On Friday, March 30, 2018, Plant City residents and other bicyclists from around the region joined Plant City Mayor Rick Lott, community leaders, City of Plant City staff, and representatives from Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Florida Department of Transportation at Gilchrist Park for Plant City’s second annual Bike with the Mayor Ride. Before the ride began, participants stopped by the Bike/Walk Tampa Bay table to take a “WalkWise” quiz to learn more about pedestrian and bicycling laws and received reflective WalkWise bags and bicycle lights. Bike/Walk Tampa Bay representatives also fit helmets onto riders.
Prior to the ride, Mayor Lott spoke about his vision for the city, saying, “One day you’ll hopefully be able to leave downtown Plant City, go up and ride bike trails all the way up to Knights Griffin Road and take those trails there all the way to Tampa, all the way to Pinellas County, and Pasco County,” Lott said. He also spoke about the city’s plans to implement a bike sharing program in downtown Plant City.
The ride was extended a mile longer from the previous year, to 3.75 miles. Participants wore bright yellow “Bike with the Mayor Rick Lott” t-shirts and rode through nearby neighborhoods before returning to the park. Mara Latorre, a planner with the city who helped organize the event, said, “One of this year’s highlights was the amount of young faces that I saw participating. It’s imperative that we are teaching and leading youth with examples which highlight the importance of community engagement, as well as pedestrian & bicycle safety. Doing so begins to plant positive seeds into these young minds.”