Outspokin Bicycles Tampa preview event

March 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Ah, it’s been one of those weekends. I’ve had four fabulous events within a 48 hour period. Throw in at least twelve hours of debilitating hangover and you are left with very little time to blog about all of the fabulousness. I want to record it all for posterity and for your edification, but I’m going to go out of order because I want everyone to know NOW about the opening of Outspokin Bicycles newest store in south Tampa!

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You can stop by now as they are ready for business, but their Grand Opening celebration starts next weekend. As you can see above, they are going to have lots of great events and PRIZES, so stop by and check it out!

This morning a few of my blogger friends and I were treated to a little preview of the gorgeous new store in Tampa. The boys and I were up and at ‘em and somehow got three bikes loaded into the back of my micro mini-van.

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Over the Gandy Bridge we went and we were at the South Dale Mabry location in about twenty minutes.

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My friend Christie O. (of Average Moms Wear Capes) greeted us and took these family shots for us:

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This store is HUGE and beautiful. The bright, welcoming colors invite you in and make you want to hang out for a while.

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I was kind of mesmerized just by the beautifully stained concrete floors. Seriously, I had to comment on them to J.P., the head guru there just behind Cal’s head.

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I met Val and Stan, the owners of Outspokin Bicycles, and they were so nice. This is Val:

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She told us about how she really wanted the store to be especially welcoming and accessible to women.

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The women’s section of the store did not disappoint with tons of fashionable and functional gear and apparel especially designed for us.

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They also had a great kids’ section.

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Can you see those adorable kids’ singlets hanging up there above? Here’s a closer view:

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and one on my model:

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Probably my favorite part of the shop was the kids’ hang-out area:

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They have Netflix which kept my “big kids” happy, but they also have that little table and a bunch of toys to keep the little guys entertained. Genius. I also let Cal have a sample from the Keurig machine. Yes, I let my eleven year old have coffee occasionally. So sue me.

Of course the men are not left out. This store, a Giant retail partner, has it all.

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I was blown away by their Compu-Trainer room. They have six bike trainers set up in there (and plan to add two more), so you can bring your own bike and set it up on the trainer for a spin class.

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The trainers are all connected to a computer and you can train on any one of numerous famous courses.

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The computer will automatically adjust the resistance on ALL of the bikes to match the course. For example, ever considered doing the Iron Man Lake Placid? Come to Outspokin Tampa and ride the course beforehand.

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They also have this fabulous dynamic bike-fitting machine (sorry I don’t know the technical term), called a Retül Müve.

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With the help of a certified specialist, you get on the machine and they figure out the perfect set up for you ON the machine. Then, based on all of the settings and measurements on the machine, they can recommend the best brand and style of bike for you OR they can get the bike you already own set up to match those ideal settings as closely as possible. I am definitely going to be bringing Specialized Snowflake in to get a proper bike fitting, as I never really did that and I know it’s not set up in the best way for me.

Even the “behind the scenes” areas of this store are beautiful. Even the restrooms. Yes, I’m going to show you pictures of the restrooms because I think they are very important separating an OK bike shop from a fabulous one. Check out the exposed brick:

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Val hand-picked all of the fixtures.

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And remember I mentioned that she stayed focused on what would make WOMEN feel comfortable? A well-appointed restroom is one of those things.

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They also have two showers, one of which is wheelchair accessible.

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Check out the “employees only” full-service kitchen!

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Seriously guys, you know we’ve been looking at houses lately. These restrooms and this kitchen are much nicer than we’ve seen in many, many of the houses we’ve looked at. I think I could pretty happily live here. If we have to do any remodeling I may hire Val as my designer.

The bike techs seemed pretty happy in their workshop beyond the kitchen.

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In addition to learning all about the shop, this preview event was a little Tampa Bay Blogger meet-up and I was psyched to get to hang out with my friends.

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(On the far left is Denise, one of our ride guides for the day. Then the bloggers Jess of Cuban Running Crisis, me, Denise of RunDMT, and Christie of Average Moms Wear Capes)

You know that Jess and I have a special bond…

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after we spent 4 1/2 hours together doing 56+ miles for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Cycle for Life.

The boys, us bloggers, and our guides Kelby and Denise set off for a fun ride through south Tampa.

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We rode through some beautiful neighborhoods.

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Pretty soon we arrived at the waterfront on Bayshore Boulevard.

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It was a gorgeous morning with just a slight chill in the air but sunshine as far as the eye could see.

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We passed tons of walkers, joggers, and other cyclists.

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We stopped right at the end of Bayshore near the turn off to Davis Island.

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Our guides Denise and Kelby:

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The boys were getting tired and with their little BMX bikes, I wasn’t sure if they were up for tackling the bridges over to the island. So Kelby took the lady bloggers on for a spin around the island and Denise headed back to the store with the boys and me.

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Once we were back we enjoyed a great lunch of flatbreads and salads provided by Sea Dog Brewing Company.

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This barbecue and PICKLE pizza was the hit of the morning (photo courtesy of the lovely Christie O.):

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Thanks to all the sponsors of our blogger preview event this morning at Outspokin.

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And thank you so much to Outspokin Bicycles for having us! Mack thanked me multiple times for taking him this morning and Cal’s exact words were, “Mom, thanks for always taking us to such fun events.” We biked over seven miles and they had a blast. Thanks for including my kids!

Be sure to check out the grand opening of the new store this weekend. Also…

Like Outspokin Bicycles – Tampa on Facebook.
Follow Outspokin Bicycles on Twitter

Cya!

{Disclosure – Outspokin Bicycles provided us with welcoming smiles, a tour of the store, a great guided ride through south Tampa, and a goodie bag that I haven’t had a chance to look through yet. Sea Dogs Brewing Company provided us with lunch. All opinions are my own.}

The Urban Bike Adventure Tampa 2013

February 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Yesterday was super fun.

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I met up with my friends Nicole and Michelle…

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and we loaded up our bikes onto Nicole’s car and headed to Tampa for The Urban Bike Adventure.

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Aren’t the t-shirts awesome? The jerseys were super cute as well…

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but since they were $60 I was pretty happy with my black t-shirt.

The Urban Bike Adventure (TUBA) began at Pour House in the Channelside neighborhood of Tampa.

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It was a great place for a home base for this size of event. There were 30 teams, each with 2-4 people, so probably about 90 people total.  We got signed in, were given out t-shirts and numbers, and then hung out a little while as all the teams arrived and got signed in.

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Finally each team was given an envelope but told to not open it until they finally said, “Go!”

At which point we tore into our envelope and began reading the clues.

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The three of us didn’t know exactly what the day would entail other than biking, but we knew it was some sort of scavenger hunt around Tampa involving challenges and obstacles. Here’s what the paper said:

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We sat down at one of the patio tables and began going through all of the clues with the help of our smart phones and Mr. Google.

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We figured out all of the clues and narrowed them down to a street address for each one. Then we looked up all of the addresses and figured out which neighborhood they were in. We realized that there were a chunk of clues involving locations in Ybor City, a few downtown and near the Hillsborough River, a few in Hyde Park, then one in Channelside not far from the beginning location at Pour House. We quickly devised a strategy to hit up the neighborhoods in that order.

First up was Ybor City:

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The first location we headed to was actually #8 on the clue sheet:

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We actually off-roaded through a field at one point and then spotted a couple of other bikers at the monument we were looking for. We promised them, truthfully, that we were NOT following them.

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From there we hopped onto 7th Avenue which is the main drag in Ybor City and it was blocked off for pedestrian traffic due to one of their many festivals…I think somebody said it was the “Flan Festival” or something. 7th Avenue was totally congested with people so we biked carefully through the people…

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at one point stopping to try to get a photo with the three of us and a trolley, which was one of the tic-tac-toe squares.

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The next clue we solved was #4 on the list, finding a monument to the Rough Riders.

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I didn’t even realize until I was editing the photo below that there were trolleys behind us, so that first bad trolley photo was not even necessary (and we ended up not needing that square for tic-tac-toe anyway).

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Then we bid adieu to Ybor City…

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and started heading towards downtown.

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On the very outskirts of Ybor we found our next clue, which was #1 on the clue sheet:

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This mural was recently restored and is unbelievably vibrant and beautiful!

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We didn’t see other bikers there, but there were two nice young ladies there taking photos of the mural and they kindly took our picture.

Next we headed to our next destination, clue #5:

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That’s McFly – (McDonalds – TheDonald) + BAR = Fly Bar. Duh. In case you can’t tell in the photo below, we are “flying” at the Fly Bar because we are so cool.

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We also managed to knock off a couple of other clues at this stop thanks to some friendly random strangers.

Clue #2:

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Another tic-tac-toe square for clue #11 (conga line):

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Did you notice that all of the people, including the kids, in the above two photos are wearing race medals? Yesterday (Saturday) was day one of the Gasparilla Distance Classic. Saturday was the 15K and 5K and we saw people all over the city with their medals. Today (Sunday) was the 8K and half marathon…congrats to all of the finishers and especially to my IRunMommies friend Ali and Nikki who completed the 15K + 8K challenge!

