Florida Bike Month Positive Spin #1
Welcome March! Welcome Florida Bike Month!
As a special treat to honor the first day of Florida Bike Month, we offer a true positive spin story from Port St. Lucie. The following comes to us from today’s guest blogger, Patrick “Paddy” McCallister, St. Lucie Transportation Planning Organization Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee member:
About three weeks ago there was no such thing as the upcoming Port St. Lucie Florida Bicycle Month Community Ride with special guest Mayor Greg Oravec—Saturday, March 5. For months I’d been using my position as a journalist to needle at the mayor to ride with me. I give area elected and law-enforcement officials a bunch of cycling advocacy whenever I can, and I’m not scared to do it when I’m wearing my press badge. A few have agreed to rides.
In early February, I also asked Mayor Oravec to issue a proclamation at a City Council meeting making March Bicycle Month in Port St. Lucie to coincide with the governor’s annual proclamation making it Bicycle Month in Florida. The Mayor agreed—it was issued at the council’s Feb. 22 regular meeting—and suggested that we ride in March to celebrate the proclamation. I think he just wanted to get me off his back. I agreed, March it was. We talked about times and routes through emails, and I eventually suggested that we ride on a Saturday morning with a local bike shop’s weekly ride. The Mayor liked the idea.
I called the bike shop’s owner, Louis Patterelli, and told him that the Mayor was going to join us. In other words, riders were going to have to slow the spin for a week. Patterelli thought it’d be a good idea to get the word out in the cycling community, so riders could show to thank Mayor Oravec. Before long, the idea was getting bigger and soon we were coordinating with the city to move it from Sprockets bike shop a few doors down to city hall.
Then I thought to invite the other great bike shop in town, Cycle Werks, to participate and advertise the growing event. Additionally, I asked the county’s Transportation Planning Organization to set up a kiosk with safety tips and helmets. The TPO agreed. It then became obvious that we’d need a shorter route for novice and young riders, along with police escort for part of a community ride, so the bike shops and I created a three-route ride everyone could join in and enjoy. Folks at city hall have been very helpful and we’ll have signs and a police escort.
I’m amazed that within a few weeks, my ride with Mayor Oravec has become a full-fledged community event with support from the bike shops, city and the county’s TPO. Mayor Oravec doesn’t know it yet, but he’s been elected to participate in an annual bike ride for the remainder of his time in office.
There’s still time to list your Florida Bike Month event! Click here to fill out the form.
Congratulations to our 2015 Florida Bicycle Association Annual Award recipients! Click here to see the list.
Do you have a bicycle story to tell? Photos to share? Be our guest and be our next guest blogger! Send your story and photos to Becky@floridabicycle.org. Speaking of stories, our quarterly Messenger newsletter is available online for your internet reading pleasure. Visit the FBA website Home page or click here. Want a hard copy of our Messenger? Join Florida Bicycle Association or visit one of our bicycle shop members!