve percent from the 718 fatalities reported in 2008. The overall accident trend is also down two percent, with 51,000 cyclists injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2009, compared with 52,000 cyclists injured in 2008. The NHTSA figures are collected annually, but the 2009 data is the latest to be published by the government.

Road ID founder Edward Wimmer noted, "It's a difficult issue to talk about, especially given the recent death of 19-year-old cyclist Megan Babb, but we are in the position of hearing about accidents literally every day, so these new figures are somewhat encouraging. The data can be a bit hard to find, but we hope by bringing it to the attention of the bike community, we can add our voice to the critical need for bike safety in our national transportation planning."

Cycling fatalities account for just two percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities and injuries, with the largest percentage of these accidents occurring during the daylight hours between 4 a.m. and 8 p.m. (29%). Around 70 percent of fatalities in both 2008 and 2009 occurred in urban locations, with males making up the majority of this population (87%).

Bob Mionske, a former U.S. Olympian in cycling and a leading lawyer for cyclists, said, "While I'm not ready to call this a trend yet, continued advocacy from the cycling community may be making a difference and can only help decrease these numbers."

With winter in full swing, Road ID has posted a comprehensive series of safety videos on its website with tips for drivers and cyclists called Rules of the Road. Here are a few select tips to help cyclists and drivers navigate the roads safely.

For Cyclists:

Obey all traffic laws: Stop at stoplights and stop signs. Signal your turns. Ride in a straight, predictable manner, keeping to the right -- but not so far right that you risk hitting the curb or debris. And always be alert for a car door opening in your path.

Be aware of cars: Do not ride in a driver's blind spot. Ride where they can see you. Making eye contact with a driver is an effective way to ensure your safety.

Make yourself seen: Maximize your visibility by wearing bright or reflective apparel designed specifically for bikers. Don t move into traffic lanes without looking first to see if it is safe.

Defuse Road Rage: Minimize the risk of conflict by following the rules of the road and riding safely and courteously. No running red lights or stop signs.

Wear identification: Bob Mionske recommends that cyclists wear identification, such as a Road ID bracelet. Road ID products are simple, affordable laser-engraved identifications that can provide life-saving information to first responders.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly: wear a helmet. Always.

For Drivers:

Be aware of cyclists: The most common reason for accidents is drivers simply not noticing bike riders. On all non-freeway routes, expect to see and share the road with bikers and pedestrians. Use your turn signals to help cyclists know your intent.

Share the road: Bicycles are "vehicles" too, and are entitled to use all roadways except for freeways. State laws differ, but most vehicle codes mandate that you pass cyclist with room to spare (3 feet) and only when it is safe.

Pass with care: One of the most common accidents involve a car overtaking a bike and turning in front of them. Err on the side of caution, slow down and let a cyclist through an intersection before you make your turn.

About Road ID
Road ID was born in the fall of 1999, when Edward Wimmer was training for a marathon and had a close encounter with a motorist. His father, Co-Founder Mike Wimmer, has voiced concern regarding the fact that he did not carry ID during training. The near miss was the catalyst for the creation of wearable ID gear for outdoor enthusiasts. Road ID now offers a variety of models including the Wrist ID Sport, the Wrist ID Elite, the Wrist ID Slim, the Ankle ID, the Shoe ID, the Fixx ID (necklace) and is a staple for professional and amateur athletes alike. For more information about Road ID, visit: www.RoadID.com

Information on traffic fatalities is available from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), NVS-424, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. NCSA can be contacted at 800-934-8517 or via the following e-mail address: ncsaweb@dot.gov. General information on highway traffic safety can be accessed by Internet users at www.nhtsa.gov/NCSA. To report a safety-related problem or to inquire about motor vehicle safety information, contact the Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SWFBUD Swap Meet -- Feb 19, 11 am to 3 pm at Taco Bus St. Petersburg

Just a reminder -- the SWFBUD Swap Meet is Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm at the Taco Bus St. Pete at 2324 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.

SWFBUD stores will be selling great gear, closeouts, clothing and used bikes -- and individuals can sell too for only $10.

We have the Chocolate Mushroom Gravy Band playing live music and the Taco Bus will be serving its great food.

alansnel@yahoo.com for more info or questions.

Another Bicyclist Is Killed In Hillsborough County Monday

SWFBUD mourns the loss of another bicyclist killed on the roads of Hillsborough County/Tampa Bay area.

This time in the middle of the afternoon at 2:04 PM Monday an 18-year-old woman was killed.

She was crossing US 41 when struck by a Chrysler PT Cruiser. It was one year to the day that Dr. Robert Niedbalec was killed on Fletcher Avenue in Temple Terrace on Feb. 13, 2011.

Monday, February 13, 2012

One-Year Anniversary of Bicyclist's Death

One year ago today, two motorists racing down Fletcher Avenue and driving erractically between 42nd Street and I-75 outside Tampa led to the death of veterinarian Robert Niedbalec of Temple Terrace who was killed while riding his bicycle in the bike lane by one of the drivers.

