Messenger Archive: Fall 2005

FBA license plate sales show respectable gains

IT’S STILL A LONG WAY to the top—and a considerable number of endangered species and university alumni lie ahead—but bicycling enthusiast support for the state’s two-wheeled endangered mammal is not too shabby, nonetheless.

As of the date of this chart, Florida offered 91 specialty plates. FBA’s place in the almost top third—thanks to your purchases and renewals—is respectable for a focused interest group. But we can do better. If you have your plate already, please stay with FBA at renewal time. If you don’t, there’s no time like the present—or at least when your birthday rolls around—to show your support for FBA and Bike Florida education programs.

Visit the Share the Road Website for more information about FBA's and Bike Florida's specialty license plate program.

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Flagler and St Johns counties shine with STR plate awards

FBA Executive Director Laura Hallam attended the 2005 Florida Tax Collectors Fall Conference on Amelia Island recently to promote the Share the Road specialty license plate as one of 66 exhibitors. Every year, FBA and Bike Florida present two awards for Share the Road Sales and Share the Road Promotions during the Opening Ceremonies of the conference.

Members of the St. Johns County Tax Collector staff (top picture) display the plaque FBA awards each year for sales of Share the Road specialty license plates. Accepting on behalf of the Honorable Dennis Hollingsworth was Cheryl Kent (center).

Flagler County Tax Collector the Honorable Suzanne Johnston (far right in the bottom picture) and staff pose with their plaque for winning the STR License Plate Promotions of the Year award. Former recipients of the Share the Road awards are 2001: Orange County, 2002: Palm Beach County, 2003: Pinellas County for Sales; Sarasota County for Promotions 2004: Hillsborough County for Sales; Seminole County for Promotions.

Visit the Share the Road Website for more information about FBA's and Bike Florida's specialty license plate program.

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Director's Report

by Laura Hallam FBA Executive Director

We're at a time again where driving is driving many people crazy. $50 to $100 to fill up your tank may start to make that $500 mountain bike look good.

Matter of fact, in my travels I've been noticing fewer cars after dinner, fewer cars on the weekends, and a lot of strange looking people on bicycles.

Not quite sure if there's any connection here, but memories of the ’70s persist.

Two years ago, auto dealers couldn't sell the one demo hybrid on the lot and now they can't keep them in stock, let alone find a used one.

It looks like the bicycle may show its solution status once again.

It may be time to plan our counter-attack. Economics is a powerful driving force and presently economics is driving people crazy.

That decent $500 bicycle may be a month of fuel for many people. That old clunker in the garage may help keep food on the table.

It may be time to think about what all of us can do to motivate folks to start doing their short trips now by bicycle because at $3.00 per gallon, 15 miles per gallon and the money lost quickly adds up to significant levels.

The bicycle and the bicycle people are simply part of the solution again.

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FDOT Awards
another safety grant to FBA
All the programs we submitted to the Florida Department of Transportation were funded resulting in a $164K safety grant.

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Law Enforcement
Professionals Have Tool Set
Part three of a three-part series for law enforcement professionals is available for nationwide distribution.

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LAB Elects New President
FBA member Mike Greehan (Lake Worth) was recently elected as the League of American Bicyclists President. Way to go Mike.

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Program Director has her work cut out
Program Director Lyndy Moore will hit the ground running in 2006 with the new Bicycle Helmet Safety Program piloted in Pinellas County middle schools over the last two years.

This program ended in 90% compliance with all participants having an enjoyable time. Scientist Dr. Ron Van Houten and Seidler Productions were the creation team.

University of Florida Transportation Technology Transfer Center was the lead agency in making this program possible.

Other programs on Lyndy's plate next year include the second annual Pro Bike Pro Walk Florida conference to be held in beautiful, historic St. Augustine April 19-21.

Lyndy will also champion the third edition of Bike Florida's Rolling Road 1 bicycle safety education program.

