Messenger Archive: Winter 2006
Share the Road license plate redesign contest draws an
overwhelming response from artists and advocates
by Lyndy Moore, FBA Program Director
Jeffrey Beegle of Summerfield had the most votes as designer and the first tag he submitted had the most votes per tag.
The plate has to go through several revisions to meet the specifications of the State Division of Motor Vehicles.
Jeffrey has already made some modification to the colors by changing the grey road from the color grey to a gradient of black, which allowed him to add green to the roadsides.
Changing the Website URL to a dark blue also created a little more impact.
Once FBA and Bike Florida submit the final design to DHSMV, the agency will stop production of the current plate and allocate its inventory of current plates to tag agencies around the state. As inventory is exhausted they will start shipping the new design.
If you don't yet have a STR plate, now is the time to get one so that you can have your own souvenir of the very first STR tag EVER. Following Florida’s lead, many states now have STR plates, which is good for all of us.
Meet the winners
“I’ve enjoyed biking my whole life,” winning designer, Jeffrey Beegle, says, “but wasn't real serious ’til about five years ago. My love is mountain biking, but it’s probably more often that I’m on the road bike. I’m not a commuter but would like to be if Marion County roads were a little more bike friendly.”
Beegle is an electrical hardware designer in Ocala. He started doing graphics there for control panel overlays. Last spring he started his own business, Image Enable, and has been doing graphic design part time.
Jeffrey designed jerseys for the Lightning Ladies of Santos Trail Bicycle Shop. He found out about the license plate re-design contest through the bicycle shop owner, Dawn.
“She thought I would be able to submit a good entry,” says Beegle. “I started working on my first tag design right away.” That first design eventually became the winner.
Second place winner, Richard Price of Panama City, learned about the contest through the Florida Parks System.
Rich is not a cyclist, but is an avid nature lover and a tour guide at Eden Gardens State Park. The “message” behind his design was directness and the Florida natural environment.
Rich says, "What I have noticed about a large percentage of the state plates is the difficulty to see the image from another vehicle. “The designs are confusing at times, and too busy. With my design I wanted an image that would stand out, that was not confusing, and incorporated our natural Florida fauna.” Rich is a freelance designer on the side, and included bright colors in his tag design.
Third place winner, Jill Durham, of Gainesville, is a self taught designer.
“Actually I was not the only one who designed our tag.” says Jill. “I was the initial creator, but as always when I do artwork, I have my fiancée/co-worker Ted Kubisek critique my art. Spin Cycle Outdoor Center, our place of employment also does screen printing in the back called Monster Press and so we create lots of designs for t-shirts and such. I learned about the contest from a letter we received from the STR organization. Ted currently has one of the STR tags and so we get updates in the mail.”
Jeffrey received $200 for his winning design and Rich and Jillian earned $50 each for theirs.
Thanks also to the other seven designers for entering the contest, Leslie Capobianco, Chip L. Haynes, Bill Jepson, Gary L. Yates, Robert Seidler, Bonnie Hammer and Michael Koenig.
ALL designers received a portion of the hundreds of votes cast via the Share the Road Website (www.SharetheRoad.org).
Visit the Share the Road Website for more information about FBA's and Bike Florida's specialty license plate program.
back to the top
Executive Director’s report...
There is power in numbers
Laura Hallam, FBA Executive Director
IT’S A BICYCLIST’S NIGHTMARE. Last summer, one of Florida's leading bicycle/pedestrian professionals was hit by a motorist.
Apparently, the driver didn't yield to the bicyclist's right of way or didn't think he had a right to be on the road because he was a bicyclist.
Luckily, my friend and colleague wasn't killed, but he was badly injured, requiring surgery and still has a long road to recovery.
Fortunately, he is back on his bike and making strides to regain his strength and stamina.
Unfortunately, encounters like this happen all too often, many with more tragic consequences. Some bicyclists decide they no longer feel safe and make the painful decision to give up bicycling, an activity they enjoy. Others decide to make the best of the situation and try to avoid interactions with cars.
But there are still others: dedicated individuals who are motivated to work toward solving the problems bicyclists face. I believe you are one of these dedicated individuals, someone who wants to help solve problems bicyclists face in Florida.
There is safety in numbers. The fewer bicyclists there are, the more unsafe it is to ride.
A recent study looked at the relationship between the number of people walking or bicycling and the frequency of collisions between motorists and pedestrians or bicyclists.
