Cesar Morales, a bike commuter, has been on the advocacy scene in St. Petersburg for years, promoting safer streets for bicyclists and being an avid voice for change. Five years ago, with the help of like-minded individuals in the bike community, Cesar led the charge in launching Open Streets St. Pete, the city’s first cyclovia event. Attendance expectations were far exceeded; the ability to just show up to bike, stroll, and roll in a healthy and safe environment and enjoy the streets care-free and cost-free was a very attractive for citizens and visitors alike. According to Cesar, “our long-term goal is to grow the effort to two events a year, every year.” He continues to partner with primary sponsor, AARP, to help host this great series. This year’s event, held Oct. 20th, had an additional hosting partner, Car-free St. Pete. Food trucks and a music stage were also added to the festivities. “Efforts, such as Open Streets, Car-free St. Pete, and the city's Complete Streets plan are becoming more and more critical to our quality of life as the city grows,” said Cesar.
Peter Davitt is a nearly four year resident of Temple Terrace. Peter and his wife Suzanne moved from Southern New Jersey looking for a warmer climate and snow-free winters. Peter works from home and has the opportunity to ride each day. This is the change from NJ where riding was a weekend only/five months a year proposition. Peter is a passionate "defender" of bike lanes and crosswalks. He feels that more driver education and a change in driver's attitudes toward bike riders and pedestrians will make the roads safer for everyone. Peter was recently selected to be the Temple Terrace Representative at the Hillsborough County BPAC meetings. Peter hopes that participation on this committee will help make the streets safer and promote dialog between the different user groups. Peter recently completed the 75 mile course at the Bike New York - New York Century ride with his brother John where this picture was taken. "Keep smiling and get out and ride!"
Bicycle enthusiasm comes early for some. Collin Boule, a college freshman this year, began racing bicycles as a youth. Collin started out by taking 30-plus mile bike rides with his dad; they would spend hours together exploring paved trails. He eventually saved up enough money to purchase a road bike which is what inspired him to try racing––his ultimate passion. “I love to go fast and always wanna get faster,” said Collin. “The bike also has the ability to take me away from everything else going on and gives me an escape for a couple hours.” Collin said he doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything unusual when compared to others who are racing bikes, but he did share his observation that everyone has a unique way of riding as well as teaching others to ride. “Even with a coach, the training has to be tailored to your liking,” he advised.
Kendall Reid and Sharon Winters moved to St. Petersburg from the Pacific Northwest four years ago as retirees. The couple was looking for a place where walking and cycling were safe and comfortable. The move was a great choice as St. Petersburg’s parks and bike lanes have enabled them both to continue to be active. As a member and volunteer of the St. Pete Bike Co-op, a platinum-level Bicycle Friendly BusinessSM, Kendall assists bicyclists with keeping their bikes functioning and working efficiently. Kendall explained that, “at the Bike Co-op, we do our best to encourage as many people as possible to ride their bikes regularly.” Kendall shared that he is a big fan of Complete Streets and sees the Co-op as a way of supporting the initiative in his city; by getting more people to walk and bicycle St. Petersburg, the streets become safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. As Kendall put it, “as more Complete Streets projects are initiated, we expect things to get better and better!”
Sara Somers has a passion for cycling, matched only by her love for helping children learn about the nature around us. For the past few years, she has been a proud volunteer of the Sierra Club Inspiring Connections Outdoors group and the St. Petersburg Bicycle Co-Op. Sara has organized group rides to camp with friends and enjoys her daily bike commute to her office in downtown St. Petersburg, where she works as a payroll administrator. As a bike commuter, she has made it a priority to choose a local employer, so she can make cycling part of her everyday life.
Tobias Coon is a student at the University of South Florida (USF) pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. He currently serves as president of the Bicycle Club at USF. He began commuting by bicycle to work and school locally in June 2018 and says, “I’ve never looked back!” In addition to bicycling for transportation, Tobias regularly rides local beach and preserve trails near his home and enjoys the natural scenery they offer up close by bicycle. He is passionate about transportation initiatives and encourages others to bicycle. As president of the Bicycle Club at USF, he leads by example. The first USF Transportation Day event held on February 28, 2019, featured a club ride, led by Tobias, as one of its main attractions.
