Tuesday, March 22, 2011


TAMPA (March 22, 2011) – The Tampa Downtown Partnership announces the Third Annual Cigar City Brewing Twilight Criterium and Festival, presented by DEX Imaging, on Saturday, March 26, 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., based at Lykes Gaslight Square in downtown Tampa. The event is free and open to the public, and caps off the Tampa BayCyclec ampaign’s Florida Bike Month activities.

The Criterium will draw athletes from all over the southeast, from teen to professional racers. The bicyclists will be vying for position while racing through downtown Tampa streets at 35 mph – it is NASCAR on two wheels!
In addition to the Criterium, the family-friendly event also features a street festival, including demonstrations on bicycle maintenance, spinning, bike polo, an “exotic bike” display and more. Families will want to check out the Fit Kids Playground, decorate their own bicycles and join area mascots in the St. Petersburg Times Fun Ride. The *tbt Urban Roll is a casual ride that will give riders the chance to win raffle prizes, including Cigar City Brewing beer for a year! Free bike valet parking is available throughout the day.

Local restaurants will be on hand with their own fare, and Cigar City Brewing will offer Criterium Ale, blended exclusively for the event.

A Criterium, or crit, is a bike race held on a short course (usually less than 5 km), often run on closed-off city centre streets. Race length can be determined by a total time or a number of laps, in which case the number of remaining laps is calculated as the race progresses.

Generally the event’s duration (commonly one hour) is shorter than that of a traditional road race, however, the average speed and intensity are appreciably higher. The winner is the first rider to cross the finish line without having been lapped.

Success in a Criterium requires a mix of good technical skills — in particular, the ability to corner smoothly, while “holding your line” on the road, as well as rapidly and sharply — and riding safely with a large group on a short circuit and exceptional “sprint” ability to attack other riders and repeatedly accelerate hard from corners.

In addition to Cigar City Brewing and DEX Imaging, event sponsors include Carrollwood
Bicycle Emporium, City of Tampa, Lifestyle Family Fitness, Reeves Volkswagon and Subaru, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Suncoast Electric Vehicles and US Tent.

For more information about the Third Annual Twilight Criterium and Festival, and to preregister for events, please visit www.tampacrit.com, or call (813) 221-3686.
Tampa BayCycle encourages commuters to cycle to work, school, to run errands or play. Tampa BayCycle was formed through efforts of the New North Transportation Alliance and the Tampa Downtown Partnership. For more information, visit www.TampaBayCycle.com.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

2011 Words for Wheels Winner Essays

Words for Wheels is a 200-word essay contest. The winners wrote and submitted essays describing in their own words how winning a bicycle would change their lives. Here are the two 2011 winning essays!

Larry - I’ve lived the life of many men and walked the road of many men. I am proud to say the life I live today is a more positive life tracing the road for many to follow. I have to wake up everyday and find my strength in order for me not bounce back in the kind of negative life surrounding me. I have many appointments to get to on a daily basis, so I use my bike as a means of transportation in order or me to get around. Although I have the option to use public transportation to get to my destination I choose to use my bike because it also helps me to maintain my health. My health is very important to me and I know exercising is a way to do so; therefore I do my best to ride long distances at times to my appointments. Sometimes it’s painful but I keep going because it will do me more good than bad.

A couple of months ago, all that effort came to an end because my bike was stolen. It has been hard for me because I don’t get around like I use to I can’t get the exercise that I need. I use a cane to walk, and it is not easy, so since I need my exercise. I walk long distances when I can to my doctor appointments.

Sometimes I have to go to the doctors without an appointment so I don’t really have a chance to plan to use transportation. So I’m hoping that I will have an opportunity to win this bike, because I can’t afford one. Like I said I walked the road of many, I would love to ride with the ones that choose to be on the right path for their health.

Chris - I haven't biked to the workplace since I was 16, several presidents and nearly 30 years ago. At that time, my employer was a beachside restaurant twenty miles from home. I had a 28-inch waist, my resting heart rate (if I'd known what such a thing was at that age) would be the envy of every 40 year old I know.

I now live less than 8 miles from a downtown St Petersburg workplace that features indoor bicycle storage, a shower, wellness philosophy and a parking lot that could use a spot freed up for customer use. There's dependable and direct (bicycle-friendly) bus service a few blocks over for those few days and nights when the Tampa Bay climate prevents me from cycling home.

The route to and from work features dedicated bike paths and trails. It passes a bayou that in winter holds manatee and white pelican, in summer fishermen and kayakers. I'll pass a shrimp house and coffee roaster, a bakery and on Saturdays, a world-class produce and fresh food market so need to get panniers!

On mornings when able, Ill accompany my fourth grader to her school several blocks from home. Well share the experience of a 'commute' through our community, a few minutes saved from the purgatory of car line.