Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bicyclist Killed In St. Petersburg This Morning

Another bicyclist is killed in the Tampa Bay area. This time it was in St. Petersburg this morning. The Tampa Bay Times offers this very short brief: http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/accidents/bicyclist-killed-in-st-petersburg-traffic-crash/1232530

Beefed-up Bicycle Parking Area Available at June 6 Hillsborough County Commission Meeting on TrailBridge

Jim Shirk, the czar of the bicycle parking, will be setting up a bicycle parking area at the Hillsborough County Commission meeting on June 6. Bike on over to the meeting at Kennedy and Morgan in downtown Tampa -- it's the easiest way to get there and the parking is the closest and the least expensive (free).

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bicycle Stories Wishes You Happy Memorial Day and Remembers The War Fallen

We have many different opinions about war and the policies that lead, grow and end wars in this country. But today I hope we can all agree that we should remember those who died in war. I saw this flag while cycling on 22nd in Sulphur Springs in Tampa, Fla. and I share this photo with you today on Memorial Day.

Jury Trial For Kay's Case Finally Set

Bicyclist Jose Menendez tracks bicyclist deaths and looked into the court case related to the motorist who killed bicyclist Kayoko Ishizuka near USF in 2010.

A pretrial hearing for the motorist, Shawn Burton, was scheduled to start last week before Judge Steven Scott Stephens in courtroom CR18 in the Courthouse Annex.

Jose says the jury trial is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 11 before the same judge in the same courtroom. (That's 1 year, 8 months, and 17 days after Kay's death!) A charge status link shows that he's charged with "leaving the scene of a crash with death" -- a 1st degree felony.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

TB Times Column Supports FTB Renewal

SWFBUD is proud to be part of a group of professionals trying to put the brakes on demolishing the iconic Friendship TrailBridge and convince Hillsborough County Commissioners to accept and approve a business plan submitted more than a month ago to rebuild the FTB into a world-class linear park above the bay.

Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times is buying in: http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/a-grand-plan-for-the-gandy-bridges-comeback/1232130

Friday, May 25, 2012

Portland Tops Bicycling's Top 50 Bike Town List

Bicycling Magazine has come out with its Top 50 bicycle cities. Interesting to see that Miami is in the Top 59. Tampa no where to be seen. St. Pete didn't make it either.

Portland tops the list.


One Lucky Salmon Bicyclist

Check out this three-year-old riding into a busy intersection in China: http://news.yahoo.com/video/oddnews-29306207/toddler-rides-tricycle-into-traffic-29440646.html#crsl=%252Fvideo%252Foddnews-29306207%252Fdaredevil-toddler-rides-tricycle-into-busy-china-traffic-and-escapes-unharmed-29440646.html

Tampa Bay's Collective Driving/Biking IQ -- Not Too High

For every distracted motorist like this guy working on his computer while driving we have salmon bicyclists like the guy below, biking the wrong way with ear plugs. I have never lived in an area where so many motorists and bicyclists engage in so much risky behavior on our roadways. These photos were taken on 15-mile bike ride today in the city of Tampa.

Tell Beckner To Back Bicycling In Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner will be at the Seminole Heights Library from 11 am to 1 pm today. Go to the libe on Central Avenue at the Osborne corner and advise Comissioner Beckner that you want him to support the Bicycle Area Mobility (BAM) Network and the Friendship TrailBridge plan. Tell him people want improved bicycle resources in Hillsborough County.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hillsborough County Offering Bicycle Camp at Flatwoods Park

I have been informed that Hillsborough is conducting a Flatwoods Bicycle Camp at beautiful Flatwoods County Park off if Morris Bridge Road.

Here is the information:

Flatwoods Bicycle Camp, 14302 Morris Bridge Road in Thonotosassa

This camp offers a unique bicycle camp for teens age 13-17 only. Although this camp focuses on bicycling, it offers so much more. Activities include biking, canoeing, conservation, ecology, hiking, nature and fishing activities. Bicycle safety, basic bicycle maintenance, and orienteering will also be covered

Registration is ongoing Monday - Friday, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Parks, Recreation and Conservation's main office only 10119 Windhorst Road, Tampa, FL 33619

Information on all camps and registration forms are on this website

For information, the public can contact Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation at 813-635-3500.

