BWTB Strava Club Bicyclist of the Month

October 2017 - Philip Schuster

“Growing up I was always on a bike,” says Phil Schuster. When he was just 10 years old, Phil began racing BMX bikes. He was always “either riding around the neighborhood, visiting the local bike shop, or riding to the BMX track, always tinkering with the bike or riding it.” About 28 years ago, Phil moved from a little New England town to Tampa and bought his first road bike, which he rode for a few years before moving on to a mountain bike. “I used to ride the Flatwoods trails back in the mid 90’s. Right around the ‘Lance’ era, I got back into road bikes and haven’t looked back,” he says. For the last four years Phil has ridden with a Charity called, “Cure on Wheels,” that rides from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa to Tallahassee over three days. The ride ends at the stairs of the Capitol building in Tallahassee, “and is an incredible journey for a great cause,” Schuster says. A few other events around the Southeast that Phil has enjoyed taking part in are: Cross Florida, Six Gap, Horrible Hundred, Hilly Hundred, Ironman Florida, and the Clean Air Century Ride. “Many thanks to all my training partners over the years, family included for allowing me to spend so much time on the bike, and to Amanda Coker, the National Bike Challenge Champion, for so much inspiration to get out and RIDE. There are so many nice roads to ride around Central Florida,” Phil says. “We all need to work together to make them safer for cyclists!”

Sept 2017 - David Guttenplan

David Guttenplan is the Team Director and Coach of Guttenplan Coaching LLC, a company he launched nearly 11 years ago at the age of 21. David began racing bikes in 2001 when he was sixteen years old. Guttenplan placed first in his earliest professional competition in Jacksonville, Florida, on June 1st, 2003 at the age of 18. He has competed at a professional level both nationally and internationally ever since, earning a widespread reputation as a distinguished coach and bicyclist. David earned his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 2009 from the University of Florida, and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering in 2013. In early 2016, David placed first in three professional races before he was hit by a car, almost fatally, during a training session in Clearwater, where he continues to live and coach today, albiet miraculously. The horrific and debhilitating crash required Guttenplan to spend some time recovering, but he was back on his bicycle by the end of the 2016 season, going on to place 15th in the Professional Critirium National Championships in 2017. Guttenplan continues to coach and ride competitively after the crash, and is on a self-described “notorious, inspirational, odds-breaking comeback.”

August 2017 - Theo Mellis

Theodore (Theo) Mellis is a long time Safety Harbor resident, veteran, dad, and a self-described "big bike advocate." Theo works for the City of Clearwater as an engineering technician, managing the field side of traffic engineering for the city's Department of Traffic Operations. He has worked for the city for the past 14 years, and bikes to work as often as he can, typically all five days of the work week. "I chose to live in Clearwater knowing I could do most things without using a car," he says.

July 2017 - Margaret Lillian

Margaret Lillian rides her bicycle to work. In fact, during May she biked every single day of the month. She not only rides her bicycle to work, but she rides it for most trips including errands, recreation and of course to visit friends and family. She has ridden over 1,000 miles this year alone and logs them on STRAVA. She is participating in the National Bike Challenge, and is currently ranked in the top 10 riders for the Bike/Walk Tampa Bay team "I taught myself how to ride a bike at age 10, and have loved riding ever since. It's by far and away my favorite form of exercise, and I love that I'm able to bike to work. There's the endorphin rush from exercising, but there's also the appeal of exploring my surroundings involved for me too. Plus there's the sense of accomplishment in increasing distance and speed. Florida doesn't make it easy, but I always like trying to figure out the quietest, lowest traffic route to get to a place. I also support any and all attempts to turn the state into a giant bike trail."

June 2017 - Sharon Monahan

Sharon has been riding bikes since she was a kid. She grew up with a cohesive group of neighborhood children who were active and used their bikes to go everywhere. Sharon got her first "10 speed" for her high school graduation. She got her first racing bike in 1985 and started commuting by bicycle to get to and from class while attending college at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. She began racing in 1986. Sharon is a certified League Cycling Instructor with the League of American Bicyclists and teaches Traffic Skills 101 classes, working with bicyclists both in class and on the road.

May 2017 - Jeff Haynes

"I've ridden bikes my whole life, mostly for recreation--but as a diabetic in my mid 50s--my love of biking has proven an amazing way to control it. To that end, but as much for the Zen, you'll spot me pedaling all over Tampa. You're welcome to follow me on Strava (because, well, otherwise, it didn't happen)." Jeff Haynes says his love for cycling is what keeps him alive. Jeff merges his need to ride with finding a cure for diabetes by bicycling with Team Red in the Tour de Cure for diabetes research, sponsored by his friends who “raise a big pile of money every year,” for which he is deeply grateful. For Jeff, bicycling in groups has proved an incredible way to make friends. Each month, Haynes hosts Critical Mass Tampa and Second Sunday rides, and is honored to do so. Jeff is also a regular at MacDill Freewheeler's rides, including the annual trek from Tampa to Treasure Island to participate in Hands Across the Sand, Tampa's Ride of Silence, Ride for the Animals, History Bike Tampa, Full Moon Skate/Bikes, Urban Restaurant Tours, Pedals & Pints, Winter Wonder Rides, Build Bikes for (disadvantaged) Kids, CranksGiving, and local Cyclovia events.

April 2017 - Leo Rodgers

"For as long as I can remember, I have rode and fixed bicycles. My dad always had me on a bike. But on December 1, 2007, I was in a motorcycle crash that cost me my leg. It was a huge turning point in my life. It humbled me, took me off my pedestal and made me look at life differently. I ride because it's an outlet for me, and my health and exercise are very important, Combine these reasons with the fact that it gives me peace of mind and is good for the environment, and you can definitely say riding is my life."

March 2017 - Mike Lamarca

"I ride with Strava to track my progress, compete against friends, and find new places to explore. I ride to wind down after work, and enjoy the outdoors. I prefer to ride on dirt, out in the woods, but don't mind riding on the road to get there. Being that work is only a few miles from home, bike commuting makes sense, when the weather cooperates."
The Bike/Walk Tampa Bay Strava Club is for bicyclists of all abilities. Join others bicycling in the Tampa Bay area (Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough Counties). Let’s show the community that getting around by bicycle is a viable and safe way to get around plus for exercise and recreation in the Tampa Bay area!

Join the BWTB Strava Club today!