Bike Bash and Cure on Wheels Promote Safe Bike Riding in Tampa Bay

11/08/10 Sarah Curran
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You never forget how to ride a bike.

Whether people were getting on a bike for the first time in a while or using their everyday transportation hundreds showed up to support one to the area’s most popular sports, Bike riding.

“Well, we want to energize people about bicycling in the Tampa Bay it is a great lifestyle its healthy for you, great transportation and we need an event to kinda get people juiced up about cycling.”

The fifth annual bike bash gave resident an opportunity to learn about Hillsborough’s bike world. Bike festival director Allen Snell says the event isn’t just about bicycling but also about staying safe on Tampa’s notoriously dangerous road ways.

“We need to educate both drivers and motorists about sharing the roads safely together. We need roads that are engineered correctly to accommodate bicyclist, and we also need police to help enforce laws that protect bicyclists as well. So it’s a multi-pronged attack on bicycle safety.”

Since July 29, eight people have died in bicycle crashes in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties. Such tragedies are what attendees like Brian Equin are trying to put a stop to as a Board member of the Hillsborough bicycle and pedestrian advisory Committee.

"This event is really just trying to celebrate the sport and the lifestyle of bicycling and try to more people interested and involved in cycling and also on the other side, how to do it safely how to make sure you get along on the roads and paths safely so everyone can enjoy the sport”

Residents also had an opportunity to learn about other organizations making the roads safer for bikers.

Robert Trout ran the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) booth.

“We’ve always worked with the bike community as far as Hillsborough county, bikes, park and ride for cars, buses, it all goes hand in hand”

District two major John Newman leads Tampa Police officers who do most of their patrolling on bikes.

“We ride in the neighborhoods, we do a lot with neighborhood groups, we not only are advocates for bike safety, with practice what we preach so we got out their. So we go out there we see someone doing something wrong with a bike we show them the correct way to do it, and its also a great way to connect with outer smaller neighborhoods, you don’t have to be out there in the central business district to have an impact on the some of the kids just driving around. So it’s a lot of fun.”

The Bicycle Bash was Presented by Cure on Wheels, another Sunday bike event at Flatwoods Park using sport to bring hope and money to cancer patients. Richard Spade is the co-founder of Cure on Wheels.

“An organization that was started about ah three years ago. And it was just as a fun way, safe way to raise money Moffitt Cancer Center and All Children’s Hospital."

Why bikes, why wheels?

"It’s fun, it’s healthy and if your gonna raise money it’s a great way to do it.”

Spade says the event has grown tremendously in size since last year.

"Last year we had 49 riders and raised 60 (thousand dollars), this year 325 riders and we are currently at $175,000, which we hope to raise 200 (thousand dollars), and because of our sponsors it looks like we will be able to give close to 100 percent of all rider donations to charity, we are very proud to says that because very few organizations can say that."

Whether riding just for fun or advocacy. Spade says everyone has their own reason for getting on a bike .

“I am a cancer survivor my self and I was diagnosed with leukemia at age thirty eight, five years ago I underwent two bone marrow transplants at Moffitt Cancer, very blessed to be alive, I was never supposed to live and because the wonderful treatment at Moffitt I am here today, that’s the reason I do this personal, everyone rides for a different reason but the reason I give all my time is to make sure everyone gets their cure.”

Bicycle Bash.

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