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Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 in FBA | 0 comments

An unexpected cycling buddy

The following is an update to our May 25, 2016, Educate your Delegate blog:

Yesterday I met Jake Schmidt, Legislative Aide to Representative James Grant, District 64.  My district.  We met at the offices in Tampa off of Dale Mabry.  Our home turf.  Jake was very receptive to the email sent back in May asking for legislative help, stating that he too is a cyclist.  Our meeting lasted two hours.  We talked about bicycle laws and support for a Vulnerable Road User bill.  I presented our Complete Streets Savvy program slide by slide with candid discussion and insight.

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A mini Complete Streets Savvy summit with mini table of goodies

The meeting opened, however, with Jake explaining his cycling experience.  This is the real story.  Jake rode a bicycle cross-country by himself, self-contained, on a bike he bought off of Craigslist.  That’s right.  This young man, after serving in the Navy, decided to ride a bicycle across the country.  He used the southern route from Adventure Cycling Association and rode from St. Augustine to San Diego.  Yeah, that opening caught my attention and I insisted he tell the story.  I also insisted that he send photos because I wanted to make a blog of it.  Guess what?  He did!

Today we welcome guest blogger Jake Schmidt, Legislative Aide to Representative James Grant, District 64:

Here are some pictures from my 2012 transcontinental ride. They’re not in order but I started in St. Augustine, Fl on May 28th and made it to San Diego, Ca on July 10th.

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Fresh start in St. Augustine with bicycle bought off of Craigslist.

It took me 44 days total but 35 days of actual riding. The trip was approximately 2,900 miles. I averaged about 10 mph and about 80 miles a day. The farthest I traveled in one day was about 130 miles and the least was 20 miles.

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With the exception of Gainesville, El Paso, Phoenix, Tallahassee and Houston I camped every night.

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I had somewhere around 11 blown tubes and I went through 3 tires. The hottest day was 113 degrees and the longest distance traveled between towns was 70 miles, which was in west Texas.

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I rode solo and did not utilize any support vehicles. It was an amazing journey and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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Someday I want to ride from the Canadian border to the Mexican border along the West Coast.

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Pacific Ocean finish

One email asking a Florida legislator for help and I feel as though I met a friend.  A cycling buddy.  Although Jake admitted he has not ridden his bike much lately and that it needs some repairs, he was inspired after our meeting to get it fixed.  He wants to participate in a triathlon.  He recently moved to Tampa from St. Petersburg so I sent him local bicycle shop information and areas to ride.  I offered a guided tour of the Oldsmar Trail for him and his wife or even Representative Grant.  There’s talk of forming a trail ride with other local elected officials.  Make the ask, it may surprise you.

I believe Jake to be the first legislative aide to see our CSS program, the very audience for which it was intended.  I also believe Jake to be our first legislative aide guest blogger.  Thank you for sharing your story, Jake.  Happy Cycling!

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Jake’s office in Tampa

 

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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!

Rejjee, Inc., the smart way to manage all of your valuables, has been selected by the Florida Bicycle Association to be their official bicycle registry to help reduce bike theft and increase recovery of stolen bikes.  Register your ride for FREE at SAFE Bikes – use code FLBikes and Rejjee will donate $3 to Florida Bicycle Association!

Complete Streets Savvy, or CSS, is a general bicycle educational presentation.  The purpose is to provide basic information with regards to the Florida Department of Transportation’s adoption of Complete Streets policy and how cyclists and motorists can share the road safely. This presentation runs 10 – 15 minutes and is designed for legislators, civic organizations and other entities that meet regularly and need informative content.  There is no fee.  Make your request for CSS today!

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