May is National Bike Month! A major highlight to the month-long celebration is National Bike to Work Day, held Friday, May 18th. Bike/Walk Tampa Bay helped host three Bike to Work Day events, which brought together riders from diverse parts of the region; below are highlights from those events. Individuals who participate in one of the Bike/Walk Tampa Bay Bike Month Quizzes are automatically entered to win a $300 gift card from Flying Fish Bikes. Entries will be accepted until the end of May and the winner will be announced in June.
Downtown Tampa Bike to Work Ride and Rally
About 50 bicyclists converged at Lykes Gaslight Park in downtown Tampa on Bike to Work Day for the Downtown Tampa Bike to Work Ride and Rally. Ride groups started from eight different locations around the area, each led by an experienced rider. Once at Gaslight Park, cyclists enjoyed refreshments and visited exhibition tables by Tampa Bay Next, the Tampa Downtown Partnership, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit ﴾HART﴿, Coast Bike Share, and the Tampa Connected Vehicle Pilot. Attendees also visited the Bike/Walk Tampa Bay table and took the WalkWise quiz to test their safety knowledge and receive safety gear, such as helmets, lights, and reflective bags.
Karen Kress, Director of Transportation and Planning for the Tampa Downtown Partnership and founding member of Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, expressed her appreciation to all who participated in the event, and thanked Joel Gorman, owner of Flying for donating a $300 gift card as the grand prize for the Bike/Walk Tampa Bay courteous driver or smart bicyclist quiz.
Bike Your City – St. Pete Beach
Each year, Forward Pinellas, the county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, hosts a “Bike Your City” ride event in a different city in Pinellas County. This year, the City of St. Pete Beach was selected and the event was hosted at the St. Pete Beach Recreation Center at 7:30 a.m. on Bike to Work Day.
The weather was perfect for the group of approximately 50 riders who took a relaxing guided street ride through quiet beach communities along Gulf Blvd. before returning to St. Pete Beach Recreation Center. St. Pete Beach Mayor, Alan Johnson, led the ride, followed by Whit Blanton, Executive Director, Forward Pinellas, Julie Bond, Program Director, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, and local community representatives and members of the Forward Pinellas Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Ride representatives were easy to spot in their bright green shirts, provided by Florida Department of Transportation District Seven.
Bike/Walk Tampa Bay co-hosted the event and provided helmet fittings, safety instruction, and free bike lights to riders. Lenny’s Surf Shop offered bicycle tune‐ups while attendees enjoyed bagels and coffee provided by Einstein’s Bagels and reusable bags provided by Publix.
Bike to Work Day in the Uptown University Area
The inaugural Bike to Work Day event in the Uptown University area kicked off with a morning meet-up at the University Mall. The event was co-hosted by the University Area Community Development Center and Bike/Walk Tampa Bay. Cyclists were greeted by volunteers offering riders breakfast, bike swag, and bicycle safety tips.
The event attracted both ride-to-work enthusiasts and recreational bicyclists commuting by bike for the first time. Randy Myhre, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay board member and owner of Oliver’s Cycle Sports, participated in the event along with his staff. He had this to share: “we had a great Friday morning sharing our Oliver’s Cycles Bike to Work Day bonding with the University Mall event. Our ride in to work was a great adventure that had every one of my staff members buzzing with energy.”
Aramark Dining Services at the University of South Florida and Innovation Place generously stocked the “fueling station” with bagels and coffee, and event partners at the University Mall, Well Built Bikes, and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office provided event support.