Messenger Archive: Fall 2002

FBA Annual Awards presented at Share the Road Rally & Summit

Fourteen worthy recipients recently received an FBA award for their contributions to bicycling.

The purpose of the awards is to bring attention to the efforts and achievements of groups, organizations and individuals that help deliver our mission to inspire and support people and communities to enjoy greater freedom and well being through bicycling.
North Florida Community College in Madison was the setting for the awards presentation held at FBA’s annual meeting in conjunction with the Share the Road Rally & Summit. And the winners, by category, are:

BPAC
Broward County Bicycling Advisory Committee
Mark Horowitz, Broward County Bicycle Coordinator
The Broward County BAC, in existence since 1981, has many significant accomplishments. In addition to its on-going review of road construction plans and assistance in the development of planning documents, the BAC’s efforts help improve conditions for bicyclists in the county and throughout the state. Some successes include: a velodrome facility at Brian Picollo Park; county adoption of a wide outside lane policy; creation of a full-time county bicycle coordinator position; FDOT removal of “Walk Bicycles on Bridge” signs from bridges over the intra-coastal waterway and installation of “Bicycle Sharing Road” signs along SR A1A. They are the only BAC in the state with a trust fund to support bicycle safety programs and promotional materials.

Club
Tampa Bay Freewheelers
Richard Johnson, President
Founded in 1982, the Tampa Bay Freewheelers is one of the largest clubs in the state promoting safe and responsible cycling in a large metropolitan area. The club sponsors two large rides a year: the Strawberry Century in the spring and the Hilly 100 in the fall. The Strawberry is one of the largest rides in the state, averaging over 1,000 riders with proceeds benefiting bike safety, trails and FBA. Their newsletter, The Pace Line, always supports advocacy. TBF continues to be a big supporter of FBA.

Off-road Club
Ocala Mountain Bike Association
John Brigan, President
The Ocala Mountain Bike Association has long been dedicated to creating fun, single-track trails. They do an excellent job of planning trails to take maximum advantage of terrain and environment. Trails are designed to impart a natural rhythm to the rider. Club members not only build and sign great trails, but also maintain them. During the past year their coordination with the Greenways and Trails land manager has created the establishment of water and restroom facilities at one trailhead and they are in the process of providing camping facilities at the Santos trailhead. They have a new sense of direction that demonstrates leadership and forethought.

Education Program (Regional Trainer)
Deb Clouchete, Deputy Sheriff
Orange County Sheriff’s Office
As a Florida Traffic & Bicycle Safety Education Program Regional Trainer, Deb is one of the hardest working members of the regional training team. She oversees the Orlando Safety Village and teaches traffic safety to literally thousands of Orlando area school children. Deb also helps to administer “train the trainer” programs for teachers and law enforcement officers in the Central Florida area.

Enforcement Program
Corporal Bob Ricciardi, Bicycle Coordinator
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
Corporal Ricciardi has worked hard to implement one of finest bicycle law enforcement programs in the state. Backed by Sheriff Edward Bieluch, Bob has been proactive, providing leadership and motivation to his department to enforce bicycle/pedestrian issues. Bob is supported by bicycle safety educators Walt Nygard and George Martin who assist with workshops and trainings throughout the county. In June, Bob’s department hosted the first of three national pilot workshops, “Community Oriented Bicycle Safety Course for Law Enforcement,” sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Feedback from participants will be used to produce a final product to be used nationwide.

Supporting Agency
Brevard Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
Barbara Meyer, Brevard County Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator
Barbara is heavily involved in all bicycle/pedestrian issues within the county. Her work with the MPO includes consulting with Public Works to ensure quality bicycle/pedestrian facilities are considered in all road projects, overseeing the county’s bicycle/pedestrian education program, working with groups and organizations to enhance awareness of bicycle/pedestrian issues and working closely with local law enforcement to educate and enforce citizens of state bicycle laws. Recently, Barbara served as project manager for the development of a Greenways and Trails Master Plan for Brevard County and will continue to be involved in the implementation. The Florida Planning and Zoning Association awarded the Brevard MPO with a “Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Public Study” for the Greenways and Trails Master Plan.

