Tuesday, July 31, 2007

August Commuter Profile: Alan Badia

Alan has been commuting via bicycle to work for 2 years. Recently, the corporate headquarters of his workplace moved across the bay into Pinellas county. He has not found a safe route there yet, but he is working on it. He is the Creative Coordinator and Webmaster of Suncoast Roofers Supply, Inc. His job consists of creating various marketing materials (print and Internet) including magazine production, publication advertisements, promotional materials, logo creation, website creation and administration, search engine optimization, video production, graphic illustration, etc. The Suncoast Roofers Supply, Inc. headquarters used to be located in Tampa, which was really convenient for bike commuting where he would start from his front door in Old Seminole Heights through downtown/Bayshore Blvd. to Reo Street, near Tampa International Airport. The new corporate headquarters is now located on Ulmerton Road, near 49th street. He hasn't found a safe route to this new location yet, but he is working on that -- don't tell his wife though.
Alan started commuting for a few reasons:
#1 Mileage
. I am on a racing team and to be able to compete in bicycle races you need to put in 300-400 miles per week to really be able to have a chance at placing in the Top 10. Riding to work and back is about 22 miles, which doesn't sound like much but if you add that every day you've got 100 miles alone in the commute. I usually train on the way home from work on the bike, and there lies the benefit for me. I don't have to travel in the car to train. It's built into the commute! That worked out very well.
#2 Lack of stress. Sure cycling on the streets through Tampa is stressful, but not as stressful as being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Talk about a waste of time! With my busy schedule I don't have time to waste sitting in traffic. I can make it home faster on my bike than in the car! Of course, you've got to be super-alert when cycling on Tampa's streets. But I've noticed it really hones your alertness. I have averted many automobile crashes due to lighting fast reactions I've been able to make with drivers that either don't see me, misjudge the distance, or are on the phone not paying attention. Oh, don't get me started on cell phones and drivers. I almost got run over by a driver on a cell phone recently. Just make sure you are very visible using everything you can to stand out and be seen. I wear a rear helmet light, rear bike light, very bright front light, DOT flame orange vest, ankle reflectors, flame orange shorts and jersey, flame green backpack (with reflective material) and a rear light attached to that. You cannot be too safe.#3 Fitness. If you ride to work, you WILL get in shape. All those extra calories you're burning to and from work really add up. It's a great way to lose some weight, maintain weight and improve your fitness. After all, you have to get to work anyway. Why not ride there and benefit at the same time?

#4 Relaxation. I typically use Bayshore Blvd. as one of the routes to and from work. If you've never seen the Bayshore at sunrise you are missing out. It is beautiful. It's also calm and tranquil at that time of day -- much different than the rest of the day when it's busy with cars and pedestrians every where. Sometimes I just stop there and watch the sun come up, taking in the reflection of it off the mirrored buildings of our downtown skyline. It truly is a great way to start my day!

#5 Money I save on gasoline. It's such a good feeling to get in the car on the weekend and the gas gauge has hardly moved. With today's gas prices, you save some serious coin by bike commuting to work.

"My training/everyday bike is a carbon GIANT TCR Advanced Team Healthnet that was used by the Professional Racing Team in 2005 season. It's a treat to train on this bike. It weighs 14.5 lbs., which is very light for a training bike. My road racing bike has the same exact geometry. It is a carbon GIANT TCR Advanced T-Mobile Team bike. The same bike the T-Mobile squad used last year in the Tour de France. I have this bike setup with compact carbon cranks and superlight wheels, along with lots of weight-saving components and parts. It weighs 12.3 lbs. Racing on this bike is like driving a Ferrari. I use it in the mountains and have maxed out at 59 mph. And it's stable at that speed too. I also have a custom painted hot yellow P2K time trial bike. I have raced this bike in triathlons and time trials for 6 years. The bike to this day still looks brand new. I just had my fastest 15K time trial this month on this bike averaging 26.78 mph for 9 miles. It is a super-fast bike and one of a kind color. Unfortunately my work does not promote workplace cycling, but I am working on that. I try ride at least 300 miles per week. The more the better.

