October 2020 – A new pro-bicycle movement called All Love Rideout is taking the Tampa Bay area by storm. Love, health, and community are the group’s primary values as they encourage new riders, youth, women, and people from all walks of life to take the streets together on bikes.
Ron Henry, Sr. nearly lost his life earlier this year, but he recovered from surgery so well that only a few months later he was back on his bike. When his friends and family saw him riding on Facebook Live with his wife Tamiko, they sent hearts and words of love to him with a special request – when’s the next bike ride, and can they join? Ron suggested a date and location, and the first ride happened successfully on June 28, 2020.
The group’s big rides bring out an estimated 300 people one Sunday a month, with smaller rides of five to 50 happening almost daily. The big rides are complete with a neon-splashed event flyer, free fruit and water, and a bus with space for ten bikes following close behind for people who get injured or struggle to keep up. Bicyclists show off their bikes and their tricks, popping wheelies and admiring each other’s custom paint wraps. Most just come out to experience how freeing and uplifting it feels to swarm Tampa’s downtown city streets in the open air, side by side with their community.
Ron’s tragedy motivated the movement, but he has a dedicated team of bicycle-enthusiasts working alongside him. Robert Bailey inspired the name and the 813 Pedal Pushers, the 727 Looptail Riders and 407 Pedal Pushers assisted with the group rides. Sean Bell, Sr. does bicycle repair, Jeff Marcus drives the bus, Charmaine James and Tamiko Barton Henry pass out fruit and water, and Flip Wilson handles outreach. Ron and Sean monitor the Facebook Page and Group where they encourage bike riders to post pictures of their bikes and ride progress.
Ron and Sean have been bicycling since they were kids, taking long rides from their homes in Palm River and Progress Village to visit friends in Tampa. However, the two want the world to know that All Love Rideout is about more than just bikes; it’s about the mental and physical wellbeing of people who have been historically underserved. Sean explained that he wants to see more people turning to bike-riding for stress relief instead of getting into trouble.
Big things are in the works for All Love Rideout. A glowing neon night ride is on the horizon to give riders the opportunity to show off their night lights. If you are interested in learning more about All Love Rideout, find the page on Facebook at All Love Rideout 2020 or request to join the Facebook group of the same name. Rides could always use donations of water, food and bicycle gear like lights. You can reach Sean Bell, Sr. at 813.562.4233 or Ron Henry, Sr. at 813.731.0805 to make a donation. If you want to participate all you have got to do is remember – it’s all love!
Ron and Sean attended the October 14, 2020 MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee and provided the group an overview of All Love Rideout. The MPO is committed to people using active transportation for good health and recently passed the resolution supporting racial justice. If you would like to be involved with engaging underserved communities in transportation planning decisions, please contact Dayna Lazarus at 813.582.7383.