Event
IDIDARIDE
Suwannee Bicycle Association
Lys Burden, President
The IDIDARIDE, sponsored by the Suwannee Bicycle Association, is one of the best in promoting off-road riding as a fun activity. This eight-year-old event is unique because there is no recognition for the fastest or “best” rider. This event was the first long distance off-road ride in Florida and a trendsetter in long, challenging but fun rides. This ride is also unique in providing breakfast, lunch and after-ride meals. There are also two SAG (support and gear) stops along the ride; most notable is the “wine and cheese” stop, an event in itself.

Program
June 2002 Month of Cycling Events
MPO-Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Margaret Cunningham, BPAC member
The June 2002 Month of Cycling Events was the coming together of a dedicated Bicycle/Pedestrian Committee and many volunteers from two counties to sponsor a different cycling event every weekend during the month of June leading to the Race Across America. The BPAC was awarded a Bike Florida “Share the Road” grant to outfit many bikes with lights for an evening ride. There was a kid’s bike rodeo, a super stunt show, several types of races, culminating with the Race Across America.

Bicycle Professional
Mary Anne Koos
Pedestrian/Bicycle Coordinator
FDOT District 3
Mary Anne began her career in bicycle/pedestrian issues in the 1980’s in Gainesville as the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator. She hosted the first Effective Cycling Instructor course with John Forrester. She became the Trails Coordinator with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and eventually took on the role of Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator for the Florida Department of Transportation District 3 covering the panhandle from Pensacola to Tallahassee. Mary Anne continues to wear many hats in promoting bicycle/pedestrian safety programs.

Citizen Bike Advocate
Gene Randall and Marianne McKinney
When FBA held the Orlando Bike Action Workshop in 1999, Central Florida was lucky to have Gene and Marianne in attendance. They agreed to be the directors of the organization that became Central Florida Bicycle Advocates (CFBA), now the longest local running advocacy organization implemented by FBA. Under their skilled leadership, CFBA was able to work with local governments, enforcement agencies and concerned citizens on many projects and ideas. They were instrumental in getting bike lanes on South Orange Avenue, a major accomplishment for the organization. They attended city, county and other agency meetings, frequently spoke at events to educate non-cycling groups about cycling issues and coordinated events. They worked closely with the University of Central Florida’s police department to enforce bicycle enforcement laws. Gene and Marianne were forced to resign from their leadership role with CFBA due to family commitments, but are still active and supportive of organization efforts. They are a one in a million team.

Volunteer
John Gable (Posthumous)
John Gable brought numerous ideas to the table as a member of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee for Metroplan Orlando. He stimulated a lot of discussion at meetings and motivated the committee to be a bit more proactive. The appointees on the BPAC felt more empowered to speak their minds because of John’s outspokenness. One of John’s suggestions was to have the chair of the BPAC sit as a non-voting member on the Metroplan Board. Every committee chair was a non-voting member for several years before the BPAC chair was appointed. This recommendation has given the BPAC a direct link to the elected officials who serve as the Metroplan Board. The committee has begun to assert itself more and more with respect to transportation planning in the Orlando metropolitan area due in large part to John’s efforts. A transplant from the Washington, DC area and former employee of the Virginia Department of Transportation, John called Orlando home for several years before passing away in June.

Bicycle Friendly Community
Madison County
Roy Milliron, Madison County Tourist Development Council
Madison County is home to safe, scenic bicycle trails from 15 to 100 miles long that take riders through rich and diverse rolling hills and elevation changes. Roy Milliron has been the driving force behind the county’s dedication to bicycling, as well as hiking and canoeing resulting in a wonderful map detailing routes for these three activities. “Bikes Sharing Roadway” signs are quite prominent throughout the county. The Madison Tourist Development Council has hosted Bike Florida and the Share the Road Rally & Summit in the city of Madison and recognizes the economic impact of hosting bicycle events.

