Congratulations to an old friend

Just learned that Alan Snel, an old pal of mine down in Tampa who also is undoubtedly the world’s most intense bicyclist, has won a significant professional award.

Al organized last fall’s first “Bicycle Bash by the Bay,” a celebration of bicycling that attracted dozens of experienced cyclists and cycling newcomers. This week, the Florida Bicycle Association named the Bash the Event of the Year.

Al already is hard at work putting together the second annual Bash, which will take place November 4 at Vinoy Park on the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg.

A decade ago, Al was a pioneer in the genre of sports business reporting. He worked for newspapers in Denver, Seattle and elsewhere, and was the producer of a sports business website for one of the networks. A couple of years ago, he created his own job as marketing director for a group of bicycle shops around Tampa Bay. He usually starts his days with a quick 40- or 50-mile bike ride, and he’s made two cross-country bicycle trips.

Al’s blog, “Bike Stories,” can be seen at http://alansnel.com/blog/.

I’ve known Al since the early 1990s, when we covered the same political beat in South Florida for competing newspapers fighting like cats and dogs for the same readers. We’d spend our days trying to beat each other’s brains out on the beat, then often meet at the local ballpark after work for beers and minor league baseball.

So, hey Al, congratulations. This is an impressive achievement.

By the way, the screen grab of Al on his bike is lifted from a blog called SideSalad, produced by Jeff Houck, another old pal from my days in the Florida journalism wars. Jeff’s lively and very hip blog is always worth a visit at http://www.sidesalad.net/.

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