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So, back to TUBA. Our next destination was on the Hillsborough River, so we had to navigate through downtown and then we rode past Curtis Hixon Park with the University of Tampa’s minarets visible in the background.

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Finally we made it to our next stop for clue # 6, MacDill Park:

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This was our first “challenge” stop, and foolishly Nicole and I picked up the ping-pong paddles while Michelle took photos.

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There were several other teams there trying to complete the challenge, and we could see that it was not easy. We had to bat the whiffle ping pong ball back and forth across the cones as we moved down the line…

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trying to finally get the ball into the cardboard box at the end…

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without letting it hit the ground.

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We had to start over about ten times. Finally…

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with the help of this face of determination…

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we managed to get it into the box (more quickly than some of the other teams who had arrived at that challenge before us).

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Then we were on to the next stop which was across the Hillsborough River.

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We spotted a guy with a tie on our way and knocked off another tic-tac-toe square for clue #11:

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The guy told us he was a celebrity and when we asked who he was he said, “The guy with the tie.” He was very nice and we told him to take his tie off and not talk to any other bikers (not really).

We were on our way to the Hyde Park neighborhood.

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Clue #10…

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which just happened to be CineBistro.

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We decided to make our “Shakespearean performance” be as the witches from Macbeth, stirring our cauldron.

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Being moms, we knew that we could find a swing set in the park at Hyde Park, so we headed there to complete tic-tac-toe for clue #11:

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From Hyde Park we headed to South Howard to look for what was formerly known as “Luna Park”…

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where we asked some kids to take our photo re-enacting the statue of the water dancing ladies.

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The other ladies look very graceful and I was really just trying not to fall into the fountain. I love our shadows!

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From Berns Park we turned a corner…

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and suddenly found ourselves on Bayshore Boulevard.

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I remarked to Michelle ahead of me that it was much more fun to bike down Bayshore than it was to run down Bayshore. I did the Gasparilla 15K last year, and it was so HOT and LONG running those five miles out then five miles back to downtown Tampa, almost all of it on Bayshore. There were many signs of the morning’s race along Bayshore.

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Back over the Hillsborough River, this time on a different bridge:

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We were headed to Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park which is right behind the Tampa Bay Times Forum on the riverfront. Last November I was at that park for the SWFBUD Bicycle Bash when the boys and I biked through downtown Tampa with mayor Bob Buckhorn, so I sort of knew where we were going.

Clue #9:

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I took photos while Nicole and Michelle tried to get a Frisbee to land inside a hula hoop.

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After only a couple of tries by both of them, Michelle made the winning toss:

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Then we were on to the final challenge back in Channelside.

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It was Nicole’s turn to be the photographer while I humiliated myself with a cup on my head and Michelle one again showed off her bulls-eye skills.

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From there we were just around the corner from the Pour House, where we checked in and found a cold beverage. Done!

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We were told that we were the sixth team to check in, and that there were 30 teams total. Not bad! We sat around for over an hour as all of the other teams trickled in, like Team Orange (or whatever their names were).

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We sat out on the patio for a while…

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until finally they called the course closed and gave out raffle prizes and awards. It turned out that we actually were the 5th place finishers as one of the teams that finished ahead of us hadn’t completed all of the clues and challenges. All of the top 10 teams were supposed to receive medals, but there was some mix up and they had received medals from some Hawaii race instead. We would have taken the Hawaiian medals, but they gave us “place holder” plastic medals to tide us over until they get the correct medals and can mail them to us.

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We were very proud of ourselves since we had no idea what we were doing and none of us really knew our way around Tampa all that well, being St. Petersburgers.

Nicole and I also both won a raffle prize of three free rides at Pura Cycling Studio in Wesley Chapel. That’s quite a haul from St. Pete, but I may try to get up there some time because I have friends who work there and who work out there (sometimes it does feel like I know everybody who is into fitness in Tampa Bay). It will be an adventure!

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It was a really great day with some awesome ladies. Nicole and Michelle, you guys made it so much fun. I felt like it was truly a team effort and I enjoyed every minute of it. We’re all going to do it again when The Urban Bike Adventure comes to St. Pete in November…we already registered as Team Wonder Wheels and signed Nikki up to be on our team as well. I can’t wait to do TUBA on our own turf! It’s super cheap to sign up now and will only get more expensive, so get signed up. I promise you will have a blast.

Cya.