Trails Manager
Tom Brown, Assistant Trails Manager
Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail State Park
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Tom is a dedicated, intelligent, congenial and compassionate assistant trails manager for the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail State Park and Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. He understands and believes in the higher social purposes of outdoor recreation and the preservation of natural resources. He is very energetic and highly innovative in his approach to finding solutions and exploring new avenues for maintaining and improving rail-trail cycling resources.

Share the Road Tag Promoter
John K. Clark, Palm Beach County Tax Collector
Palm Beach County consistently boasts the highest sales in Share the Road tags. Honorable Clark and his staff recognize the value of safe cycling awareness and have contributed to promoting tag sales. A separate award presentation was made to director of operations David Brose at the Florida Tax Collector conference in St. Augustine in early September.

Special Recognition
Leigh Matusick
Leigh has served the state of Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) offices as their head crossing guard trainer and director of the Florida Crossing Guard Training program for over 10 years. She has put on exemplary trainings all over the state that have become models for other states throughout the nation. Leigh was also part of the beginning staff of Bike Florida now in its 11th year and has served as the SAG vehicle coordinator and assistant security director during all those years...making her become known as “Sag Lady Leigh” Leigh is thinking retirement from state government and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office next spring and will be greatly missed. Florida is a better place because of Leigh’s passion and commitment to safety education.

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Bike Florida exec earns Iowa corn patch on first RAGBRAI ride

by T.J. Juskiewicz

In the spring of 1994, while attending a national conference in Indiana while working for the Florida Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports, I heard a presentation from Jim Green, the director of RAGBRAI, about this wonderful bike ride across Iowa.

I was fascinated by just how massive this cycling event was with over 10,000 cyclists. Meanwhile, back in Florida the Florida Governor’s Council was preparing to put on the very first Bike Florida event that summer hoping to attract 100 riders.

Ten years later, the Florida Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports had been eliminated by cost saving measures under Governor Bush. Bike Florida continued on its own, celebrating it’s 10th anniversary with over 1,000 cyclists and I’m riding across Iowa for the 30th annual RAGBRAI!

A small group of Florida cyclists teamed up with some cyclists from Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama to make the pilgrimage in vans and trucks.

The route was nearly 500 miles of cycling from west to east, from Sioux Center to Bellevue. Folks claimed it was to be an “easy” year. The mileage varied from 56 to 79 miles (I clocked over 85 miles that day) and was supposed to be flat.

Of course, flat is a relative term and this Floridian couldn’t relate to the people that called the route flat.

Riding through Iowa was so enjoyable with so many different things to marvel at. We saw corn fields, high-tech windmills, pigs, cornfields, old churches, cornfields, lakes, cows and more cornfields.

It is an awesome site to see miles of bicycles behind and in front of you. There were teams of cyclists who go all out to let you know their presence. There were standard issue teams such as the Army and Air Force and outrageous teams like the “Team Tutu,” whose men and women rode with colorful tutus and “Team Bad Boy,” who rode beach cruisers decked out with full bar and ice chests attached to their bicycles.

The riding and sights, however, were not the highlights. The people and small towns were truly the heart and soul of RAGBRAI.

The people rolled out the red carpets as riders rolled into their little hamlets and multiplied their populations 50 fold.

Small town mayors shook hands and handed out orange juice, firemen turned on hydrants to cool off cyclists, grandmothers proudly showed off their homemade pies and baseball teams offered watermelon and Gatorade.

Townspeople sat in rocking chairs on their front porches and waved to the thousands of cyclists as they rolled through their streets for hours on end. It was truly Americana at its best.

After seven hard days of cycling we dipped our tires in the Mississippi River to celebrate the conclusion.