SWFBUD thanks the hard work of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which arrested the drivers a few months ago.

Here is the HCSO press release on the arrest of the drivers in connection with Robert's death.

Daniel M., who lived in the area, installed the ghost bike in Robert's memory.

RIP Robert.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sally Talks About Parents Bicycling On Bayshore Blvd. In Tampa

The city of Tampa has extended a bike lane that previously ended about a mile and a half shy of downtown and now it's much more pleasant to ride a bicycle on the city's signature road. Sally Thompson, a trails and bicycle supporter, talks about how her parents used to ride a bike on Bayshore.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

City of Tampa, Take Down That "Bike Lane Ends" Sign!

SWFBUD asked the city of Tampa for years to improve Bayshore Blvd -- and recently the city extended a former bike lane that ended a mile and a half from downtown.

That meant the "Bike Lane Ends" sign could be toppled and removed.

And it was this afternoon as city staffers removed the sign that was no longer needed.

On my left is Sally Thompson, Jean Duncan, Jim Shirk and Beth Alden.

A Tampa public works employee prepares to remove sign.

A bicyclist came by and enjoys the new bike lane on Bayshore.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Support Trail Connecting Upper Tampa Bay Trail To Suncoast Trail

Please tell Hillsborough County to build the connection trail between the Suncoast Trail and the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.

There will be a meeting for UPPER TAMPA BAY TRAIL PHASE IV "C" at the Martinez Middle School at 5601 W. Lutz Lake Fern Rd., Lutz, Fl 33558 on Thursday Feb. 23 at
6:30 p.m. to voice your support.

The contact is Richard Sanders at 813-307-1840

Details Of Project:

Construction Plans complete for trail from Van Dyke Road through the Preserve along Lutz Lake Fern to the Suncoast Trail at Suncoast Expressway. Some remaining funding issues to build all. Expected to build some portion now maybe all if FDOT LAP funds become available. Scheduled for September Construction NTP.

Project will provide 4.3 additional miles of a paved recreational trail through a protected preserve offering the experience most never get a chance to see up close.

Tampa Removes Bike Lane Ends Sign Wednesday at 1 PM

Come and witness a fun moment when the Tampa public works department removes a "Bike Lane Ends" sign tomorrow at 1 PM on Bayshore. The city extended the bike lane on Bayshore and can now remove the bike lane ends sign.

I'll be meeting the public works guys at 1 PM Wednesday for the fun moment and for some photos.

Another Tour de France Winner Caught Up In Doping Scandal

Those steaks will get you every time Alberto.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thank You Michael Ploch For Printing BAM Shirts

Michael Ploch shares his enthusiasm and support for cycling by backing SWFBUD and SWFBUD's BAM Network plan. Here's a T-shirt designed by Michael to support the BAM -- Bicycle Area Mobility -- in Hillsborough County. The T-shirt shows the BAM map designed by HOK architect Nico Stearley.

Please contact alansnel@yahoo.com if you want a T-shirt. They're $10 each.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thank You Rep. Janet Cruz of Tampa For Supporting Bicycling and The BAM Network

My Fellow Members of the Hillsborough Legislative Delegation:

I am writing to express my support for the expansion of the “BAM Network” for Bicycle Area Mobility. Aside from the inherent road safety benefits, the BAM Network promises to provide significant benefits in health, the economy and jobs, and tourism.

Attached is information about BAM and contact information for the director, Alan Snel of the South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers (SWFBUD) organization. Also attached is a letter of support.

I urge you all to write a letter of support for the BAM network so that our local government can see that the State is in support of this initiative. Alan is collecting letters from each Representative and Senator to submit in a packet to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, The Hillsborough County Commissioners, The Tampa City Councilmembers and the local MPO.

Janet Cruz

Here is Janet's letter of support:

January 11, 2012

Alan Snel, Director
South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers


I am writing to express my support for the expansion of the “BAM Network” for Bicycle Area Mobility. The construction of the three multi-use trails in this project will tremendously improve Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa. The project will add 30 miles of safe, paved trails, creating an integrated and cohesive network for riders, and more effective transportation for all. Aside from the inherent road safety benefits, the BAM Network promises to provide significant benefits in health, the economy and jobs, and tourism.

Studies have shown large correlations among the amount of developed bicycle, and pedestrian trails in a city, and better health, higher rates of creativity, and more job opportunities and successful small businesses. Expanding the trails will also promote exploration and appreciation of our local gems of culture, heritage, and history by tourists and residents alike. I believe that the BAM Network will holistically improve our community and will contribute to a higher quality of life for all of us who call Tampa Bay home. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle agree that the BAM Network has the potential to help reenergize our city. I hope you will stand up with me for the BAM Network and Tampa Bay as we move our community forward.


Janet Cruz
Florida State Representative, District 58

CC: The Honorable Bob Buckhorn, Mayor
Tampa City Council
Hillsborough County Commission
Hllsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization