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City Bike Tampa Urban Restaurant Tour

by Meghann on May 17, 2011

If anyone needs any proof on why social media is important for small businesses or people in new towns, I think my experience tonight is a great example.

You see when I moved to Tampa back in March I started following just about every Tampa based group there is on twitter and on Facebook. I’m twitter obsessed and the ability to follow these groups new groups was my ticket to all the fun things happening in my new hometown. If you’re new somewhere, finding groups through social media is a good way to learn about the area.

I just happened to be on twitter last week when I saw this random tweet come through from one of those groups.

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10 spots left? 10 spots left for what? hmmm….You’ve caught my attention.

A quick review of tweets and a look at the website later… I struck gold.

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An Urban Restaurant Tour? In downtown Tampa? On a bike?

Sold!

What a great way to try some new restaurants while staying active in downtown!

I immediately registered and happily forked over the $8 registration fee, which included all the food as well as the bike tour. Told you it was gold!

I was so excited when I discovered the tour – and worried about it selling out – that I didn’t have time to find a friend to go with me. I tried to find a friend afterwards, but by then it was sold out. Boo. Instead of caving in, I decided to go on my own. If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that not finding another person to do something with me, will never stop me from doing it. πŸ™‚

This afternoon I put my big girl pants off and met the Urban Restaurant Tour alone at it’s first stop at Sono Cafe’ at the Tampa Museum of Art.

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I was one of the first one’s there, which meant I got a free water bottle out of deal. Sweet.

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Sono had an assortment of paninis to feed the crowd.

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I tried the caprese salad and mushroom pesto paninis. They were both alright. They were served cold, but you could tell they were meant to be served hot.

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I was a bigger fan of the peanut butter gelato.

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Now, that stuff was GOOD.

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At first I was really shy and nervous. I kept walking circles and began sheepishly eyeing all the groups of people. Then someone started talking to me. Then another. And another.

And before I knew it – I had made friends.

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Everyone on the bike tour was super outgoing and friendly. Many of them ran in the same circles, hung out in the same running groups, or had bumped into each other at past races. It was a very active crowd that taught me a great deal about what to do and see in the area.

I spent most of the evening handing out my business card (Hi Guys!!!) and discussing running, biking, half ironman training, and photography with everyone. The tour was a great way to network and make new friends, I was grateful that attending as a party of one didn’t hold me back from going!

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After our first stop, we hopped on out bikes and headed to Harbor Island for round two.

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It was a very eclectic group of cyclists! There were road bikes, beach cruisers, mountain bikes, hybrids, etc. Basically, if it had two wheels and it moved, then you were good to go.

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However, I was a little discouraged by the lack of helmets in the group. Safety first people!

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Stop #2 was That’s Amore – a cute little Italian restaurant on Harbor Island.

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There was a cap of 100 people on the tour. 100 people = a lot of bikes!

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That’s Amore had Bruschetta and Pasta with a Vodka sauce. (I only had a couple of bites of each, but both were delicious – especially the bruschetta!)

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Stop #3 was just a quick ride over the river to Columbia Cafe.

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Salad and Cuban Sandwiches were on the menu

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I took the opportunity to purchase a beer (alcohol was not included in the $8. bummer.)

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The sun was beginning to set as we were leaving the Columbia Cafe. Luckily, I had just purchased some nifty lights for my bike. Again, safety first!

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Stop #4 was The Garage in downtown

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A buffet of salad and wraps were awaiting us

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I was getting full by this point. I just ate some of the salad and the filling of the tasty spinach and mushroom wrap.

Before:

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After:

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Final Stop: PIzza Fusion!

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I was so sad when they closed the one in Orlando! I’m happy to see it alive and well in downtown Tampa. πŸ™‚

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LOVED the bacon and pineapple sliver. That pizza was good!

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And dessert πŸ™‚

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My new friends and I split the gigantic brownie

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They did a raffle at the end of the tour, then everyone said good night!

The event itself was so much fun and riding between places actually gave the food time to digest, so I was never stuffed (little bites helped too!). πŸ™‚

City Bike Tampa hosts the tour the last Thursday of every month (tonight’s tour was a new time slot they were testing out) and next month’s will be an ode to Ybor. The 100 spots sell out quickly (hence this month’s add on), so be sure to follow them on twitter or Facebook to have up to the minute information when the tickets are released.

