Friday, October 28, 2011

Freewheeling Art & Antique Bike Ride @ Phoenix Glass

The Freewheeling Art & Antique Bike Ride is put on by Susan Gott of Phoenix Glass Studios [Link].. She specializes in sculptural glass. Her studio makes everything from small glass curios to large blown and cast glass pieces, some going well over seven feet tall. The ride started out of and ended at the Phoenix Studio, with about 25+ riders of all ages and abilities. This was a social ride, not a race. Thankfully, we were provided with two courteous TPD bike officers with the same first name to stop traffic and help keep the group in line, literally.

We were led by the best publicist Seminole Heights is likely to ever have, and excellent bike ride leader and general expert bikie/cycling advocate Alan Snel, of Bicycle Energy. His pictures and account of the ride are here [Link] .

 I took my single-speed, and arrived just in time to sign in and start the ride. We glided through the tree-lined streets of Seminole Heights, past beautiful bungalows, and people having coffee on their porches, doing yard work, etc., all of whom smiled and waved. The Bike policemen deftly helped us cross streets and deal with car traffic. We soon found ourselves at Kaleidoscope, a well-appointed store at 6415 N. Florida Ave. [Link] . It's not Ikea! Rooms, dense with antiques and cool decorative items beckon one to slow, thorough exploration.

A short ride and we were at Debra Vallejo's of D&D hosted us with goodies. Her shop is full of paintings and furnishings for the home.

Next we stopped at Charlie Parkhill's  home/gallery and enjoyed his beautiful art, expertly crafted wooden sculptures worked into any imaginable form. He graciously had cold water bottles and great muffins spread out for us. Charlie can be reached at 407.330.6534

We then met Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn at a roadside intercept stop. He was on his way to a roach coach event, but made time for us, was funny, pro-bike and took his picture with us.

After some meandering, including a couple of streets that had slight inclines (with a single-speed one feels this more), we came to Sherry's Yesterdaze, a chic retro dress and other goodies store. I eyeballed a '60 Ford Fairlane model (I used to own a full-size version), and ended up sorting through boxes of old photos, and bought a few along with some postcards. 5207 N. Florida Ave.

We crossed the street and rode into the Tempus Projects where we were greeted by Tracy Midulla Reller and Noelle Mason. The latter had finished installing a show which is reviewed directly below this post. We got a sneak preview. That show had a soft opening that night (I was there) and will have a closing reception on November 4th this week.

Soon we found ourselves back at Susan Gott's Phoenix Glass Studio, where plenty of cold water, drinks and a spread of sandwiches, cookies, and other treats awaited us. A glass-blowing workshop took place that afternoon, and people made their own Halloween pumpkins.

Congratulations to all the riders, Alan Snel, the two TPD officers, the shop owners and Susan Gott and her able phoenix glass staff for a very well planned and executed ultra-fun ride.

--- Luis

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