Elsie Gilmore is an urban commuter. When she moved to St. Petersburg, FL in 2014, she didn't own a car. Instead, she invested in a Brompton folding bicycle. Elsie did everything from laundry to grocery shopping to attending networking events on her bicycle. She has been an active volunteer with ShiftStPete, a bicycle advocacy organization in St. Petersburg, including organizing volunteers to catalogue all the bike racks in downtown St. Pete. These days, Elsie owns a car, but she likes to keep it parked as much as possible. Her favorite activity is riding her bike to the Saturday Morning Market in St. Petersburg. She also enjoys fun group rides, like the annual Biking for Brews holiday bike ride through Old Northeast neighborhood and the Tweed Ride. Says Elsie, "I love the quirky bicycle culture in St. Pete, and I'm grateful for all the advocacy that takes place here. With all the bike lanes, bike groups, our city bike-ped coordinator, and the St. Pete Bike Co-op, St. Pete is a great place to be on a bicycle."
Trish started off as a runner, which led her to compete in triathlons; then she did her first road race and hasn’t looked back. She is what is known as a “Cat 1.” In other words, Trish is a leader in U.S. bicycle racing. At one point or another, she has taken first place in most Florida racing courses, has been Florida State Champion for the P123 road race, has won numerous time trials, was Queen of the Mountains at 6-Gap, and came in third when she participated in the U.S.A. Cycling Masters Road Nationals. For Trish, riding offers flexibility and lessens the likelihood of injury, which is important to the mom of three. “Before kids, I was mostly just wrapped up in the racing and the competing aspect of cycling,” Trish explained. “Now I just get my ride in and love having fun on bikes with my three girls (ages five, three, and three).” She attended Career and Hobby Day in her oldest daughter's kindergarten classroom and brought bikes and gear, showed off jerseys, demonstrated riding on rollers, explained inertia, and highlighted that bicycling means freedom, especially for young people. “It was fun and now I'm a celebrity during drop-off in her class,” said Trish. Trish is also passionate about bike safety. She advocates for fellow cyclists, for kids, and for making cycling a viable option for commuting. She works with Sidewalk Stompers and other local organizations to help make commuting to school safer. “I want my kids to be able to roam the streets like I did with my friends when we were kids and thought our crappy Huffy [bikes] were awesome.”
Debbie Dunn has been riding with the Suncoast Cycle Club since 2004 and is serving her third year on the club’s board of directors. She is the host of the annual Ride of Silence, an event in Pinellas County commemorating fellow bicycle riders who have been injured or killed by motor vehicle drivers. Debbie has completed the Bike MS 150 ride four times and will be riding December 1st to raise awareness and funds for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, which has directly affected her family. This past spring, she started a weekly Rec Ride to teach new bicycle riders safety, bike skills, and group riding etiquette. Debbie enjoys bicycle vacations––her favorite was a 300-mile tour of New Mexico during the annual balloon festival. Next on her bucket list is a coastal tour of Nova Scotia in summertime. “Any day with more time spent on two wheels rather than in four is a good day,” said Debbie. The Pinellas Trail runs right behind her house in Tarpon Springs; she’s particularly excited about the new extension under construction to connect it to the Suncoast Trail and beyond.
Katie Roders Turner
Katie Roders Turner and her husband, Eric, are the brains and beauty behind History Bike Tampa, respectively. In her spare time, she’s the mother of two really good looking kids, and a Project Manager with Florida Covering Kids and Families (FL-CKF) at the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health. Besides History Bike Tampa, she’s really proud of her service in the Peace Corps, as well as her recent home landscaping projects. History Bike Tampa brings to life Katie’s passion for community development, urban exploration, and Tampa Bay
Tampa native and USF alumni Sarah has a passion for helping others reach their goals in health and happiness though bike riding. What started as a way to spend more quality time with her family quickly turned into a passion and career that she has been working in for over 6 years. As a full time Trek certified expert mechanic she spends her days repairing and selling bikes, leading group rides, teaching maintenance classes, riding the trails and exploring new areas of town by bike.
