Messenger Archive: Spring 2005

Welcome to Waldo

After seven years in the Orlando area, FBA’s headquarters
in June will move to Waldo, Florida, 13 miles northeast of Gainesville.
“Why?” you ask? Well, why not? With board members advisory board and staff scattered across the state, FBA does much of its business electronically; Executive Director Laura Hallam is frequently on the road to events and meetings from Key West to Pensacola. A headquarters removed from the metro Orlando area will function just as effectively. Besides, that’s where the E.D. is moving, so the head office will follow.

Along the route of Florida's Bellamy Road once lay a plantation village named Bellamy Station. Now called Waldo, it's one of Alachua County's oldest towns, founded in 1820.

A one time thriving railroad center, Waldo was named for Dr. Benjamin Waldo of Ocala, a physician and friend of the railroad's founder. The town's train depot through the years saw civil war troops, new settlers looking for good soil and a mild climate and tourists looking for a winter playground. All of this could be found in Waldo in the late 19th century.

Waldo in its glory days boasted several resort hotels, two theaters and an opera house. The railroad brought people from all around the country to a land that was excellent for hunting, fishing and boating. Land investors built homes and helped Waldo's population to become prosperous and diversified.

The town had a number of thriving businesses: an ice factory and cold storage plant, a grist mill, a cotton gin, a saw mill, a wagon factory and a broom manufacturer. It was even the home of El Toney cigar factory, a large employer of the community during its operation. Some of the original buildings remain today.

Construction of the Santa Fe Canal connecting the town to Melrose through Lake Alto and Lake Santa Fe helped Waldo become a major shipping point for local citrus and other agricultural products. The canal helped carry oranges and other fruits, vegetables, turpentine and passengers to and from Waldo to Melrose. But a series of disastrous freezes in 1899 wreaked havoc on Waldo's horticultural assets. When two inches of snow covered the ground and the freezing temperatures lasted for four straight days, Waldo's reputation for a mild climate for farming and leisure was soon lost.

The depression that began in Florida in the late 1920s and the decision to move railroad operations out of town struck a near fatal blow to an already suffering economy. The number of people who could support themselves or the town dwindled and many homes and businesses were abandoned and fell into disrepair.
War time economic growth in the 1940s revived the town after the Army built a training base in nearby Starke.

Today the old red caboose on display in the city park is a vivid reminder of Waldo's past. A symbol of the town's rich history, it serves as a reminder that Waldo remains a great place to live and to raise a family. Waldo offers newcomers the charm of a small town with the benefit of living in Alachua County with its numerous resources and advantages. The heritage of Waldo can now be found in its residents, where the spirit of the railroad and all the good things that came with it, is not forgotten.

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May is Bike Month

by Fred Mays

The first Bike Month was declared by Julius Caesar in May, 45 B.C. The proclamation was greeted by citizens throughout the realm with the cry...

"WHAT’S A BICYCLE?" Of course they said it in Latin.

Things went downhill for old Caesar from that point on, and a few months later a group of confused senators, unable to pass the first ISTEA funds, part of the inter-empire roadway act, revolted and bludgeoned Caesar with air pumps and stabbed him with tire levers. Obviously Bike Month got off to an ominous start. But now, more than 2,000 years later, Bike Month has changed.

Now we know what a bicycle is, but for the great masses of the empire, the month goes largely unnoticed. For a great many of us, every month is bike month. We are the devotees who ride in all kinds of weather, at any time of the year ( A friend and I even rode during a hurricane last fall. We were...ah….crazy.). But remember, we are also the minority. The vast majority of bike owners’ bikes sit in the garage, gathering dust, tires losing air, chains getting rusty. The only daylight these bikes see is whatever filters in when the garage door is opened to let the cars in or out.

May is a great time to change that. May is a great time to become an advocate for the sport we love. May is a great time to encourage your friends and neighbors to dig that old bike out of the garage, clean it up, pump air into the tires and go for a spin. If you get just one person out on their bike one time to ride to work, or ride on an errand, or ride around the neighborhood, you have succeeded in the true meaning of Bike Month.

How do we go about getting people on their bikes? Cycling is healthy, environmentally friendly, economical and just plain fun. Pick one as your message.
Convince one person to bike to work at least once during Bicycle Month, or use their bike to run an errand. Or just ride around the neighborhood with the family. Enjoy the fresh air experience and closer contact with the community.

Cycling is healthy. You burn approximately 40 calories for every mile you ride. A 10-mile ride is a free lunch. A 50-mile ride is equal to the Atkins and South Beach diets combined. Cycling is good for your cardiovascular system. Lower your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol level, grow hair on your bald head. OK, maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch. But who knows? On a bike anything is possible.

Cycling is environmentally friendly. Using your bike means less carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and hydrocarbons being pumped into the atmosphere.
Use it often enough and you’ll come to appreciate the savings at the gas pump.

Bike Month is our call to arms. Bike Month is the time to become an activist for the hobby we enjoy so much. Bike Month isn't just for us, the rabid riders and FBA members. Bike Month is for everyone, even Brutus. "Eh Tu Bruti?" Loosely translated that means "Wear Your Helmet."

Ride On!

In his more lucid moments, Fred Mays is coordinator of Bicycle-Pedestrian Education Outreach for Metroplan Orlando.

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Executive Director's report...
So much to do that time just flies

by Laura Hallam

Time flies when you're having fun. Judging by all the FBA action this past quarter, the fun is flying fast and furious(ly).

Bicycle safety workshops including Road 1, Safe Cycling for Adults, Bike Rodeos, League Cycling Instructor (LCI), plus numerous presentations were held in Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, The Villages, Bonita Springs, Altamonte Springs, Sanford, Oviedo, and most recently during Bike Florida (Rolling Road 1). A Road 1 for Professionals workshop was also held preceding the Pro Bike® Pro Walk Florida conference to educate engineers, planners, designers and law enforcement. All and all, over 100 adults and too many children to count were educated during the first quarter alone. As a result of the LCI class in February, Florida has 21 new League Cycling Instructors (see page 12 for a complete list). If you, your organization/business or community is interested in hosting a bicycle safety workshop, contact the FBA office for details.


FBA and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society - Central and South Florida Chapters have teamed up to promote bicycle safety and handling skills to MS 150 Bike Tour participants. Bike safety materials were provided plus, three Safe Cycling for Adults workshops were held in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami prior to the South Florida event this year.Due to feedback received from participants attending the workshops, more classes will be offered throughout the year in preparation for future MS 150 bike tours and other events. FBA also offered guidance regarding routes and event management. The partnership has been a win-win relationship. Special thanks to South Florida ride director Cristina Vidal and Central Florida ride director Michael Cooper. I also had the pleasure of participating in both events this year and look forward to getting more involved with the North Florida Chapter. Thanks also go to FBA Board member, LCI and bicycle/pedestrian professional David Henderson and the three bike shop representatives for teaching and assisting with the South Florida workshops. Ultimately, the more informed you are about bicycle traffic laws, handling skills, and confidence gained through experience, the better bicyclist you will become.


Over and above the workshops and presentations, FBA was represented at several conferences to promote our new bicycle law enforcement videos (Understanding Bicycle Law Enforcement and Ride on By) and guides, Florida Bicycling Street Smarts booklet, Share the Road license plates, public awareness materials and event brochures to encourage more people to ride bikes. Popularity of both the Florida Law Enforcement Guide and Street Smarts demanded another reprint of both publications. Over 50,000 guides and 25,000 Street Smarts have been produced via Florida DOT safety grant and Share the Road license plate revenue to educate law enforcement and the general public about Florida's bicycle traffic laws and bike handling skills.


FBA was well represented at the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Summit March 16-18. This annual conference is a wonderful opportunity to help shape the future of bicycling throughout the nation.
Between the workshops, plenary sessions, a day on Capitol Hill to meet with our Members of Congress to promote the critical issues around the reauthorization of the federal transportation bill, and culminating with a Congressional Caucus bike ride around historic Washington, DC and the national monuments, it was another outstanding event.


Special thanks go to members of Team Florida: Bill Addler, Mindy Collier, Diane Flagg, Mike Greehan, David Henderson, Rich Housh, Henry Lawrence, Gary Mendenhall, and Tina Russo who did an outstanding job of managing 20 appointments with Florida's Members of Congress during our day on Capitol Hill.
Our goal was to meet with all 27 (two senators and 25 representatives), however we still managed to blanket Capitol Hill, along with representatives from all over the country with a unified message that bicycling is part of the solution to our nation's traffic congestion and public health challenges.
Following a busy day of appointments, we celebrated at a Congressional reception along with Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and bicycling champions Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jim Oberstar (D-MN)
On the final day of workshops, FBA presented, along with MassBike (Massachusetts advocacy organization) and the International Police Mountain Biking Association on a panel session titled "Enforcement: Ensuring Local Law Enforcement is on the Right Page."
FBA presented a condensed version (compliments of Seidler Productions) of our new bicycle law enforcement videos, as well as our ongoing commitment to educate law enforcement and help them to be a positive force in crash and injury reduction.