The surprising conclusion of the study was that a motorist is less likely to collide with a person walking and bicycling if more people walk or bicycle.
Policies that increase the numbers of people walking and bicycling appear to be an effective route to improving the safety of people walking and bicycling.
There is power in numbers. Bicyclists have more power to make the needed changes if there are more of us.
There are over a million bicyclists in Florida. Just think what one million bicyclists working together to create a bicycle friendly Florida could achieve? Together we can help make Florida a place where:
- Roads are smooth and scenic.
- Road lanes are wide enough for bikes and cars to share safely.
- All vehicles are respectful of other road users.
- Mountain biking is welcomed on public lands.
- Children learn to ride bikes safely and develop a love of bicycling at an early age.
- Laws are enacted to protect bicyclists' rights and interests.
- Maps are available to help guide bicyclists wherever their passions lead them.
- Off-road linear parks and shared-use trails connect communities.
- Bicycles are an essential part of life.
There is much to do to create a bicycle friendly Florida. It's the people who bike and walk who will benefit.
Involvement of every Florida bicyclist is critical. Our members believe Florida can become bicycle friendly and know their support makes a difference.
With dedicated members, the Florida Bicycle Association has been able to make great progress. In 2005, we accomplished the following:
- Produced Ride on By II: Promoting Safe Interaction Between Motorists & Cyclists. This production is the third in a 3-part series geared toward law enforcement to offer guidance and information related to bicycle and roadway sharing.
Ride on By I targets bicyclist errors while Ride on By II targets motorist errors.
- Understanding Bicycle Law Enforcement provides the visual tools and strategies needed so officers can understand crashes and how to successfully enforce traffic laws.
- Produced Older Adult Activity video.
- Distributed FBA News electronic newsletter - over 800 subscribers.
- Distributed Florida Bicycle Association Messenger quarterly newsletter - 3400 circulation including bike shops statewide.
- Broke 13,000 in Share the Road license plate sales since 2000.
- Educated over 300 people at bicycle safety workshops.
- Produced 7th printing of Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide - over 56,000 distributed since 2001.
- Produced 3rd printing of Florida Bicycling Street Smarts - over 30,000 distributed since 2003.
- Hosted the Pro Bike®/Pro Walk Florida Conference.
- Continued as a clearinghouse of information via www.floridabicycle.org, www.probikeprowalkflorida.com, and www.sharetheroad.org.
- Promoted public awareness via attendance at nearly 100 events.
With your continued support, we will do more.
The Florida Bicycle Association is the only statewide organization working for bicyclists. We work with law enforcement, educators, media, local advocates, state agencies and national organizations to improve the bicycling environment in Florida.
A better bicycling environment provides convenient recreational opportunities for families, access to the beauty of Florida for everyone who rides a bicycle, non-polluting solutions for commuting, fitness opportunities to address obesity and health issues and fun for all ages.
With your help and support, the Florida Bicycle Association will be able to continue our efforts to create a bicycle friendly Florida. Please encourage your friends to join the Florida Bicycle Association, the organization that never takes bicycling for granted.
You can also support FBA by purchasing a Share the Road specialty license plate.
Since 2000, nearly 14,000 plates have been sold generating over $500,000 to promote safe cycling. The proceeds are divided equally between FBA and Bike Florida after up to 25% is taken off the top for marketing and promotions. Florida was the first state to have a specialty license plate dedicated to bicycles. Please support this program by purchasing a plate for your BIKE HAULING vehicle(s) by visiting your local license plate agency.
Our 2006 budget in the amount of $272,000 will take us to the next level in promoting bicycle safety education, enforcement programs and physical activity. The continued obesity epidemic and need to conserve energy is justifying our association more and more.
People are beginning to recognize the value of our programs and campaigns to inspire and support people and communities to enjoy greater freedom and well being through bicycling.
Programs like the new Bicycle/Pedestrian Law Enforcement curriculum, combined Bicycle/Pedestrian Law Enforcement Guide, second annual Pro Bike®/Pro Walk Florida conference, Florida Discovery Bicycling CenterTM, Group Riding Media Production, Bicycle Helmet Safety Education and Enforcement for Middle School students, plus continued efforts to educate adults on the benefits of bicycling for fitness, transportation and fun in a safe, responsible manner will keep us busy in 2006.