Anyone interested in signing up for next month’s with me? πŸ˜‰

1 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) May 18, 2011 at 12:05 am

I would LOVE to do something like that! I’m totally going to Google it and see if there’s one in my area πŸ™‚ It’s so brave of you to go to it by yourself. I am painfully shy / awkward, so I would never do something like that!
Kate (What Kate is Cooking) recently posted..Nothing Special

2 Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food May 18, 2011 at 12:10 am

What an AWESOME event! I so wish that I could join for next month!

It’s such a great idea because you get to work off some of the food and actually have appetite for the subsequent tastes. I really wish I lived in a warmer climate! πŸ™‚ Hope you have a restful night’s sleep! πŸ™‚

3 RunEatRepeat May 18, 2011 at 12:16 am

I can’t sign up because I’m afraid of biking in groups. That, and I’m in CA…
RunEatRepeat recently posted..French Fries and Tums

4 Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet May 18, 2011 at 12:17 am

Wow that sounds like so much fun! My town is way too traffic-heavy to ever do anything like that, but I would definitely do one if I had the chance.

Question, how do you find groups on Twitter/Facebook based on the town?? How do you know what options are out there??
Liv @ The Salty n’ Sweet recently posted..More Macau

5 Emma (Namaste Everyday) May 18, 2011 at 4:15 am

that sounds like so much fun! I’m also really impressed that you went alone. You are so brave!
Emma (Namaste Everyday) recently posted..β€œAnd now for the Dancing Pants”

6 Hats @ See How She Runs May 18, 2011 at 4:38 am

What a great idea! And props for going by yourself – I need to start doing that.
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7 Hats @ See How She Runs May 18, 2011 at 4:38 am

What a great idea! And props for going by yourself – I need to start doing that.
Hats @ See How She Runs recently posted..Fitblog Plank Challenge

8 Jumanah (Healthy Living in the Middle East) May 18, 2011 at 5:12 am

A restaurant bike tour sounds so fun! I wish they did something like that where I live! What a great way to meet some fun people!
Jumanah (Healthy Living in the Middle East) recently posted..Huge

9 Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] May 18, 2011 at 5:43 am

So fun! I think doing something by yourself is the best way to meet people. You are way more approachable! I travel alone frequently and usually don’t have trouble meeting people. Three cheers for independent girls, yay Meghann!
Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] recently posted..Van Gogh Tour

10 Rhona @ Redwinerunner.co.uk May 18, 2011 at 6:24 am

Wow that looks like so much fun, and I can’t believe it was only $8! What a great way to meet new active friends πŸ™‚
I love doing stuff my myself – I love to travel alone especially; I love my partner and friends but I’m at my happiest when I’m by myself making my own decisions.

11 Lauren May 18, 2011 at 6:47 am

What a fun idea! Way to get out there and try new things and meet new people! πŸ™‚
Lauren recently posted..Why I Wont Have a Good Week

12 Courtney W May 18, 2011 at 7:16 am

Me me me! That looked like a lot of fun and like you got your $8 worth of food!
Courtney W recently posted..Florida Half-Ironman

13 Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out May 18, 2011 at 7:17 am

Very cool event. And so proud of you for going by yourself! I had to do that a couple of times after my divorce. It can be nerve wracking!
Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out recently posted..Pity Party Day

14 Erin May 18, 2011 at 7:22 am

That sounds like an amazing thing to do!! I’ve heard of similar things in Chicago but I’m pretty sure they cost more than $8. You definitely struck gold with yours.
Erin recently posted..Weekly Workout Wround Up

15 Steph@321delish May 18, 2011 at 7:29 am

So Cool! I would LOVE to do one of these in DC! And, OMG that Peanut Butter Gelato woudl def be my favorite!!
Steph@321delish recently posted..Race Recap- 321delish Takes on the Kinetic Sprint

16 Megan (Running Foodie) May 18, 2011 at 9:22 am

Steph, have you done a DC Metro Food Tour? I did the Capitol Hill Tour the last time I was in DC. It’s definitely pricier than the one Meghann did (and not on a bike), but was a really great tour that included food, history, architecture, and politics! Here’s the website: http://www.dcmetrofoodtours.com/
Megan (Running Foodie) recently posted..A Little GU Love

