More than 60 bicycle riders, sporting helmets and smiles–along with neon orange t-shirts with the slogan “One Less Car”–pedaled together along the streets of Winter Park on March 12 as part of the city’s first official Bike to Work Day.
Professors from Rollins College, students from Valencia College, and employees from Bonnier Corporation, the Winter Park Public Library, Keller Williams and many more joined together for a scenic 5-mile ride through neighborhoods in Winter Park
It was, according to Jill Hamilton Buss, Executive Director of Healthy Central Florida, and one of the event organizers, a huge success. And it is destined to become an annual community event.
After the ride, the bicyclists headed for a Healthy, Happy Hour at Boca Restaurant on north Park Avenue where they got a chance to meet and mingle and share thoughts about the event.
David Erne, chairman of the Winter Park Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Board and Business Manager at Bonnier Corp., recruited co-workers to join in the ride, and said they all “had a blast” and wanted to know when they could ride together again. “We will definitely be organizing another group social ride in the very near future,” he said, adding “there is definitely pent up demand for a regular social ride.”
“For me it was very exciting to see all those bicycles on Park Ave in downtown Winter Park, and to know that 90% of those folks wouldn’t have ridden their bike to work if not for our event, he added. “Big events like this can be the trigger that gets people to try something new.”
Like other participants, he’s already looking forward to next year’s Bike to Work event in Winter Park, and he said he hopes it will become “more of a company-wide event, much like the corporate 5K where we field a pretty large team each year.
“An official corporate challenge will probably be another component we consider adding to next year’s event, where we have recognition for area companies that have participants,” he added.
“Bike to Work Day did exactly what we had hoped – it helped many people see that biking is easy, fun and frankly a quick way to get around Winter Park,” said Hamilton Buss. “I had several people tell me that they had no idea they could get from home to downtown in 15 minutes – about what it would take to drive. It was so successful that we’re already thinking about how to make next year even bigger.”
The event was supported by the City of Winter Park and the Winter Park Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee along with Healthy Central Florida (HCF) and Boca. It also was generously supported by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and Park Avenue Merchants Association.
Click here to view photos from the event.