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Impressions of RAGBRAI 2002...party/ride rolled into one

by Linda Crider

I drove up from Fla. with T.J. and FBA executive director Laura Hallam to Atlanta where we met Jerry Colley and the “BRAG” group, loaded our bikes and baggage in a Penske truck, piled into two 15 passenger vans and headed for our more than 18 hr drive to Belleview, Iowa.

In Belleview we met some 200 more riders who had signed up with Pork Belly Ventures, one of the many entrepreneurial charters who provide buses to the ride start and carry luggage along the route.

Century ride
I rode my first century—actually turned out to be 114 miles—with Lincoln, a 12-year-old boy from Southern California, whose father was a doctor and couldn’t ride due to back surgery.

Dad was driving the van for their group of middle aged men (doctors and lawyers). They managed to stop for several hours in all the towns; needless to say, Lincoln was very impatient with this adult-like behavior.

Lincoln liked the watermelon and was a strong rider on his Specialized hybrid. What he lacked in technique he made up for in stamina and desire.

The experience was quite nostalgic for me making me miss my son, Simon, (who had ridden with me across the country when he was 12) even more.

I felt quite accomplished, albeit exhausted; I’d suffer for it the next day.

The century looped back around into one of the towns midway on the day’s route and I got to see what the RAGBRAI party reputation was all about.

Early riser
I usually rose before dawn to pack up tent and duffels and load them on the Pork Belly truck, sipping a quick coffee offered by one of the PBVs’ staff as incentive to get your bags loaded before 7:30. On the saddle of my trustworthy “stud” (as Tom called it) by 6:00, I watched the sunrise from the back of the front of the pack.

The ribbon of 16,000 riders (10,000 registered and some 4,000 to 6,000 “extras” depending on the day and weather conditions) naturally separated into sections with the early bird race horses out front, the later risers and slower riders near the middle and the much slower riders, late risers and party animals near the back.

Actually there were many more layers to this forever changing fabric as some dropped off for rest stops or potty breaks in the corn fields or town portalets or stopped for food and entertainment breaks that could last for hours depending on the length of the lines and quality of entertainment, including beer gardens, wet T-shirt contests, etc.

Accidents inevitable
The combination of inexperienced riders, veterans, pack riders and pace lines, poorly maintained Iowa roads (I am now more appreciative of Fla. DOT) and a myriad of diagonal railroad tracks (not to mention unlimited beer available in every town from 9 a.m. on) was a set up for disaster.

The saving grace was that the roads were either closed to cars and trucks or seldom used because of the alternative road (farm to market) grid type network.
Ambulances were stationed every few miles by the side of the road waiting the inevitable: not uncommon first-day deaths; numerous injuries from riders bumping into each other or some other error.

I witnessed four accidents in front or to the side of me as I cautiously road to the far right, passing on the left only when I had a wide birth.

Most accidents occurred in pace lines where someone got too close or a slower rider being passed on both sides by a pack would freak out and veer to the right or left or would try to jump on the back to draft and hit the back rider.

Pace lines are NOT for large group rides. RAGBRAI officials discourage the practice, but it’s done anyway.

RIDE RIGHT
The slogan was everywhere, from beginning safety video continuously played at the ride start registration where a safety pledge (non-mandatory) earned you a ticket for a drawing, to posters, billboards, stickers, etc.

It was an attempt to eke some semblance of order out of 16,000 riders going along the same road at different speeds.

There was little enforcement of the safety rules except by the riders themselves yelling (sometimes profanely at a rider thoughtlessly putting self and others at risk.

But there was a huge presence of Iowa Highway Patrol at every major intersection, blocking cars and allowing groups of cyclists to pass as they used counters to record the number of daily riders.