League Launches Initiative To Document Bicyclist Deaths In U.S.

The League of American Bicyclists has started a new initiative called "Every Bicyclist Counts" to document bicyclist deaths in the U.S. Here in Hillsborough County, we have Jose Menendez doing that. Andy Clarke, the League's terrific presidenbt who has been made aware of the Tampa Bay cyclist deaths, has contacted folks about the new initiative and is looking for donations to run it. Here's Andy's message:

We know a lot about bike crashes and how to avoid them, but we need to know -- and do -- more. And, for that, we need your support.

We know bicycling is a safe, healthy and fun thing to do. We know that as more people ride, cycling gets safer for all of us. But we know we have a responsibility to you, a valued member of the League of American Bicyclists, to deal head-on with the risks associated with riding a bike. We have to. We can't go on losing 600 or more cyclists' lives every year.

We need your financial help today, because this is a big task and because people's lives depend on it.

We recently launched a new initiative - Every Bicyclist Counts - where we are documenting every cyclist fatality we hear about through newspaper and on-line reports, via e-mail and bike club discussion groups, blogs and newsletters.

We're doing this to enable the family and friends of the victim's to grieve, to celebrate the life of their loved one, and to share in the important process of preventing these needless tragedies from happening again. We're also doing this to collect as much information as we can from official sources, to provide a space for input from those involved or affected by the crashes, and to track what happens after the crash. Thus far, we've entered more than 150 fatal crashes and we're already learning a lot.

This isn't a glamorous or fun part of the job - but no-one else is going to do it for us. The only way we'll be able to continue to do this work, and to work to analyze how to end fatal crashes, is with your support. Already, a generous donor to Every Bicyclist Counts has enabled us to create a custom, interactive map of fatal crashes across the country; click here to view this new resource.

We love what we do. There can be no greater privilege and few higher callings than promoting something as overwhelmingly positive as cycling. That's what makes these tragedies even harder to bear. If we are going to make a difference in Hillsborough County, we have to make a difference nationally.

We couldn't do any of this without your voice, your support, and your financial contributions. Every Bicyclist Counts .


Andy Clarke
League President
P.S. We appreciate your support so much. If you donate more than $200, we'll send you a signed copy of a book about the reason we all love to ride: Joyride by Mia Birk.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Students Suspended For Biking To School

In the spirit of a middle school in Saratoga Springs, NY that tried to prevent a student from bicycling to school a few years ago is this gem:


Monday, May 21, 2012

Thank You Al Ruechel at Bay News 9 For Discussing The Friendship TrailBridge Today

It was terrific to meet Bay News 9 anchor/bicyclist Al Ruechel and discuss the Friendship TrailBridge draft plan that SWFBUD supports to transform the closed FTB into a world-class linear park above the Bay.
Al is a huge bicyclist himself, so he easily related to the need to have more safe and pleasant places to ride your bicycle in the Tampa Bay area. I urge everyone to read the draft plan here: http://friendshiptrailbridge.com/plan Also, circle June 6 because that's when we need your support at a Hillsborough County Commission meeting to get at least four of the seven commissioneres to approve an initial eight-month period to conduct a feasibility study. We hope to raise $250,000-$300,000 to pay fo the feasibility report.

Tampa Architect and FTB Report Author Addresses Bridge Issues

The Tampa Bay Times published a story on the Friendship TrailBridge that was one-sided and riddled with errors that I am not going to post it here, In the comments section, one of the FTB report authors -- Tampa architect Ken Cowart -- addressed all the issues and I am posting Ken's comments here. The Times story did not even contact Ken or fellow report author Kevin Thurmon.

Ken's comments:

1. Our plan can be downloaded and viewed by anyone at friendshiptrailbridge dot com, it is a comprehensive 70 page plan an 200 page appendix with all the facts, history and data.

2. In our plan we are not requesting any additional monies from either county, only the funds already allocated for demolition.

3. The bridge was not closed for vehicular use in 1995 due to structural issues, it was shut down due to the new span constructed.

4. In 2008 when structural issues were discovered they were limited to the girders on the low span approaches. This is why our plan involves the immediate demolition of these portions.

5. Contrary to the article, our plan includes monies for the repair of the pilings, we simply disagree with staff that every single piling must be repaired on day one, especially the pilings that are in good condition. We will repair every piling during the first 10 years of operation. Which is more than most bridges in Pinellas.

6. Engineers did NOT look at the bridge again in 2010. They simply performed a peer review of the previous report. The price tag of $48 million was flat out rejected at the time because it suggested an inappropraite repair option. Previous repairs were estimated between $7 and $15 million.

7. Our plan includes a series of benchmarks in order to not put the tax-payer at risk. We plan to raise the needed $13.7 million dollars from the private sector over 5 years.

After countless interviews and discussions with several people in the media, it is puzzling that not one of the "backers" were contacted prior to this article being published. Saving the Friendship Trail Bridge is saving a tremendous asset to the community. Over 600,000 users a year when it was opened! That's a lot! It is one thing that connects Hillsborough and Pinellas and allows citizens to appreciate Tampa Bay.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Catching Up On This and That

It was great to join Julia Gorzka on WMNF radio this morning to discuss the plan to extend the life of the Friendship TrailBRidge. Read my Tampa Tribune commentary on restoring the FTB: http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2012/may/14/naopino1-a-safe-haven-that-should-remain-upright-ar-403094/

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan responded to letter writers this way about the FTB:

"Thank you very much for your email in support of the Friendship Trail Bridge. I am excited about the possibility of saving this wonderful community asset and look forward to the Board discussion during our June 6th Meeting."

* * *

Lance Armstring is paying a visit to sleepy Haines City in east Polk County to do the Haines City Ironman Sunday.

* * *

Nice ending to the story about the St. Petersburg woman who has her adult trike stolen.

* * *

Congrats to Velo Champ, a SWFBUD bike shop in Seminole Heights, for celebrating its one-year anniversary last night. Jordan Miller and parents Sue and Doug run a boutique bike shop that is helping drive bicycle culture in Tampa.

* * *

Speaking of bicycle culture, Chip Haynes ("Uncle Chipster" has come up with a nice idea of creating a "BICYCLISTS WELCOME" sign for businesses that support bicycling. Let Uncle Chipster explain:

"I came up with the idea of a “CYCLISTS WELCOME” sign for businesses and public buildings to use to attract more bicycle traffic (and less car traffic) to their location. FASTSIGNS of Clearwater, Florida has become the proud provider of said sign, and is offering free shipping anywhere in the continental US for anyone that orders them. I thought that was mighty nice of them. I’ve already ordered one for my house. (Cyclists are most certainly welcome here.) "

* * *

Tampa Councilwoman Mary Mulhern's aide indicated that there might be $3,000 to pay for reflective vests and bike lights for the "Guys on bikes" who bike at night without lights and vests:

"The City of Tampa Transportation Division has identified $3,000 possible funding opportunity within the Division's budget that would support funding material such as lights and vests for the issuance to bicyclists. When funding is confirmed, we will return with a proposed funding agreement in coordination with the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

14 Bicyclists Brave The Rain For Ride of Silence in Dunedin/Clearwater

Ruth Holmberg of the Suncoast Cycling Club wrote this touching account about last night's Ride of Silence for the Suncoast Cycling Club's Facebook page. They rode 11 miles in the rain in the Dunedin/Clearwater area in Pinellas County.

Fourteen hardy souls joined me to brave the elements. A big thank you to all who came out and got soaked with me. We rode our slow, silent 11 plus miles in a steady downpour and as we skirted Saint Joseph Sound near the end of the route we were treated to an anomaly of nature - the orange ball of the sun hovering above the horizon, trying desperately to shine through the clouds and rain. The effect was an eerie glow of pale yet brilliant orange in a misty gray sky. A fitting tribute to our fallen comrades.

Special thanks to Harold Mitnick for doing much of the leg work for this year's event, especially procuring and painting our ghost bike; and to Chuck Holley for spending an enormous amount of his limited free time
rigging up a trailer so that the ghost bike could be towed along the route at rider level.

* * *

In Tampa, there was also a Ride of Silence and the local FOX news station was there for the story:


* * *

And in Clermont northwest of Orlando, Lacey Nickell, whose dad was bicycling when killed by a motorist, helped organized a Ride of Silence (with Sara McLarty whose dad was also killed while bicycling) and wrote this poem:

In the Silence
Tonight we join an event world wide
To honor the injured and loved ones who died
Together we will ride silent and slow
To raise awareness of cyclist rights on the road
Maybe you've heard stories, or it's happened to you
Where a car will pull up, leaving an inch or two
They think it's funny, and that it's okay
They think cyclist should get out of THEIR way
Little do they know how wro
ng they are
That we cyclist have the same rights as a car
It's because of their ignorance when their tires veer
That our loved ones physically are no longer here
But their memories will live inside us until we see them again
So tonight this ride is dedicated to every one of them.

Clermont Ride of Silence 2012
In honor of the lives of Harry Nickell and Brent McLarty

* * *

In Chattanooga, Tenn., checvk out this media coverage of the Ride of Silence:


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pinellas Public Works Officials Oppose Draft Plan To Transform Friendship TrailBridge

I was not surprised to hear this afternoon that Pinellas County public works officials have recommended against a very cool new draft plan submitted last week that would transform the closed Friendship TrailBridge into a world-class linear park across the Bay connecting Tampa and St. Petersburg.

My good friend Mitch Perry at Creative Loafing did an update story today explaining Pinellas public works officials opposed the draft plan. Pinellas is taking a look at the FTB draft plan because both Pinellas and Hillsborough jointly own the TrailBridge, which has been closed since November of 2008.

What's very disappointing about Pinellas County's action is that the public works staff didn't even show the professional courtesy of meeting the FTB draft plan's authors, Kevin Thurmon and Ken Cowart, to discuss the issues with the draft report.

Kevin and Ken would be happy to meet Pinellas staff to address the county's concerns.

Pinellas' opposition to infusing new life into the FTB does not surprise me because I lobbied the Pinellas county commission three years ago on behalf of SWFBUD to apply for federal funds to repair the FTB. But the Pinellas commissioners voted 7-0 at the time to not even apply for federal money.

Fast-forward three years and Pinellas staff this week opposed repairing the FTB. Mitch's story offers some details on why Pinellas staff opposed the draft plan and includes Kevin's good comment about all we want is a meeting to discuss the draft report.


The Pinellas public official, Jorge Quintas, spoke with Mitch Perry but did not even have the decency to talk with the report's authors, Kevin and Ken.

Meanwhile on the Hillsborough County side of the Bay, Hillsborough public works staff is still reviewing the draft FTB plan.

How can you help?

Please write or call the Pinellas County commissioners to advise them to have Pinellas public works staff officials meet with Kevin and Ken to discuss the FTB draft plan. Use this link to contact the Pinellas commissioners: http://www.pinellascounty.org/commission/default.htm

And please continue calling and writing the Hillsborough County Commissioners and tell them to support the FTB draft plan. Contact Hillsborough commissioners at this link: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/bocc/about/contactus.cfm

And here are your talking points (which ran in a previous Patch blog post): http://seminoleheights.patch.com/blog_posts/tips-to-write-a-letter-to-county-commissioners-to-save-the-friendship-trailbridge

Rides of Silence To Memorialize Bicyclists Killed By Cars

On Wednesday, there will be two Rides of Silence in the Tampa Bay area. One will be in Dunedin/Clearwater area starting from the Publix shopping center on Curlew and Alt. 19 and in Tampa starting from Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa. In both cases, please gather at 6:30 PM and rides will start at 7 PM.

LInks To Help You Write County Commissioners On Saving The TrailBridge

Check out this link -- it has all the county commissioners in Hillsborough County to contact them with a message abiout saving the Friendship TrailBridge:


Read about the case to save the FTB: http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2012/may/14/naopino1-a-safe-haven-that-should-remain-upright-ar-403096/

And here are your talking points: http://seminoleheights.patch.com/blog_posts/tips-to-write-a-letter-to-county-commissioners-to-save-the-friendship-trailbridge

Monday, May 14, 2012

SWFBUD Talking Points To Support the Friendship TrailBridge Transformation

SWFBUD offers these talking points to people who want to write, email or call Hillsborough County commissioners to advise them to support the submitted plan to transform the Friendship TrailBridge into a world-class linear park over the Bay:


Friendship TrailBridge Commentary Runs In Tampa Tribune

Tampa Tribune runs my commentary on saving the TrailBridge: http://duke1.tbo.com/content/2012/may/14/NAOPINO1-a-safe-haven-that-should-remain-upright/news-opinion-commentary/

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ride of Silence Set for 7 PM in Dunedin/Clearwater

The Suncoast Cycling Club's 10th Annual Ride of Silence is set for Wed May 16 at 7 pm at Caladesi Shopping Center at Curlew Rd and Alt 19 in Dunedin. There will be a Sheriff's Dept escort and a ghost bike as part of the annual ride. The ride goes through scenic areas of Dunedin and Clearwater winding along the intercoastal waterway at near sunset.

Bike Valet A Hit At Seminole Heights Sunday Market

Today was the last Seminole Heights Sunday Market of the season and last time to do the bicycle valet 'til October. The Seminole Heights Bicycle Club and the bike parking czar himself -- Jim Shirk -- were proud to offer this free service at the Sunday Market. Here's SHBC member Margaret Shepherd, who led a dynamite Sunday ride to the market, at the bike valet in front of beautiful Hillsborough High School.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trek Store of St. Petersburg Holds Bike 'n Eat Bicycle Ride -- Visits 5 Reatsurants On Bike Tour This Afternoon

Kudos to SWFBUD shop Trek Store of St. Petersburg for holding its annual restaurant bicycle tour in St. Pete, drawing 100 bicyclists who enjoyed samples from five restaurants this afternoon. I especially enjoyed pedaling with the hungry cyclists pedaling a wide variety of two-wheelers. It reminded me of the Hub Grub Bicycle Ride -- a restaurant bicycle ride I used to orchestrate in Seminole Heights the past few years.

Anne Fidanzato led the first wave of 50 bicyclists to Casita Taqueria, Meze, the Ale and the Witch, Parkshore Grill and Westshore Pizza back at the Trek Store parking lot on 4th Street in St. Pete. Husband Rick led the second wave.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Poster Unveiled To Save the Friendship TrailBridge

Hillsborough County commissioners will discuss the plan to save the Friendship TrailBridge on June 6. To remind you, please check out this poster created by SWFBUD bike shop Velo Champ in Seminole Heights.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tampa Ride of Silence -- May 16, 6:30PM Curtis Hixon Park

SWFBUD Statement On Plan To Renew Friendship TrailBridge

Why give the closed Friendship TrailBridge a makeover?

Let's look at the big picture: It's all about economic competition between major urban markets in this country.

When companies go shopping for cities to call home, they visit urban centers with a checklist that includes everything from schools to parks.

Tampa Bay's biggest calling card is our watery geography and weather -- so let's invest in infrastructure and amenities that showcase our strength. And that's providing people -- both residents and visitors -- access to water via a world-class linear facility. After all, the Bay is the geographic feature that lends us our identity and ties all of us together here in Tampa Bay.

Before the TrailBridge was closed in 2008, more than 600,000 annual users biked, walked, fished, rollerbladed this 2.6-mile public treasure. The variety of users was stunning, coming from all walks of life and both sides of the Bay.

Our planners know that people in Tampa Bay are thirsting for not only a safe place to bike and walk but also a pleasant venue. Our region has a notorious national reputation for the tragic high number of bicyclist and pedestrian deaths, so why is Hillsborough County considering blowing up a safe haven when we should be increasing our inventory of safe and attractive places to walk and bike?

The business blueprint to create a new chapter in the life of this bridge does not call for Hillsborough County to underwrite the bill to fix the resource. Instead, the game plan is simple -- local residents will create a non-profit and that non-profit will team up with Hillsborough County to form a private-public partnership.

For $13.7 million in donations and grants, we will save the good parts of the current bridge and replace the bad parts that have been damaged by the spray of salt water.

Here's the structural lowdown: The removed low span approaches can be replaced with modern, prefabricated metal structures commonly used for pedestrian bridges and trails. By replacing the low span approaches with new metal structures, the life expectancy is increased to more than 30 years, while the overall weight and yearly maintenance costs are significantly decreased.

Where will the money come from? Revenue to transform the FTB will come from three main sources; donations, grants, and fees.

Where will the money come from to maintain the new life of the bridge that we expect will last at least another 30 years to at least 2047? During the entire project, 55 percent of funds will come from donations and 45 percent will come from revenue after the bridge is opened including vendor rentals, parking fees and special events.

We believe a new and improved TrailBridge carries economic clout: A transformed bridge will be visited by more than 680,000 people a year and will increase direct spending by $14 million per year or more in both counties. That translates into more than $786 million in spending and 35 million visitors during the TrailBridge's extended new life.

As the director of a Tampa Bay alliance of 10 bike shops and the founder of an urban bicycle club in Tampa, the most popular refrain is, "I want to bike but I don't feel safe biking on local roads."

A new and improved TrailBridge helps answer that concern.

The idea of getting the TrailBridge back on line has struck a chord with so many different demographic groups in Tampa Bay and even radio sports talk hosts have taken up the cause.

Regrettably, our local elected leaders took an unimaginative approach to dealing with the closed TrailBridge. Proposed repair costs were across the board and eventually the easy way out was suggested -- blow the thing up.

Tampa Bay is in the fight for its economic life and destroying beloved iconic landmarks is not the strategy needed to compete with Southeast competitors such as Atlanta and Raleigh.

SWFBUD stands squarely behind a business blueprint that offers a realistic vision and feasible economic solution that has been submitted to Hillsborough County commissioners for review.

I know thousands of Tampa Bay residents want to walk, fish, bike and soak up the vistas from a new and improved TrailBridge. So, tell the county commissioners exactly that.

Commissioner Sandra L. Murman — District 1
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, PO Box 1110, District 1
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5470Fax: 813-272-7046

Commissioner Victor D. Crist — District 2
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 2
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5452Fax: 813-272-7047

Commissioner Lesley "Les" Miller, Jr. — District 3
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 3
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5720Fax: 813-272-7048

Commissioner Al Higginbotham — District 4 - Chairman
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 4
Tampa, FL 33601
Phone: 813-272-5740Fax: 813-272-7049

Commissioner Ken Hagan — District 5 (At-Large) - Chaplain
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 5
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5725Fax: 813-272-7052

Commissioner Kevin Beckner — District 6 (At-Large)
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 6
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5730Fax: 813-272-7053

Commissioner Mark Sharpe — District 7 (At-Large) - Vice-Chairman
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 7
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5735Fax: 813-272-7054

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Support The Plan To Give New Life To The Friendship TrailBridge

Here is the plan to create a new and improved Friendship TrailBridge -- a world-class linear park above the Bay.


Please call and email your county commissioners to advise them to support this plan for this amazing 2.6-mile path above the water and also attend a May 16 Hillsborough County Commission meeting.

Get involved.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Plan To Save Friendship TrailBridge Submitted To Hillsborough County Commissioners

A business plan developed by a group of residents to save the Friendship TrailBridge and rehab it into a world-class 2.6-mile-long walkway above the Bay was presented to the Hillsborough County comissioners today.

SWFBUD is part of this effort to refurbish the TrailBridge, which was used by thousands of bicyclists before the bridge was closed in 2008. The plan shows how the damaged parts of the bridge can be replaced and the economic feasibility of a new and improved TrailBridge.

Kudos to Kevin Thurmon and Ken Cowart for leading the charge and assembling this compelling report.

Please attend a Hillsborough County Commission meeting at 9 am Wednesday May 16 to tell the commissioners to not demolish the traiulbridge and to use this report as a springboard to action to give a new life to this amazing bridge.

Trek Store of St. Petersburg Holds Bike n Eat Ride Saturday

SWFBUD bike shops are always doing great things. For example, Bicycle Outfitters holds a great Christmas light bike ride through a neighborhood to raise money for hospice. Chainwheel Drive gave away bikes at holiday time last year. And Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium holds a free monthly safety class. SWFBUD lawyer J. Steele Olmstead just donated $2,000 to Tampa Police for rear-window Share the Road decals.
And on Saturday, the Trek Store of St. Petersburg is holding its St. Pete Bike n Eat bike ride that is a restaurant ride fashioned after the Hub Grub Rides of Seminole Heights.
Last year's Bike n Eat drew 100 bicyclists who visited six St. Petersburg restaurants And on Saturday bicyclists will be visiting five restaurants with the ride ending with a party at the Trek Store at 3169 Fourth Street in St. Pete. Riders should start gathering at 2:30 PM and the ride leaves at 3 PM. Bicyclists should please wear helmets.
Refreshments for the party will be donated by Cigar City Brewing Co. and the Chocolate Mushroom Gravy Band will be playing.

Early Morning Cycling

Summer is kicking in here in Florida, so I cranked the starting time back to 6 am for an early-morning ride. And it was great to see that the Temple Crest Baptist Church updated its sign on 40th Street just south of Busch Blvd. Here, the bread-toast combo is used as a powerful 1-2 punch to deliver the message.

I also met a bike commuter on 40th Street. Say hello to Pete, who commutes on two wheels from Seminole Heights to the USF campus via 40th Street. He works on physical plant assignments. On the way home from Flatwoods I was back on McKinley/40th Street heading south to the Busch Blvd. light and I noticed a coomon scene -- a driver reading her hand-held electronic gadget while also driving. She was staring at the smart phone while also driving into the left-turn lane. And there she is below. And when the green arrow came on she was clueless and didn't start to go until five seconds or so. As a Guy who's biking on the loacl streets and has a close-up view of drivers, I can tell you a stunning percentage of drivers are distracted by their phone gadgets. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pedal America TV Show Launches Series. Tampa Last In The Series

Congrats to Ira David for launching the Pedal America TV show now being seen on PBS stations across the US, including this morning on WEDU in Tampa. The first Pedal America episode was on that great bike town, Austin. And later in the season, a Pedal America show on the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club and Tampa Bay will be aired, too. You may recall Ira David and crew came to Tampa in December to film footage.

At Least There's A Share the Road Sign

SWFBUD has asked the city of Tampa to install bike lanes when they re-surface a road. Unfortunately, the city doesn't always do that -- but at least in this case on MacDill Ave. there is a share the road sign. That's Jason Wilson, former city council candidate, riding in the travel lane with the SWFBUD sharrow jersey.

My How Fast They Grow Up

When the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club was born a few years ago, Ian was ttraveling via bike trailer behind his mother's two-wheeler. Now look at him. During this morning's easy family ride, Ian is on his own two wheels, cranking up a hill off Lake Roberta in Seminole Heights. Thanks for the other kids who biked this morning, too -- Pressley, Diego and Eddie.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Pedal America TV Show Debuts In Tampa Bay On WEDU

Nice to see that the first episode of Pedal America -- the new bicycling show produced by my pal Ira David Levy -- will be making its debut in Tampa Bay Saturday May 5 on WEDU+ on Verizon Channel 476. The episode will be on Austin -- a super kick-ass bike town.

Ira David came to Tampa with his crew last December for an episode on the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club and Tampa Bay and I'll let you know when that episode runs. It's the last of the nine cities Ira David visited so the Tampa Bay episode will likely be aired down the road.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Velo Champ Celebrates One-Year Anniversary In Seminole Heights

Happy to hear that Velo Champ, a SWFBUD bike shop in Seminole Heights, will be celebrating its one-year anniversary on Thursday, May 17 at 7P M. (Velo Champ's actual anniversary was April 15 but the store felt the celebration was better left for May -- National Bike Month in the US.)

Look for craft beer, soda, coffee and Belgian waffles at the anniversary celebration.

Jordan Miller, owner of the bike shop with his parents Doug and Sue, invites Seminole Heights residents and the Tampa cycling community at large to the celebration at the store at 6112 N. Central Avenue at Hanna Avenue in Seminole Heights.

You can expect some additional festivities over the course of the night, including a Seminole Heights neighborhood circuit race, as well as the first installment of Nicole Kibert's (www.elawgrrl.com) Bicycle Portrait project.


Pinellas County Looks At Selling Pinellas Trail Sign Sponsorships

Local governments are sniffing around for more revenue and Pinellas County is looking at putting up sponsorship signs along the Pinellas Trail.

The Tampa Bay Times has the story here -- http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/article1227728.ece

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Also, you may have seen the video of a hit-and-run in California where a motorist struck two bicyclists in a Berkeley bike lane. A bicyclist wearing a camera captured the shenanigans of the motorist going into the bike lane and hitting him and his biking partner. Police used the footage and Ided the driver's car, then found the driver and an arrest was made.


Glad to see bicyclists documenting motorists endandering their safety.

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Florida bicyclist case make Monske's column:


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Ray LaHood, the nation's top transportation official, welcomes Bicycle Month