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Thursday, Jul 27, 2017
Local News

Bicycle Bash highlights safety and cycling

TAMPA - It's healthy. It's relatively inexpensive. It's environmentally sound. And virtually anyone can do it. On Sunday, bicycle enthusiasts will celebrate the sport they love at the fifth annual Bicycle Bash. Sponsored by the South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers, the free, family-friendly event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Flatwoods Wilderness Park, 16400 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa. "We pride ourselves on creating an event that attracts all types of bicyclers, from the casual recreational enthusiast to serious bikers, road cyclers and everyone else in between," said Bicycle Bash director Alan Snel. "We also want to create more awareness about cycling in the Tampa Bay area."
Sunday's festival will include activities for cyclists of all ages. At 10:30 a.m., Michelle Cherry will lead a free yoga class to get participants warmed up before an 11:15 a.m., 7-mile bike ride through the park led by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Parents can take advantage of the educational component of the event and receive a free bike helmet for their children from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. They also can take part in a 1 p.m. bike safety and education class, called Bike Smart, where children can learn how to handle a bike, the importance of wearing a helmet and other safety issues. The event also will pay tribute to Diane Vega, who was killed in October 2010 at Himes Avenue and Spruce Street while biking home from work. Vega's daughter, Genevieve Almodovar, will oversee a children's arts and crafts area in memory of her mother. In addition, Sunday's event will include the SWFBuddy award presentation that recognizes those who help the cause of bicycling. This year's award recipients include Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, Tampa City Councilwoman Yoli Capin, St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Leslie Curran, Tampa Police Department, city of Clearwater employee Zach Taylor and Seminole Heights resident Doreen Jesseph. There also will be several food trucks and restaurants hawking everything from Mexican to Greek to Ethiopian fare. The Bicycle Bash is an important event for the community because it encourages cyclists and motorists to be more aware of each other on the road, said Jordan Miller, a member of SWFBUD and owner of Velo Champ, a specialty bike shop in Seminole Heights. "The biggest challenge is educating motorists and cyclists and law enforcement and city council," Miller said. "If people know cyclists are there and know how to encounter them, it would help solve a lot of the problems. "The topical exposure this event offers can change attitudes. (Cyclists) aren't just road-race oriented people," Miller said. "This event gives people the opportunity to see a cyclist can be anyone, your neighbor, your co-worker, a business owner, and we all have to share the road."

ccabrera@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7656
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