A new design of the Share the Road license plate will encourage greater sales and, we hope, move our plate up the ladder from #35 of over 100 specialty license plates. Proceeds from the license plate continue to be a tremendous revenue source and we must continue our efforts to promote sales in everything we do.
It has been a pleasure serving you and the membership in the role of executive director. I continue to grow and evolve each year and could not have done so without your support and trust. I look forward to seeing you on the road or at bicycle events throughout the year.
back to the top
Expect a new reality
Mighk Wilson, FBA President
IT OCCURRED TO ME the other day that I live in a different reality from nearly everybody else.
Every so often I'll bump into a casual, non-cyclist acquaintance I haven't seen for some months. As often as not that person will ask, "Still riding your bike?"
I find it hard to resist rolling my eyes and saying, "Well, duh. Yes, why wouldn't I be?" Perhaps I should respond with, "Sure. Still driving a car?" In my reality bicycling is normal. In theirs it's pretty strange.
In my reality bicycling is not only normal, it is safe, easy and (most of the time) fun. In my reality separate bikeways are not necessary and most motorists are courteous. Of the few who aren't courteous, most are just poor, pathetic convicts in a prison of their own making, so I try not to give them a hard time. However, I'm still capable of blowing my stack at an especially bad driver.
As I thought about my alternate reality, I realized it was created out of my unique experiences. I've been using a bicycle as my primary mode of transportation since I was 10 years old, and have over 150,000 miles of experience. As a regional bicycle coordinator, I also spend quite a bit of time studying how bicycling crashes happen, how likely they are, and which countermeasures are most likely to prevent them. My expectations, shaped by unusual influences, are very different from the norm.
In the book The Continuum Concept, Jean Liedloff studied the expectations of the Yequana tribe in the Amazon toward their children. It's a world that would shock most modern Americans; toddlers play with machetes and firebrands, four-year-olds practice hunting with real bows and arrows and kids swim and play near rapids that would challenge kayakers—all with minimal adult supervision.
Yet childhood injuries and deaths are less common among the Yequana than among our "civilized" kids. Their expectation is that children—even crawling infants—are naturally capable of learning critical life skills without overbearing direction or protection from their parents. Competence is natural; therefore it happens. This dynamic also works in our culture— even with adults.
Liedloff wrote of an American city hit by a blizzard so bad it even thwarted the fire department. The chief appeared on television to tell people to be especially careful with fire for a few days until they could get the streets cleared. During normal periods the city had about 40 fires per day. Fires dropped to four per day during the emergency. After the emergency the rate went back up to 40.
"This placement of responsibility is an aspect of expectation, the force that can be seen to assert its power in so much of child and adult behavior. How could we be described as social creatures if we did not have a strong proclivity for behaving as we feel we are expected to?" Think of how this applies to bicycling in our culture. The expectation is that bicycling along with motor vehicles is dangerous; that a significant number of motorists are incapable of or unwilling to avoid hitting bicyclists, and that it is not possible for cyclists to learn how to avoid most motorist mistakes. Among most people that expectation is paired with the belief that it is the government's responsibility to protect bicyclists from motorists, and that building bicycling facilities is the only way government can solve the problem.
Those of us who are comfortable biking without bikeways are accused of being "macho" or charged with extra testosterone.
That's why seats in cycling courses sit empty. They're seen as irrelevant.
What happens in the mind of the motorist is even more important. Motorists who believe bicycling on roadways is dangerous will act accordingly.
When I confront drivers who've cut me off and yelled at me to get on the sidewalk, they never say, "Because you were in my way."
It's not socially acceptable to give that as a reason. Instead they say, "'Cuz you're gonna get run over." Not by them of course. Oh, no...by that other guy. If bicycling on roadways is so inherently dangerous, then certainly a motorist has no responsibility to be careful around cyclists. I bike assertively and take the full lane when conditions warrant. By doing so I create an expectation that the motorist will pass me safely. Like the fire chief during the blizzard, I make it necessary for them to behave correctly, so for the most part they do.
When bicyclists proclaim cycling on roads without bikeways to be dangerous, we give motorists the rationale they need to harass, threaten and be careless toward us. The presence of bikeways, especially those separated from roadways with barriers, strengthens that belief even more. They are physical "evidence" that the government believes bicycling is so dangerous that we must be given separate places to ride. It's exactly the "evidence" wanted by those who don't want to share the road.
Conversely, if more bicyclists work to create an expectation that cycling is reasonably safe, if more bicyclists get the training they need to discourage and avoid bad motorist actions, and if we create an expectation that motorists will be responsible, then we will have much safer cycling and get much better treatment from motorists. Liedloff described expectation as a force. This force, the power of positive expectations, is in your hands. You can use it to create a new reality.
back to the top
New cyclist profile...
Even tour directors can (and should) become cyclists
by Lyndy Moore
I FIND IT VERY ENCOURAGING when someone who has been charged with running a bicycle ride becomes a cyclist.
December 4, 2005, was the day that Delia Jervier, Central Florida Senior Marketing Director of the American Diabetes Association, became a cyclist.
Getting ready for the February 12, 2006, Central Florida Tour de Cure, Delia participated in a training ride on the Little Econ Trail in November. We stopped several times to make minor adjustments on her seat and handle bars and to adjust gears that weren't shifting properly.
Once she was more comfortable, we rode together and celebrated upon the return. Delia had ridden eight miles, her longest ever one time ride. Tired but happy, she loaded her bike into her car and headed for the bike shop for some adjustments and to make some recommended purchases: bike shorts, bottle cage, tools, pump, spare tube and seat pack.
Three weeks later, I received this message on my answering machine: “Lyndy, I want to do the Boys and Girls Club ride on December 4th and I want to know if you think I can make the 33 miles AND to see if you will ride it with me.” Now, how could I say no to someone so excited about accomplishing such a goal?
I think that people who put on bike rides, regardless of the cause, need to do rides. How else will they know what to provide and how to plan the route, the rest stops and the support?
Ride day started off chilly, but that is usually a good sign in Florida. The century riders left, then the metric riders. Finally those doing the 33 miles headed out. As we rode, we talked about gearing, group riding, road markings and all the details that add up to a successful ride. We cleared the first bridge and made a convenience store stop for sports drinks and stretching, then quickly headed back on the route.
The rest stop at 20 miles was most welcome. By this time, Delia was finding muscles she had forgotten existed, but the smile never left her face. She met the challenge of the next "hill," aka a bridge over Lake Monroe, and pedaled on toward the finish line. I sped ahead to my car to get the camera out, to find Bill Edgar, Orlando Police Bike Officer and Tour de Cure ride director, waiting for us. He had completed his ride, changed clothes, eaten and was patiently waiting for Delia to arrive.
Pictures of her accomplishment on this memorable day can be an inspiration to those of you wondering whether you can do that many miles. She jumped from 4 miles to 8 miles to 33 miles in a month's time. If you are interested in doing any of the benefit rides, hook up with others and do training rides. You'll get tips, learn group riding techniques, learn some basic maintenance and bike fit, make new friends and find yourself on the receiving end of a hug for a job well done.
For more information on the February 12, 2006, Central Florida Tour de Cure, check out www.diabetes.org/tour.
Do you know of or are you a new or “riding again” bicyclist? Want to tell us how it has changed your life? E-mail email@example.com and let us help you tell your story and motivate others to get back in the saddle.
back to the top
Hut-to-hut tour in the great outdoors leaves FBA’s off-road
We know you shouldn’t want to bicycle anywhere but in Florida, but in case you want to practice your high altitude skills, you can find quite a number of hut-to-hut tours using your favorite search engine. When Rudy finds his voice, maybe he’ll share some details about the trip during which these photos were taken. Meanwhile, here is some information, gleaned from their Website, about hut-to-hut tours offered by San Juan Hut Systems — Ed.
San Juan Hut Systems operates a 206-mile mountain bike route from Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah. Each hut is approximately 35 miles apart and is fully equipped (except for hot showers).
The Telluride Moab route follows dirt roads from the high alpine tundra of the San Juan Mountains to the desert slickrock and canyon country of Utah. In all, 206 miles of U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management dirt roads connect Telluride to Moab. The route is designed for intermediate riders in good physical condition (the overall route adds up to 16,400 feet of climbing). According to some first person accounts of trips, physical conditioning, stamina and resistance to cold and pain are more helpful than riding ability. Advanced technical single track is found near the huts for the more experienced cyclist. San Juan Hut Systems does not allow vehicle support while using the huts. The Durango to Moab route is for an upper intermediate to advanced rider. The route climbs 26,400 vertical feet and route finding is more difficult.