Big bucks for little towns
The ride is a shot in the piggy bank for towns, churches, volunteer fire departments, boy scouts and local citizens who sell anything from water to lemonade, cookies, pies, ice cream, bagels, pancakes, bananas, walking tacos, breakfast burritos, pork chops, Tom’s turkey, homemade ice cream, lasagna, and spaghetti dinners, Iowa’s sweet corn, homemade pies and beer, beer, beer.

Towns actually bid for the RAGBRAI to come through or, even better, stop overnight.

Riders met

  • Paul, a Maytag salesman from Iowa.
  • Lincoln, the 12-year-old from S. Calif.
  • Henry from Houston, a gorgeous party biker and 10-time RAGBRAI repeater who seemed to know every girl in the saloon where he bought me a beer for finishing the century, after which I quickly exited.
  • Party of “Gumby/SOBE” team.
  • Sharon, a Chicago school teacher
  • Numerous others for very short stints.

And 15,900 of my closest friends...

Mostly I rode alone, preferring to have my “safety space” around me to maneuver out of perceived danger zones (children weaving and racing, fast riders passing on right, people with headphones in the middle of the road, people engrossed in conversation three abreast).

I tried to relax and each day did better but never achieved a comfort level that I could call enjoyable riding.

RAGBRAI is a happening, a week-long festival that also happens to be a bike ride.

I was glad for the opportunity to do it once. I doubt, however, I will ever voluntarily do it again, unless my three children beg me when they reach their early 20s and need a sag driver to come along to restrict their beer intake, carry their luggage, sunscreen and water and arrange for homestays with hot showers and sit down meals.

I may even ride my recumbent a day or two, just to remind myself what true insanity is all about.

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51 years of biking addiction

by Raymond (Rudy) Miller

My dad gave me my first bicycle in 1951. I was 10 years old.

Any photos of that bike and me perished nine years later in the Congo Rebellion when the rebels looted and burned our home and my missionary parents fled for their lives.

It was an adult-size, single speed, black, Belgian, balloon tire beauty with linkage cantilever brakes. I had to sit on the bar to reach the pedals, but I would grow.

My older brother, Russ, taught me how to ride it, running behind me holding onto the bike’s seat. This technique was to result in my second bicycling accident.

As we headed down a gently sloping path in the woods the bike and I got away from him.

I was riding by myself, only I had yet to learn how to use the brakes or turn. I rode head-on into a huge pine tree trunk about twice my girth.

The thrill of knowing I could balance the bike by my self offset the bruises and scrapes and the fact that the front tire was at least an inch closer to the frame.

I never told my dad about the accident and the fork damage and he pretended not to notice so I rode the bike for years with a shortened rake.

My first bike accident, two years earlier, had left me unconscious. Russ was giving me a “lift” home on his American Flyer. We were headed down a long hill on a dirt road using coaster brakes with me sitting on the center bar.

I have never been able to recall his losing control nor my parents reaction when a breathless African told them I was “dead.” (Swahili uses the same word for unconscious and dead.)

At Rethy Academy, our mission boarding school in the Belgian Congo, almost all of us rode bikes. Our dorm—our school for that matter—only had one automobile so biking was not only a source of pleasure, it was a necessity if you wanted to get around.

Our bikes were all single speeds but we could still ride four to six miles of hills during a 30-minute recess.
After school we ventured much farther. We set up ramps and bridges using 12-foot long 1” by 12” planks over 50 gallon barrels. We made jump ramps dropping 6 feet into a pile of leaves.

We crashed a lot.

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New board members add south Florida connection to FBA efforts

David Henderson and Mark Horowitz are FBA’s two most recently appointed board members.

David came on board in June. Mark, who has been an advisory board member for local government issues and serves as Broward County’s bike/ped coordinator, accepted his two year appointment at FBA’s annual meeting September 27. More about Mark in a future issue.

A native of Coral Gables, David works as the bicycle/pedestrian coordinator for the Miami-Dade MPO.
He is a regular bike commuter and utilitarian cyclist who dabbles in touring and mountain biking.

David has a BA in Economics from Indiana University and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Miami.