Ellen Kast believes that everyone in our community should ride a bike and she created a life style to support that belief. After years of riding, coaching, mentoring, Ellen pursued her passion by putting her law career on hold to start a life as a bicycle professional. She has not looked back. Ellen became the General Manager of American Classic an international bicycle wheel manufacturing company. She was voted the Top Woman Bicycle Executive by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News in 2014. Ellen continues to inspire people to share in her cycling passion for commuting, fitness and sport.
Sara Hendricks is a researcher at the USF Center for Urban Transportation Research. Her work involves devising ways to encourage more people to get out of their cars and use other travel modes, like public transit, walking, biking, telecommuting and ridesharing. She provides technical support to the New North Transportation Alliance, a public private partnership that provides a forum for identifying and addressing traffic congestion, safety, mobility, access, and air quality issues. Sara likes to bicycle for commuting, running errands, and recreation. She also is a League Cycling Instructor. Sara lives less than 3 miles from her office. When her bike is in the shop, or when the weather is cooler, she enjoys walking to work. “I like the slower pace of bicycling and walking. I notice more details about my surroundings. I get to interact more with motorists, pedestrians, and other bicyclists when I am riding or walking. When I smile, people usually smile back. When I ride or walk, it also is easier to stop and help turtles get across the road.”
Drew Hunter is a veteran of the US Army. He organizes the Tampa Ride of Silence every year, to pay respect to those bicyclists who have been seriously injured or killed on the road. He is also a League Cycling Instructor, frequently assisting with Traffic Skills 101 classes. Drew participates in group rides such as Critical Mass and is currently riding in the National Bike Challenge. He raises funds for Diabetes research through the Southwest Florida Tour de Cure.
Brad Larino is the Director of Customer Engagement at CycleHop, the North American bike share operator responsible for bringing Coast Bike Share to Tampa and St. Petersburg. Brad, along with his girlfriend, Katelyn Edwards, also co-owns Florida Bike Tours, whose monthly social ride, The Urban Restaurant Tour, has been recognized by Bicycling Magazine as helping Tampa make their 2016 "50 Best Bike Cities" list. "My bicycle has always been my source of adventure and a connection to my community,” shared Brad. As a child, he would pedal the 30-plus miles from Hanscom Air Force Base to Downtown Boston alongside his mom on his single-speed Haro BMX bike. Brad continues his adventures in the saddle today. "I use Strava to create new and build off existing routes that other Strava members have ridden or uploaded. This comes especially handy for exploring gravel routes where Google Maps' Street Finder dares not go," he said. When he’s not riding the streets of Tampa, you can find him exploring trails in places like Flatwoods Park and Alafia State Park. He even coordinated a 450-mile self-supported tandem bicycle tour in Southern England and is planning another cycling trip this year, this time to Nova Scotia. He moved to Tampa with his family in 2004 and fell in love with the city as an undergrad at the University of Tampa. He now resides in Ybor City and bicycles to work everyday, rain or shine.
Brentin is a Program Support Specialist at the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida, where he frequently commutes to work by bicycle. He is also a League Cycling Instructor, teaching BikeSmart classes and helping out with on-bike drills. A native of Tampa, he is excited by all the changes his city has gone through to become more bicycle friendly, and enjoys working with the Bike/Walk Tampa Bay Coalition to be a part of that change. "I use Strava to keep up with where my friends are riding, to check out new routes, but mainly to challenge myself. 'How many miles did I do this month? How far has my longest ride been?' and then try to push myself to do better" His favorite place to ride are through the various neighborhoods of Tampa, along the side streets. "You notice so much more than when you are just driving through." His favorite charity ride is Interbay Rotary's Cycling For Autism, which he will be participating in for the third year in a row on April 7, 2018.