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Finding a cure for MS takes determination... and money

by Wayne Torrens

My story begins in early spring, 1995. I was 31 years old when I started experiencing some abnormal numbness in the tips of my fingers that would come and go.

Wayne TorrensThinking nothing of it, I ignored the numbness until a few months later when I had a strange feeling around my waist. It felt like I was wearing a belt under my clothes all the time.

I started to feel some numbness on the bottoms of my feet. The numbness in my finger began to get worse to the extent I couldn't type on my computer without looking at the keys.

I am a touch typist which means I don't need to look at the keys. I was suspicious something might be wrong.

My fiancé suggested I go see a chiropractor because I probably had some sort of pinched nerve. Her aunt and uncle were both chiropractors so she was familiar with their craft.

I went to a local what I call "quackropractor" and after two weeks of unsuccessful treatment he suggested I go and see a neurologist.

As I explained my symptoms to my neurologist and he quickly suggested I go for a MRI.

I can remember the day of my MRI very clearly. They ran a number of uneventful scans. The operator told me he only had one more scan to do.

A few minutes later he told me he was going to inject me with some contrast solution to do some more scans.

I knew that was not good news. I started to get scared.

The MRI technician told me to go back to my neurologist immediately. So, I went back to the doctor's office and he told me the MRI was positive for MS (Multiple Sclerosis) but not conclusive. He recommended I have a spinal tap to confirm the diagnosis but I didn't want to go through the agony of an invasive test for something we both knew was conclusive.

I had MS. I declined the test and started Betaseron two weeks later in June 1995.

My entire family lives in Pennsylvania. When I called to tell them the news about my condition they were devastated.

The only experiences they knew of or had with MS were the "worst case" scenarios. My father actually worked with someone who needed to stop working to take care of his wife who had MS. So my father’s and my family’s panic really painted a bleak picture of my future.

Here I was 31 years old, my whole life ahead of me and I felt as if I had been handed a death sentence.

To add to my devastation, as I researched my disease all of the information I found was old and outdated. But on a brighter side, I also received a lot of very informative and encouraging information from the National MS Society.

I felt sorry for myself. I thought the life and future as I knew or dreamed it to be was over.

I went as far as trying to convince my fiancé to leave me, because this disease was going to be too much of a burden blah, blah, blah.

Then, one day my life changed again.

I decided to take a more proactive approach to my health. I was going to fight this thing. I thought if I could keep myself physically healthy I could stay ahead of the disease.

Nine years later, my positive attitude toward my fighting this disease and my proactive approach seems to be paying off big time.

I have some minor limitations but considering this disease, I count myself blessed because it could be considerably worse.

I had always been into organized sports in Junior and Senior High School, including running for the track & field team, swim team, gymnastics, and soccer. After my diagnosis I started spinning classes at my local gym.

Impact sports like running bother my symptoms but cycling does not due to the lack of impact. I received a newsletter from the MS Society where I saw an article about the MS150 (a one hundred and fifty mile bike ride to raise money for MS).

I quickly decided to train and ride that year. I purchased a new road bike after training a little while on my mountain bike.

I now ride two MS150 rides a year and several other organized rides in addition to training with friends that I have met along the way.

I had been riding the MS150 with a friend of mine for two years who did not know I had MS. One year he told me he thought he wasn't going to ride the next year.

He said he was having some trouble raising, or should I say collecting, money from his friends and family. He asked about my commitment and determination to this event.

He asked if I was riding for someone I knew who had MS. I told him, yes, there was someone I was very close to who had MS that I was riding for. He asked who it was. I told him it was me. He quickly said, "OK, I'm Riding."

One of my goals is to keep riding for many years to come. I would like to personally thank everyone who is involved in these events throughout the country. It means the world to me.

Central Floridian Wayne Torrens is a Florida Freewheeler and rides with Team Lockheed Martin.