He is a member of the Everglades Bike Club and Adventure Cycling. He hopes to see the FBA become a leader in public policy and in service to bicyclists.

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‘Fat Tire Favorites: West Central Florida Off-Road Bicycling’

by Laura Hallam

Just as this issue of the Messenger (highlighting trails) comes to Floridians, so has a great, related tool become available for off-road cyclists.

Rob DeGraaf and Rudy Miller have just released their new book, Fat Tire Favorites: West-Central Florida Off Road Bicycling.
Almost four years in the making, this is the first exhaustive text covering the region and features over 60 ride locations, trail maps, photos, contacts and wildlife descriptions. Included are trails west of Orlando to the Gulf of Mexico, north to Gainesville and south to Port Charlotte.

Legal single track trails and scenic double track dirt roads with very little or no vehicular traffic have been included. Most of these ride locations and trails have not previously appeared in any bicycle trail publications or other Florida guidebooks.

When cyclists travel to a new area to discover trails, most look for a quality guidebook to provide a resource for planned adventure(s).

The same is true for locals who find themselves repeatedly riding the same trails. Since the authors ride such a diversity of terrain, including advanced, technical, single track, as well as nature oriented, scenic dirt roads, Fat Tire Favorites was written to be a single, definitive resource aimed at every off-road bicyclist.

Experienced riders will recognize trails like: Alafia, Hard Rock, Reddick, Santos, Carter Park, and many of the other great single track spots, but many may not know of Lochloosa, the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, Andrews, Goethe, Emeralda, Chassahowitzka, Gum Slough, Potts Preserve, Tenoroc, Sun-n-Lakes and Avon Park AF Range.

These and many more great riding areas have been included.
Trails are broken into two categories, Main Trails and Honorable Mention Sites. The latter trails did not get a full write-up, trail map or photo for various reasons but are still worth visiting if you’re in the area.

Every trail, including Honorable Mention Sites, includes driving directions, contact information and detailed trail descriptions.
Trail maps are very accurate and exceptionally displayed. Rob actually GPS'd many of these. Most others were GPS'd and shared by other cyclists.

He and Rudy had the basic philosophy that if they hadn't "been there and done that" then the trail could not be included in their book.

Rob used the same premise when he wrote his first book, Guide to South Florida Off-Road Bicycling, now in its third edition.
When Rob moved from South Florida to Tampa Bay, he started thinking about publishing a second book, one covering west-central Florida.

The size of the task and Rob's desire to complete it more rapidly prompted him to invite his close friend Raymond "Rudy" Miller to help out.

Rudy and Rob had ridden together all over the southeast and have worked together for several years promoting responsible off-road bicycling in Florida.

Since Rudy liked to both ride and write, he was the obvious choice. Rudy had been wanting to write such a guide but had always felt it was too daunting a task to undertake alone. In early 2001 Rob and Rudy decided to join forces.

Book specifics: measuring in at a meaty 140 pages, over 1/4" thick, 5 ½ by 8 ½". ISBN: 0967838517. Fat Tire Favorites is available directly from DeGraaf Publishing (813-928-3325). When you call, tell Rob that you saw the FBA Messenger article and you'll get the book signed by both authors and receive an FBA discount. The book is also available at quality bike shops throughout the state, online at the DeGraaf Publishing website: www.sameritech.com/dp and at: www.amazon.com, www.bn.com and any book store by special order. Books are $13.95 each, retail. Call DeGraaf Publishing for wholesale prices or, for bike shops or agencies, to request a review copy.

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This Issue:

FBA Annual Awards presented at Share the Road Rally & Summit

Bike Florida exec earns Iowa corn patch on first RAGBRAI ride

Impressions of RAGBRAI 2002...party/ride rolled into one

51 years of biking addiction

New board members add south Florida connection to FBA efforts

‘Fat Tire Favorites: West Central Florida Off-Road Bicycling’

 

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