Last night I had the pleasure of introducing myself to the Sumter Landing Bicycle Club as the interim executive director for FBA. I say that because two years ago, I introduced myself to the same club as the ride director of Bike Florida. You want to hear something really funny? Last night I was recognized more so as the “Coffee Lady” from BubbaFest, which is fine, I do enjoy a good cup of coffee as do the participants of BubbaFest.
Anyway, back to bicycling. I actually asked for the opportunity to be a guest speaker at the SLBC monthly membership meeting because this is a club that meets regularly and allows for guest speakers. Howie Johnson and president Dave Taylor have honored my two requests over the last two years to pitch Bike Florida and Florida Bicycle Association, to which I am very grateful. The “pitch” is simple enough, either it’s the next great bicycle tour from Bike Florida, or, now that I’m on the advocacy side with the Florida Bicycle Association, it’s about educational programs, working with law enforcement agencies to be allies of cyclists and how we can change the culture.
As I stated last night to the Sumter Landing Bicycle Club, all of us need to remember, no matter the means of transportation, that we are people, not cars, not bikes, but people. We need to respect each other and bring courtesy, not contempt, to the roadway, multi-use trails and pathways all of us share. Bicycling is many different things to many different people, but it is, without doubt, what all of us can enjoy. I can control my own behavior, therefore, courtesy starts with me. I’ve had good results with this policy here in Oldsmar.
The other ‘pitch’ of course, is the ‘ask’. The Florida Bicycle Association needs members. We need individual members, organization members, member bicycle clubs, business members and member bicycle shops to make our statewide advocacy organization strong and united, with numbers and members that can’t be ignored by those making the laws or by those enforcing them. This is what is happening now and we, FBA, will be ready when the Florida legislature reconvenes in 2015. Join us.
I look forward to more opportunities to speak before Sumter Landing and other bicycle clubs around the state. What I bring to the table when attending such occasions is, well, literally, a table.
Or at the very least, stuff to put on the table. Cool stuff. BIKE stuff!
Who can say NO to that?