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FBA and Lake Helen in tandem on bicycle training and touring program

by Herb Hiller (© Herb Hiller, Inc. used by permission)

Druthers, harbingers and a 1-to-10 shot for a name combine with financial projections, route mapping and the inevitable search for grants as planning gears up for Florida’s first bicycle training and touring program meant to start operations in November next year.

The Florida Bicycle Association will lead the program based in Lake Helen, a small, sustainably managed city of 3,000 in western Volusia County.

The program’s odds-on name is Florida Discovery Bicycling CenterTM, and for readers of Florida Bicycle Association Messenger, this is the time to weigh in with additional names before the program planning group decides its choice at its next meeting November 2nd.

Readers can submit ideas to FBA Executive Director Laura Hallam at laura@floridabicycle.org.

The program’s core activity calls for training and touring through a four-county region bordered by the St. Johns River.

The region includes Lake, Putnam and Flagler counties in addition to Volusia and varies from the college town and Volusia County seat of DeLand to hamlets edging the Ocala National Forest and big Lake George. Participants in the five-day, five-night activity aimed at adults of all ages will overnight in a country hotel, bed-and-breakfasts and comfortable fish camps.

(from left) author Herb Hiller, FBA program director Lyndy Moore and Lake Helen Mayor Mark ShuttleworthThe price, not yet worked out but including all meals, training, guides and sag wagon, will range between $950 and $990.

The activity will operate from Sunday evenings to mid-Friday for most of the year, including summer, and will be marketed chiefly to in-state and out-of-state vacationers and to retirees.

League of American Bicyclists-trained instructors will teach the league’s Road I safety course on Mondays and Road II maintenance course during the four days of touring that follow.

Summer schedules will start earlier in the morning and include swimming at Blue Springs and DeLeon Springs and – here come the druthers! -- at a B&B pool.

Druthers also include courses in mechanic training, youth safety training and cycling skills for law enforcement personnel.

“To really sell ourselves as a ‘bicycling center’ we need a physical location, and Lake Helen gives us that,” said FBA President Mighk Wilson, a program organizer, at the September meeting.

Lake Helen Mayor Mark Shuttleworth (who won his fourth consecutive two-year term unopposed in September) leads his city’s commitment to incubate the program’s site at outdoor and indoor activity centers.

The city has joined FBA since discussions about the program began and, in another LAB program, will file for designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

Harbingers that marked the planning group’s September meeting included election to the DeLand City Council of Leigh Matusick, a board member of Bike Florida, the annual week-long tour through north Florida.

Matusick is expected to bolster Mayor Shuttleworth’s representations to county government about the economic value of environmentally low impact bicycle touring.

Further promising is Mayor Shuttleworth’s report of a Lake Helen couple interested in opening a bike shop in town in time for the program’s start and potential sag wagon volunteers from retired city residents. Good sign, too, was the mayor’s report that Lake County bike/ped coordinator Michael Wood lives in Lake Helen.

“The program is altogether a blank slate for Lake Helen,” said the mayor. “We want FBA to be a strong influence on our city. It will bring us closer to Cassadaga and it clearly fits in with our grand plan for life.”

The Spiritualist community of Cassadaga occupies an unincorporated area directly south of Lake Helen and is more compatible with it than with Deltona, a growth-hungry neighbor with designs on its annexation. Lake Helen would resist the move.

The planning group has begun talks with the Cassadaga Hotel, a 1928 property, for the use of overnight rooms.

Mighk Wilson and Lyndy Moore will next map routes and inspect potential on-road lodgings. Laura Hallam will prepare a list of grant sources for office equipment, start-up salary for the one full-time staff person the program will require, rental bikes, and marketing activities.

The program is expected to become a subject at upcoming state meetings that strategize about DOT funding. It’s already a subject of the St. Johns River Alliance and the west Volusia-based River of Lakes Heritage Corridor.