Back Woods Savvy
Although the riding is not technically difficult, routes are remote and there are no tour guides to fix your dinner and hold your hand. You should possess basic bike maintenance and repair skills, and carry tools. You should also possess basic first aid and survival skills. Early and late season cold and snow are common hazards along the way.
Each route has six wooden huts equipped with eight padded bunks, propane cook stove, propane light, wood stove, firewood and necessary kitchen facilities. Huts hold eight people per night. Except for day four, on the Telluride trip, forget about hot showers, although you can use the streams and lakes along the way for rinsing and swimming.
Huts are fully stocked with food, drinking water and sleeping bags. Food supplies are replenished every other day.
Depending on which tour service you choose, you can expect to pay around $500 to $900 for a week-long trip.
Check out www.sanjuanhuts.com/bike.html and other services for the official scoop.
back to the top
Busted old bike turns out to be a rare find
by Henry Meudt
Our choirmaster, Tom Parker and his roommate Howard lived in Manhattan and loved antiques. Howard happened on this old bicycle in a shop in Manhattan and actually bought it to ride. At some point, while Howard was riding the bike, the leather strap that held the suspended saddle (the reason for the frame design) broke and caused the frame member supporting the rear of the seat to fold back under the weight and fracture. Sometime before a way was found to repair it, Howard died of a heart attack.
Shortly after, Mr. Parker, knowing my interest in mechanical things, offered to sell me the broken bike for $100. I bought it and brought it home to my basement, much to the concern of my dear wife, Ginny.
I had no idea what it was but that Christmas, 1972, my cousin, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health, visited and viewed it with great interest.
He also didn't know what it was but three months later, called to tell me to buy the current issue of the Scientific American magazine, March 1973, because my bicycle was in it.
It was a great article on the history and efficiency of the bicycle and among the pictures, was one of a Dursley Pedersen with the caption that it was a high-end bike of unique design that had achieved some success in the late 1890's. Wow! Now at last I knew what it was, but so what? I was raising a family, had many challenges to deal with and the bike sat there, with two wood dowels inserted in the broken frame tubes to keep them in place. In 1979 Ginny died from juvenile diabetes at the age of 36. As a single parent with two children on my hands, life became too busy for any projects. In 1981 I had the opportunity to transfer with IBM to Boca Raton and start a new life. The bike followed and languished in the garage, with little interest for eight more years.
Then my son, Tom, graduated from Embry-Riddle as an aircraft mechanic and moved to Atlanta to work for Delta. His last act in packing for the move was to throw the bicycle in with his other belongings with the comment, “You'll never get to this project.” It then languished in his garage for another 14 years ’til one day I happened to do a computer search on Google for Dursley Pedersen.
Oh my gosh! There was the most marvelous web site (www.dursley-pedersen.net) with all the history along with a picture of a beautiful, restored 1905 model shown at Sotheby's Auction in London for $8,000 to $10,000. I was finally motivated.
After this revelation, when Tom asked what I wanted for Christmas, I said how about restoring that old bike. Tom, now a machinist with Delta, has a real talent for mechanical restorations. Last December he showed up with it expertly restored as my Christmas present. I was ecstatic as I could see the quality work that he put into it, even to adding the calcium carbide headlamp.
The Web site, (which you must check out), showed many great pictures and details that enabled a faithful restoration. Actually, the bike was virtually complete with only the pedals not original and leather items needing replacement. During restoration, the serial number was discovered identifying the year of manufacture as 1904. I now proudly enjoy riding this unique “head turning” machine.
Born in Denmark in 1855, Mikael Pedersen was an individual who possessed a rare mix of creativity, imagination, ability and drive, and his understanding of mechanics combined with his technical skills enabled him to bring his numerous ideas into reality. The safety bicycle of the day mounted the seat atop a post, just like all the bikes of today. Mikael found this uncomfortable and invented what he considered a better design, his unique hammock saddle, that followed the movements of the body and the bicycle.
Built like a bridge
This hammock saddle, originally woven out of silk cords, required a quite different frame design. The frame he designed was fully triangulated with all members having compression stress only, like the so called Whipple-Murphy truss design used for railway bridges in that time. Thus the frame could be built of very thin tubing, making the whole bicycle incredibly light while very strong compared to contemporary bicycles. He was granted a patent on his bicycle design in 1894 and production began in 1897.
