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Summer (Bike) Fun: Valet Parking

Guest post from Christine Acosta, founder of Tampa Bike Valet

Summer heat and humidity come early in Tampa, Florida, but that doesn’t hinder cyclists’ passion for pedaling and fun in the sun.

Thanks to sponsorships from New Belgium Brewery and Smith Fence Company, Tampa Bike Valet was on deck to provide free and secure parking for bikes, and to encourage riding to the city’s inaugural RiverFest event.

With temperatures nearing 90 degrees, riders were thrilled to be greeted by uniformed valet staff and, as part of its commitment to always surprise and delight customers, valet attendants provided chilled lavender-scented washcloths during bike check-in.

RiverFest drew a crowd of 40,000 to celebrate Tampa’s newly completed Riverwalk, a 2.4-mile mixed-use trail connecting six parks, four museums, Straz Center for Performing Arts, Tampa Convention Center, and the Florida Aquarium. The festivities included concerts, a pop-up bar, a carnival and fireworks, but the main event was the Mayor’s Mac n’ Cheese Throwdown at Curtis Hixon Park. The park, situated at the center of Riverwalk, was the perfect venue for the comfort food competition and location for bike valet, with its eight acres and Great Lawn, it’s considered by city dwellers as their communal living room and gathering hub.

Tampa Bike Valet is gearing up to serve more events throughout the year and is cultivating new ideas to surprise and delight patrons — like discounts and incentives to visit some of the city’s newly certified bike-friendly businesses, and rain day plastic seat covers that read “Dry Derrière, You’re Welcome, courtesy of Tampa Bike Valet.”

Already, the six-month-old company has parked 756 bikes, averting 3,780 vehicle miles, saving its customers 158 gallons of fuel, reducing CO2 emissions in the community by 3,150 pounds, and enabling the healthy burn of 111,132 calories!

Is your organization engaged in bike valet? Tell us about it in the comments!

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