Others on the program committee include City of Lake Helen Clerk Jeannie Grammatikas, Volusia MPO bike/ped coordinator Jean Parlow, Volusia County facilities and trails coordinator Susanne Inman, West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority Executive Director Renee Tallevast, Chamber of Commerce of West Volusia Executive Director Pat Northey, Cassadaga Camp bookstore manager Katie Stiller, Lake Helen residents Ed Blackman and Fred Tessier, and this writer.

Herb Hiller is author of Highway A1A, Florida At the Edge, newly published by University Press of Florida

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Tour of Sebring leads to Cycling Merit Badge for West Palm Beach BSA Troop 120

by Lyndy Moore

During a planning session for the Cycling Merit Badge, West Palm Beach Boy Scout Troop 120 had a brilliant "group" thought. Instead of designing their own route, maps, rest stops and support, they registered for the Tour of Sebring, the Labor Day bike ride that benefits the WPB Bicycle Club.

Three adults and five scouts headed to the Kenilworth Lodge for a record setting weekend for the troop.

Troop leader and recumbent cyclist Randy Harner had taken his son Brian, 13, on bike tours but this was the first such trip for the other members.

Each of the scouts left Sebring on Sunday night, tired but elated, with some impressive accomplishments.

Brian Harner rode the 62 mile metric century one day and 32 miles the other. If that wasn't enough saddle time, he also did the 5 mile poker rides each afternoon for a total of over 100 miles for the weekend.

Walter Arnett, 14, left the Kenilworth to ride 62 miles with his troop, but somehow ended up on the century route!

Cyclists along the way encouraged and coached him and he rode into the parking lot sunburned and grinning with 100 miles for the day! His weekend total was 135 miles.

Taylor Warren, also 13, racked up 62 miles and 32 miles for his Sebring tour. He, along with most of the adults at the tour, opted for the afternoon ice cream socials instead of participating in the poker rides.

Peter Burch, the other 14 year old, also had a personal best mileage wise with his 62 mile metric century and 32 mile ride.

Many adults have not reached the milestones these young men achieved!

Jerrid Kosma, 13, last but not least, has quite the story to tell. He had just recently learned to ride a bicycle and here he's out riding metric centuries!

He also opted for the ice cream social instead of the poker rides. He is proud of the 62 miles and 32 miles ridden in one weekend when this time last year he had ridden exactly zero miles!

Accompanying the scouts along the route were Randy Warren, Lexanna Arnett and Randy Harner.

They provided encouragement on the route each day along with water, sports drinks and snacks. Cheering them along from afar were the family and troop members back in the West Palm Beach area.

Randy Harner has to be quite an inspiration for this troop, because he is a person to be admired.

I met Randy when working at Bike Florida a few years ago. He was on an upright bike, and due to his weight, was struggling with the daily miles.

He tried a recumbent bicycle, found one he liked and has been pedaling the pounds away ever since. He's lost more than 100 pounds cycling and has become an inspiration to locals and students as he commutes to work and rides in his community. Watch for an article on Randy in a future edition of the Messenger.

Congratulations to Troop 120 for setting and reaching your goals for this step of your Cycling Badge. We know you'll complete the rest of the requirements with the same energy and enthusiasm.

You're the future of cycling and it appears as though we'll be in competent hands!

More information on the Cycling Merit Badge, a step to becoming an Eagle Scout, can be found at www.meritbadge.com/mb/039.htm

Do you know of a youth or group of young people who excel in some aspect of cycling? Tell Lyndy about it.

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This Issue:

License plate stats

STR plate awards

Director's report

Wayne Torrens

Lake Helen program

Cyclng Merit Badge

 

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Florida Bicycle Association | P.O. Box 916715 | Longwood FL 32791-6715

The Florida Bicycle Association (FBA) was incorporated in 1997 for educational and charitable purposes.
FBA is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Donations, including membership dues, are tax-deductible.
A copy of the current financial statements may be obtained by contacting
FBA, P.O. Box 916715, Longwood FL 32791-6715.