I had the pleasure of working with Bike Florida again on the 12th edition of Florida's biking and camping tour.
This year's loop route traveled throughout Florida's Central Panhandle: Monticello to Quincy to Blountstown to Apalachicola to Sopchoppy and back to Monticello.
They didn't call it "Red Hills to the Sea" Featuring Worm Gruntin' and Oyster Shuckin' for nothing. A challenging first three days of hilly terrain through nearby South Georgia (hence the "red" and "hills" reference) was a blast and delight by most since there were as many descents as ascents through very rural Florida including the Apalachicola National Forest before arriving in the oyster capital of the world — Apalachicola.
You'll have to visit Sopchoppy to figure out worm gruntin'. The Annual Worm Gruntin' Festival was held April 9 but take time now to visit this unspoiled Florida town Southeast of Tallahassee near the Gulf.
The other towns were great, too, which makes Bike Florida and other state bike tours so special.
Bike tours are a wonderful way to see a state at its best by avoiding busy interstates, highways and other traffic congestion. REAL tourism is explored at its finest.
Throughout the week Robert Seidler of Seidler Productions worked on a 30-min. program about realizing and recovering the sustainable green dollar with nature based activities.
Overnight town merchants and local residents were interviewed about their observations and perceptions of having the Bike Florida event in their town. Check your local PBS schedule for this program to be broadcast later this summer.
Nearly 1000 people of all ages and home states enjoyed a week of great riding, food, scenery and fun. Visit for more details and information about the 2006 edition.
Accolades to executive director Greg Wilson, assistant director Amanda Wilson (no relation) and the many, many volunteers and short-time staff that made the 12th edition such a success.


We have also been very busy planning and presenting Pro Bike® Pro Walk Florida featuring over 50 sessions, and keynote addresses by Dan Burden, Herb Hiller and national agency updates by Andy Clark, Bill Wilkinson and John Fegan. Special thanks to Program Director Lyndy Moore for making this event happen. Additional thanks go to the planning committee of Pat Pieratte, Dennis Scott, Mary Anne Koos and Peter Yauch.
If you didn't attend the inaugural edition of this event, make plans to do so in 2006. A summary of the event will be featured in the Summer Messenger but in the meantime, visit our dedicated Web site at for information about the 2005 event.


In case you didn't hear (thanks to Lyndy Moore and her wide range of communication) I recently celebrated my 50th birthday. No worries, since my mental age is still 21. I may need to stretch a little more before climbing on the bike or going out for a run, but otherwise I feel great.
I am blessed to be surrounded by wonderful friends and family, plus have a dream job. Thanks for your support and membership which helps keep me in this job.


And finally………….FBA Headquarters will be moving to "Where's Waldo" in June. The official headquarters has been in Orlando since FBA was incorporated in 1997, but since the executive director operates out of her home and since I've bought a cracker-style house near Waldo, the FBA headquarters is moving.
For the record, Waldo is only 13 miles Northeast of Gainesville; however, I'm proud to have a Waldo address.
Plus, Waldo has a Dollar General store, so what else do I need?
The transition should be painless since many services will remain in the Orlando area. The move will make Tallahassee trips a bit closer and South Florida trips a bit farther, but otherwise projects will go on as usual thanks to a terrific board of directors, advisory board and many wonderful volunteers, as well as Program Director Lyndy Moore, Membership Director Deb Devoe, Bike Shop/Club Liaison Debbie Punzak and Webmaster/Newsletter Editor Randy Williams.
Continued partnership efforts with Greg Wilson and the Bike Florida organization based in Gainesville will also be easier since both organizations promote the Share the Road campaign and license plate sales.
Come visit soon; however, don't forget that Waldo is the SPEED TRAP capitol of the nation.

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Modified tandem proved a perfect solution to adult-child cycling dilemma

by Robert Seidler

You can see them on any given sunny day: a frustrated parent begging a tired, cranky child to pedal their tiny bike just a little bit farther.

It’s a no-win situation. The parent less than a mile into what they thought would be a much longer outing, the child seeing bicycling with Mom or Dad as a no-fun experience. The bike trailer solution is adequate while the kids are very young. It’s less than ideal, however, when they are bike-riding age, bored with slouching in a trailer and should be exercising anyway. A tandem is an excellent alternative.

I started thinking of the options 18 years ago because I was ready for a change from pulling my daughter—and later my son—in a bike trailer. Today the kids are grown and the device I fabricated many years ago has been borrowed over and over. Upon its recent return, I decided a story was in order.