I learned the hard way by almost getting run over a few times due to not having a front light that was bright enough. For a cyclist, one of the most dangerous scenarios is you're going down the road and you're approaching a car on a side street that has his left blinker on. And the car also has dark tinted windows. You don't know if the driver sees you or not as you cross in front of him. If he doesn't see you, he could run you over and kill you instantly. I had many close calls in those early morning low-light commutes to work going down North Boulevard. Cars would pull out in front of me causing me to take evasive maneuvers to avoid hitting them. I determined that my front light must not be bright enough. So I purchased a very expensive front light and I haven't had the same incident since (knocking on wood). Expensive is actually relative here though. You cannot put a price on your life, so I say buy the brightest light you can find for your own good and peace of mind.

Most people think I'm insane when I tell them I bike to work in Tampa. And I can understand there feeling there. Tampa can be a very challenging bike commute. But I'm living proof that it can be done. Like they say, where there's a will there's a way. Most people have curious questions like how many miles do you ride a week or ever been hit by a car? Some people say they'd like to try it.

Get the brightest front light and brightest flashing rear light you can find. Load yourself up with visibility aids to make yourself as visible as possible. Most drivers that hit cyclists say they never saw the cyclist. If someone hits me, the first words out of my mouth are going to be 'Don't tell me you didn't see me'. High visibililty is one way to avoid problems. And always ride predictably. Drivers will respect you if you obey the laws and show them respect. And always carry a cell phone, some cash, extra tube, air, tire levers and wear a Road ID.

If you are a beginner, Alan suggests joining a bicycle club for beginners. It's a great way to learn to ride, while enjoying the company of other riders. Then, as you work your way up, join on on the local group rides. We have some of the best local group rides around. Many of them have local pros that you can benefit from as they drive the pace very high. You can benefit greatly from high-paced group rides. Or if you want to just ride, get your bike there and just experience life on a bike. It's great to just get out there and tool around on a bike.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hawaii pushes for better bicycle commute

Even the state of Hawaii is pushing for a better bicycle commute. A law that took effect July 1 allows biking initiatives that go beyond bike path improvements to be funded with federal dollars and requires the state Department of Transportation to involve bicycling organizations in planning decisions.

Alan Badia sent this interesting link that shows bicycle fatalities by state for 2004.


Here are preliminary statistics I received regarding roadway fatalities from the Department of Highway and Safety Vehicles for 2006.

2006 Preliminary

YTD Fatalities

Motorcycle Operator Fatals

Motorcycle Passenger Fatals

Bicyclist Fatals

Alcohol-Related Crashes

Alcohol-Related Fatal Crashes

Alcohol-Related Fatalities

Pedestrian Fatals

Friday, July 27, 2007

Gena Torres sent this link to a website that will calculate the walkability of your neighborhood. Give it a try.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tampa City "Tampa BayCycle" Business Challenge Winners

Tampa City was one of four companies to receive top honors for their commitment to cycling during the Tampa BayCycle Business Challenge, May 2007.
A big THANKS to Mary Helen Duke for her commitment to promoting the challenge and for her efforts to support cycling.
Photo: Front row: Janet Hamilton 198 miles; Santiago Corrada (Neighborhood Services Administrator); Karen Kress (Tampa Downtown Partnership); LeAnne Honeycutt 100 miles.

Back row: Bruce Lucas 24 miles; Michael Jordan 35 miles; Mary Helen Duke 24 miles; Richard Johnson 68 miles; Roy Paz 230 miles.

Missing: Janice Davis 70 miles and Ross Silvers 147 miles.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fox 13 News Story--Biking to Work

Check out this incredible story about employees biking to work at Tampa General Hospital.


Elite 100 members--keep recruiting your "friends"

Elite 100 members who recruit 5 friends will receive a Planet Bike Light. Recruit 6 or more and receive both a front and back light.

Elite 100 members received their lights at the party at Splittsville. Those who were unable to attend recevied their lights via mail.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Covered bicycle parking provides security and shelter

If you can't store your bicycle inside your office, outside covered bicycle parking is a great option.

These bicycle lids at the Center for Urban Transportation Research at USF are always used and provide safe, secure and convenient bicycle parking for commuters.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Urban Assalt and Tech Class this Week

One of our sponsors, Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium sends us the following news for this week:

URBAN ASSAULT-- downtown Tampa on Friday, July 27.
For those of you that do not know what an URBAN is, we meet at the shop at 7pm and/or downtown at Bayshore/Platt at the Walgreen's two blocks east of the Publix's at 8pm. From there we ride on any bike you can bring with you, that is rideable, and we cruise the streets, parking garages, stairwells, escalators, and anywhere else we can take a bicycle, including ybor city and the projects, they have a place called the bowl, where some of the guys do freestyle. You do not have to do all of the hard core riding to have fun, and or to get a work out. Lots of people come just to watch the crazy ones do the hard stuff. We usually ride for 1-2 hours and I like to compare it to intervals training, due to a lot of start and stop riding.