As the bicycle began to win races and set numerous records, the cycling press took notice. Pedersen even built a super-lightweight racing machine, using extremely thin-walled tubing and 24 inch wooden rims, and drilling all components to save weight. This bicycle still exists and reportedly weighs only 11 pounds!
Sales of the Dursley Pedersen bicycle continued to increase and at the peak, the company employed as many as 50 people producing more than 30 cycles per week. The company produced tandems, triplets, and quads, and a folding version. The lack of adjustability meant that eight different frame sizes were offered, and frames were either enamel coated in a choice of colors, or nickel-plated. Pedersen continued to incorporate improvements into production cycles, adding such things as a ball bearing headset, and adjustable handlebars.
The 1904 offered Pedersen's patented design for a 3-speed hub gear, based on the countershaft principle. My 1904 bike just happens to have this hub and this winter I intend to carefully disassemble and restore it. Coincidentally, what became known as the Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub, with its more reliable planetary gear design came out the same year. The popularity of the Dursley Pedersen rose and in 1909, 10,000 bicycles were sold. It is assumed that a total of 30,000 Dursley Pedersen bikes were made but very few originals exist today.
I refer to my bike as a “fugitive from a museum.” Factory production of the Dursley Pedersen stopped in 1917 but the design continued to be produced in London by others for several more years. Mr. Pedersen continued his involvement in other areas and remained a prolific inventor. His name is associated with, among other things, magneto design, accurate measurement gauges and munitions. He was an accomplished musician who built his own instruments, brewed his own beer, and loved practical jokes, but by 1920 his creative abilities had begun to suffer and he moved back to Denmark. He died in a senior citizen's community in Copenhagen in 1929.
In 1978, there remained only two original Dursley Pedersens in Denmark when Jesper Sølling re-discovered the Pedersen design, and began building modern bicycles with the same frame design. In addition to Sølling's Copenhagen Petersen, two other companies also now produce the Kemper and the Cheltenham Pedersen, all beautiful reproductions with up-to-date hardware. There is a very large Pedersen owners club in Europe that holds an annual tour in Germany every year.
I met the organizer on my visit to Germany last year when he came riding into town on his Kemper Pedersen. After more than a century, Pedersen's design continues to be an example of unique craftsmanship in a world of mass-produced convention. Pedersen bicycles are a link to the past, when cycling brought independence and freedom of movement, when quality was apparent, when details mattered, when style was beautiful.
back to the top
Bicycling and Boy Scouts
by Will Willis, with Lyndy Moore
AT 14 YEARS OF AGE, I have two main interests in my life: bicycling and Boy Scouts; I call them my “2 Bs.” My older brother, Arthur, has been a catalyst for me in both these areas.
Let's start with Boy Scouts because I've been in scouts since I was six and in first grade. When I joined Tiger Cubs there was no doubt that I would continue with scouting. I knew I'd be a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout because as I was starting my scouting trail my brother, who is 10 years older, was completing his scouting trail by earning Eagle Scout. I have advanced through the ranks of scouting to Life Scout which is the last rank before Eagle. I am three merit badges and a project from achieving this highest rank in Boy Scouts.
As you might have guessed, I have the cycling merit badge. I'm working on ideas for my Eagle Service Project where I can incorporate a benefit to central Florida cyclists. My cycling also started because of my brother. When I was nine I discovered an old racing bike my brother had when he was 10. My dad told me about some triathlons and an MS 150 that he and Arthur had done together. I asked my dad if I could ride the bike and I got the answer that started it all.
"You know,” Dad said, “Arthur was 10 when we did the MS150 ride. Let's start training so you and I can do one when you are 10."
150 sounded like a lot of miles, but we got a flier for the September 2001 MS150, from Zellwood to Daytona. The flier mentioned a water park in Daytona. At nine, I was willing to do anything to get to go to a water park. My first few training rides were on our neighborhood roads (some were long hard 5 mile rides at 11 miles an hour). In the months leading up to the MS 150 we trained one day during the week and on Saturdays and Sundays. We collected pledges. We made plans for 150 miles of riding in two days. Unfortunately for most of the riders, the first day was rainy, cold, and windy, but it was a great adventure for a 10-year-old, even if it was hard work.
I met so many nice people on the ride. These first bicycling friends not only encouraged me to keep riding to Daytona and back but suggested I continue training and riding. They said there was a race in Dade City in about three weeks. Dad and I went; I raced; I was hooked.