At first, I played with different tandem stoker kits offered by the major tandem makers. Unfortunately, they put children a mile from the ground and their instinctual security. That was not what I wanted. I wanted the child to be able to have the same experiences on the bike as I did. The child should be able to touch the ground, mount and dismount easily and enjoy a few creature comforts like variable hand positions and foot rests.

Eventually, I found a 1970s Jack Taylor tandem made for boys to ride in the front and girls in dresses in the back, no real top tube just an open space. Schwinn made a 5-speed like this for 30 years and they are still pretty easy to find. The Jack Taylor was bent and cheap, but it was also a classic with 650 B tires and wildly designed stock accessories.

Friends shouted, “Stop!” after I pulled it from a grave of bent metal tubing, “Don’t cut that bike up, you #$%*$*. Find a junker.” I did not find a junker so I cut up the Jack Taylor for my young daughter, Taylor, who at the time was 4 years old. I lowered the seat to child height by cutting out the top set of seat stays (both the Schwinn and the Taylor have four) and dropping the seat. I also retrofitted the cut out parts so you could make it a standard size again (the missing triangle has never been used—or found, for that matter—and the bike has stayed a lowboy/lowgirl).

I then removed the crank and built up the sides so I could drill holes through it so I could move the pedals up and down on the crank, adjusting for the child’s leg length. On the standard stoker kit a crank add-on bolts to the outside of the crank arms. This pushes a child’s legs wider apart than what I considered was normal. As a first-time Dad, I was paranoid about this and could only imagine my child being bowlegged for a lifetime.

My best idea was bolting a couple of motorcycle foot pegs on the downtube in a comfortable position as a rest for tired legs, or just relaxing fun.
I also spun the rear drop bars around and made them close to the rider for comfort. So I welded and drilled, cut and brazed, bolted and hoped.
In all, I spent about 75 bucks plus a few hundred for the bike. But the big questions still had to be answered. Would she ride? Would she last as long riding the tandem as in the trailer? Would she fall asleep and fall off?

Well, almost two decades after Taylor’s maiden voyage, no child has ever been injured on the bike. Both of my children rode thousands of miles on it and another pile of kids did the same. I never had a bad day on Jack with the kids. The strangest occurrence was when Elliot, my son, once saw a friend in his trail-side yard as we rode by and simply jumped off the bike without notice.

After the resulting boyball stopped tumbling I thought it necessary to explain that just jumping off could most likely lead to injuries one day (he was four at the time and I most likely spoke needlessly; he eventually earned the nickname, Boyzilla). Some of the fun came in speed and racing others, for example we kicked butt beating now Bike Florida’s Director Greg Wilson (kids love beating up on adults. Oh, Greg wasn’t an adult then, was he?)

My wife, Amy, did fall asleep on a long downhill once, but never the kids (I do not recommend downhill tandem sleeping).

Other good things come from riding a tandem. Taylor rode the tandem 6 months, then wanted to try her own bike. After 10 minutes and only one mouthful of dirt, she was on her own. That was cool since she had never before even tried to ride alone. The balance and coordination was learned behind me on the tandem.

Taylor also learned to read like a maniac on that wonderful bike (so long as she kept her balance, she could hold and read book after book while pedaling).
She and many of our friends’ children learned to ride with mentorship, comfort, and an easy reach to the ground that was just under their feet. I hope I never find that missing part that would take this bike from the kids’ world to the one of adults again. I hope my kids use it when their children are that age. It will be here, ready for action, waiting for the call of great healthy family fun.

I came up with a few other cycling solutions over the years, the very best may have been a bike trailer with car seat suspended in it for young children and fast downhills. Kids are used to car seats and they give great support. Just make sure they have a shield to protect them from flying objects and that no overprotective mothers are on the ride.

A few years ago Taylor and I rode RAGBRAI on a tandem. She had long outgrown the Jack Taylor but the books and conversation were the same and the pace much faster due to the awesome power of two longtime tandem riders. We traded leg burn back and forth for recovery and flew by single riders, exhilarating in a certain power undiscovered by others. No foot pegs or reversed bars were in evidence that week, but Jack was there in spirit.
I hope he lives a long, long life with many children. Maybe he too has found his youth and place in immortality.

In hindsight, refitting the Jack Taylor for a child to ride on the back was one of the best projects I ever conceived and executed.

Kids are kids and not little adults. They need frequent stops, things to do and plenty to eat and drink.

If you treat them correctly maybe you’ll get to ride behind them someday. And besides all the great function and fun it provided, it always led to good conversation.

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This Issue:


Bike Month

Director's report



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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.