Our FREE Tech class is this coming Thursday at 7pm and if you have not attended yet then you might want to call, and/or email us to reserve a spot for the class. We will teach you flat repair and basic cleaning and repair on your bicycle. Class is usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours and is free. Please be sure to let us know if you are going to come, space is limited.

Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium
(813) 963-5765
14407-B North Dale Mabry
Tampa, FL 33618

Another Request for Best Route

Another request came to us from Linda. Anyone who has a preferred bicycle route from the vicinity of Sheldon Road to Downtown Tampa, please post.

More specifically:
Westchase/Citrus Park area to Downtown Tampa. I was thinking Anderson road maybe??? Definitely NOT Dale Mabry or Veterans.
Then around Kennedy/275 - what is the best east/west road.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Best routes from USF to Downtown Tampa

I have had several requests from bike commuters new to the area regarding how to ride safely from USF to Dowtown Tampa. If you have a suggestion, please post your preferred route.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pro Walk Pro Bike Florida Conference this August

The annual Pro Walk Pro Bike
Healthy Community Makeovers:
Designs and Programs
for Active and
Healthy Lifestyles
August 27 - 30, 2007
Orlando, Florida
Host Hotel:
Embassy Suites Downtown

Tampa BayCycle advocacy will be discussed on Wednesday morning.

Check it out!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Check out Bike Commuters

Tampa BayCycle member Julie Bond was profiled on bikecommuters.com.
Check it out and post your comments at http://www.bikecommuters.com/2007/07/17/commuter-profile-julie-bond/

Tampa BayCycle
Elite 100
Commuter Profile


I am a Physician Assistant with the USF Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, and the commute from my home in Westchase to campus is about 15 miles each way (that is, if I don’t make a detour to Flatwoods Park to add in some extra miles!). It is a straight shot east on Linebaugh, north on Sheldon, then east on Gunn/Ehrlich/Bearss all the way to Bruce B. Downs, then south to campus. There are bike lanes about half the route, and I usually take the Upper Tampa Bay Trail for part of the way home. I probably ride 3-4 days a week, if I can. Some months I commute a total of about 500 miles.

I have been bike commuting for a few months now. I have been riding recreationally and competing in triathlons for about 7 years, after a long cycling hiatus since childhood. Once I started riding again as an adult, I remembered all the good times I had riding while I was younger. Once I started commuting, I could not believe that I did not start commuting sooner. I think bike commuting is like a lot of other activities people think about starting … we always think about starting something, but until we actually make the commitment and start doing it, it remains somewhat distant. However, once you start it, and realize the enjoyment you get from it, it becomes part of your life. That is the way cycling is for me. I ride for the exercise (an extra 30+ miles a day really helps) and it also is a very enjoyable 45 minutes or hour to start the day and to unwind on the way home after a hectic day in the office.

I find it very interesting the comments I get from friends and co-workers about commuting - most are very supportive (if not incredulous about riding on the streets of Tampa), although very few would ever consider commuting themselves. I try to be very positive about my experiences, because they are just that - very positive. I think that if you pay attention, follow the rules of the road and understand that you WILL LOSE any battle with an automobile, commuting can be a very safe and rewarding experience. I would recommend to anyone who is thinking about commuting to plan their route out first by car, and then once you think you have the route, try it out early on a weekend as a ‘pleasure’ ride, when there is very little traffic and you have lots of time. Make sure you are familiar with the area and look for spots that might be tricky if there is traffic. Plan for flats (always carry a spare … and know how to change it!); make sure you invest in a good set of lights (front and back) if you will be riding at all in the early or late hours; carry a bit of spare change – just in case; and probably carry your cell phone. I would also suggest to newer commuters to only ride once or twice a week at first to get used to it and then begin to increase the number of days as you get comfortable with riding.

Enjoy yourself, enjoy the feeling of getting something accomplished before you even begin your work day and enjoy knowing that you are doing something positive for yourself, the community and the environment. Good riding!