My cycling has now progressed to the point where I ride 5 times a week averaging 175 to 250 miles a week. I have an Orlando Road Club team coach who provides me with a training plan and rides with me and the other ORC Junior riders several times a week. I have raced the majority of the Florida Point Series races the past three years as well as some out of state races. This year I will compete in most of the FPS races in my age group and as a category racer. I hope to attend the Southeast Regional Cycling Camp and participate in several major races in the northeast and southeast United States. In the last four years, I have learned a lot about road bikes and racing. Much of my and my family's time, have been spent in ways that some how involve a bicycle.
Some of the highlights of my cycling career include
- Five MS 150 mile bike rides
- Raised $10,000.00+ in donations
- MS Tour of Champions in Nashville
- Orlando Road Club member
- Jr. National Cycling Championship, Park City Utah
- State Time Trial Champion 13-14 year old
- Second in the state in 2004
- Third in the state in 2005
- Orange, Seminole, Osceola Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, (BPAC)
My brother now rides horses instead of bicycles, but I'm a bicyclist through and through. I love everything to do with road bikes and racing. At 14, I feel I have a wonderful life. I'm home schooled which allows me to incorporate my Boy Scout work and bicycling into my school work. I look forward to becoming an Eagle Scout. Of course, I'd love to become a world class cyclist. Eventually, I hope to own my own bicycle shop.
back to the top
‘Fearless’ Mr. T.
by Raphael Clemente
OF ALL THE THINGS CYCLING has brought into my life, I value most the relationships.
A special bond develops when people ride bicycles together. I'm not sure if it's sharing in the effort of a rolling paceline, the universally understood joy of near flight, or simply something that happens when people participate in a common activity. Whatever it is, many I have come to know through cycling are exceptionally kind, generous, good spirited folks. At the top of the heap stands Mike Tague.
Mike is the kind of guy you meet for the first time and walk away scratching your head. To define him would be difficult. Bicycle racer, musician, master mechanic, father, mentor, event organizer, advocate. If I had to choose one word it would be fearless. Mike lives his life with complete, unfiltered honesty to himself and everyone else. Right now Mike is undergoing chemotherapy to fight non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He lies in bed while his body gets blasted to pieces by chemicals so toxic that the bag they come in warns medical personnel to wear gloves when handling them. We've all know about the painful results of cancer treatment. Lance Armstrong brought awareness of this struggle into the brightest of spotlights after his battle with cancer.
Yearly, thousands of people ride, run, walk and swim to raise money for cancer treatment and research. Many of them are survivors. Many of them lost a loved one to cancer. Mike did his part to help victims of cancer over the past 5 or 6 years working with Cyclefest, the state's biggest cycling event.
In that time, Cyclefest raised nearly $3 million for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He’s "paid it forward," to steal a phrase.
Each month Mike went to Cyclefest board meetings, and each year he'd be at the event in his work boots, jeans and gloves, slinging steel crowd barricades, tying snow fencing to parking meters and picking up trash. Somewhere in there he'd change into cycling gear and line up to race—and race well!
When 2005 rolled around Cyclefest had all but collapsed. Mike stood up and took the lead to organize the event, overcoming plenty of obstacles to put on a great race in a new venue. Considering the challenges the event faced, it was an overwhelming success. A few weeks after the race Mike started to feel ill. When things didn't get any better he went to the hospital. After several tests a biopsy was done on a lymph gland. No one expected the news.
Knowing Mike, this will be a bump in the road and he will continue on with his remarkable, unusual, and richly textured life. He'll probably write a song or two about it. Most definitely he will use this experience to help others. You see, this is Mike's strong suit—his incredible ability to care about people.
Whether it's the 90-something neighbor, or the teenager with the alcoholic single mom, Mike does not hesitate to make the effort to do something meaningful for those in need.
Lance hit the nail on the head when he said it's not about the bike. Indeed, it is about the people on the bikes, the friendships, the shared experiences.
A group in West Palm Beach will be putting on a fundraiser to help offset some of Mike's astronomical medical bills. That's what friends do; share the load and stick our noses in the wind at the front of the paceline to help each other get down the road. We all know the great health and environmental benefits of riding our bicycles. But if we stop and think about it, the greatest benefit of all is the opportunity that cycling provides us to meet people, make friends, and share ourselves with them. Mike is one of the people leading the way.
To check out Mike's music, visit www.uponthehillrecords.com
back to the top