Lucy serves as the Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Lake, Marion, and Sumter Counties, in Florida, so safety is paramount to her. Lucy shared that she believes bike lights are the most important safety device a rider can have. She also wants to convey a gentle reminder to drivers to “Share the Road” and help keep bicyclists safe by leaving at least three feet between their car and riders when passing riders on roadways. Lucy, as part of the Safe Routes to School program, goes out of her way to inspire girls and young women to bicycle. “Girls may feel that they are overshadowed by the boys. I work to encourage and empower them to cycle and not to worry about their male peers,” said Lucy. “Seeing other women cyclists empowers these girls to know that women cyclists are out there in all shapes, sizes, and ages.” Lucy is currently working with volunteer women riders that serve as mentors to ride with girls ages 6 through 16. The groups go out and ride together and develop cycling skills in a safe, judgement-free environment. Though bikes are a big part of her professional life, Lucy’s love affair with bicycles began much earlier. “The radio flyer red tricycle was my first introduction to bicycling and that was it for me!” she exclaimed. “From that day on, I always had a bicycle.” Bicycling has represented freedom and independence to Lucy ever since and it shows as she helps others share the experience.
Jonathan Forbes is currently the City of Temple Terrace's representative on Hillsborough County's Metropolitan Planning Organization Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. His participation on this committee has focused on overall safety of the riders and pedestrians through programs affecting those in the Temple Terrace and Tampa Bay area. This role also includes being part of the Speakers Bureau regarding Hillsborough County's plan of VisionZero, an area action plan focused on reducing the number of bicycle and pedestrian injuries and traffic fatalities in the Tampa Bay community. He has lived in Florida of most of his life and relocated with his family to Temple Terrace in 2014. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and is currently employed as a large loss injury claim manager for a property and casualty insurance company in Tampa. He is also a recent League of Cycling Instructor (LCI) graduate, certified through the League of American Bicyclists organization. Jonathan started bicycle riding on a 3-speed Ross bicycle delivering newspapers, competed in criterium road races in the early 80's on road bikes and has most recently completed several supported and self-supported bicycle tours. Jonathan enjoys riding a bicycle with a variety of purposes. "I appreciate the diversity of riders and riding styles, but bicycling itself is an inclusive community. It is an activity in which anyone can participate and at any desired level, fit or function. Using a bicycle as a commuter, as a recreational experience, participating in a tour or exploring an area, it all appeals to me." Jonathan's future plans include more self supported tours, continuing charity event rides and group riding with a number of active groups in the community.
Dr. Eric Lenz
Dr. Eric Lenz, a father of two and resident of South Tampa, relies upon bicycling as his primary form of exercise. His occupation as a radiologist in St. Petersburg, Florida, is mostly sedentary. Eric enjoys cycling because it has a lot of variability; some days he enjoys riding with groups, while other days it’s a solo effort. He also shares his love for bicycling with his two children. Fortunately for Eric, he has been able to take advantage of ample opportunities for great organized group rides in the Tampa Bay area. Eric has logged over 10,000 miles on Strava averaging over 150 miles per week.
Originally from Bosnia, Dajana Gibson has been living and bicycling in the Tampa Bay Area since 1998. Dajana is married with one 6-year old high energy boy, and received her BSCE and MSCE in Civil Engineering from University South Florida. She is currently working with AIM Engineering & Surveying, Inc., as a professional engineer (PE) who looks at transportation design both from an engineering and cyclist perspective. Dajana is also League Cycling Instructor (LCI), certified by the League of American Bicyclists. She is a self-described "weekend warrior," but still somehow managed to log 4,000 Strava miles on her bicycle this year between her family and work commitments.
“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!”
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.”
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.
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."
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.
"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.
"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."
"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."
Bike/Walk Tampa Bay has a Strava Club 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!