17 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey May 18, 2011 at 7:32 am

That looks like a blast! I never feel weird going places by myself – in fact, I kind of like it more because I am more apt to make new friends and branch out! And I can’t lie – I don’t wear a helmet.
chelsey @ clean eating chelsey recently posted..food phases

18 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun May 18, 2011 at 7:42 am

What a NEAT idea. That looks like so much fun.
Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun recently posted..Winners- Features- &amp Runs

19 Holly @ The Runny Egg May 18, 2011 at 7:48 am

What a cool event — and only $8? That is awesome.
Holly @ The Runny Egg recently posted..Pizza Bread

20 Amy May 18, 2011 at 8:02 am

Wow, you are brave, girl! Way to go. I totally would have chickened out on going by myself. πŸ™‚ Glad you had fun!
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21 Alaina May 18, 2011 at 8:03 am

That sounds like so much fun! What a great way to meet new people, eat at new restaurants and get in some exercise. If I lived in the area, I would definitely want to attend that. πŸ™‚
Alaina recently posted..5 Napkin Burger

22 jill May 18, 2011 at 8:13 am

yes! but i dont have a bike so that might be a problem.

i think i drove past you guys on the way home from work yesterday.

where is the columbia in tampa?? i thought it was only in ybor and st. pete. their 1905 salad is so good.

23 breakingsilence @ Freshman -15 May 18, 2011 at 10:57 am

There’s a Columbia Cafe (a limited menu version of the REAL Columbia) at the Tampa History Center (downtown, right across the street from the St. Pete Times Forum). It’s delish. I love their black bean soup!
breakingsilence @ Freshman -15 recently posted..Oh hey summer- whats up!

24 Hope May 18, 2011 at 8:14 am

That is SUCH an awesome event for only $8! What a bargain! You are brave! I don’t think I would have been able to go by myself. I can tend to be on the shy side. That is definitely a great way to meet new people and make new friends! πŸ™‚
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25 Krissy @ Shiawase Life May 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

That looks like SO much fun! And you look great, I love your shorts – do you know where they are from? I am having the hardest time finding cute ones like those!!
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26 Rachel @ The Perseverance Diaries May 18, 2011 at 8:57 am

That looks like such a blast! Really, what a great concept. They should have something like that in NYC. Combining food and exercise sounds like a good time to me.

I think it’s great you go out and do stuff even if you’re alone. I’ve learned through the past few years after moving to the big City that you have to be comfortable going to events/parties alone. It takes a lot of confidence but it can be fun and the networking possibilities are endless πŸ™‚
Rachel @ The Perseverance Diaries recently posted..A Week in Pictures

27 Gina @Runningtothekitchen May 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

That sounds like such a cool event! Wish I lived even remotely close to some sort of “city” to have the opportunity to do things like that.
Gina @Runningtothekitchen recently posted..Ode to Ireland

28 Ali May 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

This sounds like such a great event!! What a great opportunity to see more of your new city and make new friends!
Ali recently posted..Race Plans

29 Bridget May 18, 2011 at 9:22 am

That looks like so much fun! I may have to see if they have that in Michigan anywhere….

30 Daniella SMF May 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

This sounds so fun! And delicious. What a good way to meet some new people.
Daniella SMF recently posted..Green River Valley!

31 Mel May 18, 2011 at 10:20 am

I love being by myself sometimes but can be awquard in social settings alone. I’m so glad you went though. Major props!! Did Derrick not want to go?

32 steph May 18, 2011 at 10:20 am

If I lived the area, I would sign up for the next one in a heartbeat! It looks like so much fun!

33 Sara May 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

This looks like so much fun! And you are so brave to go by yourself, I need to step out of my comfort zone more often so that I dont miss fun events and the chance to make new friends in my city!

34 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather May 18, 2011 at 10:46 am

That sounds like so much fun! I love finding ways to be active and social at the same time. What a fun time!

35 Shanna, Like Banana May 18, 2011 at 10:50 am

What? This sounds like the most fabulous thing ever and for so dirt cheap. I am green with envy. If I lived in FL, I’d be there in a heartbeat.

36 J May 18, 2011 at 10:55 am

You are so brave to go by yourself! What an awesome idea, though- wish they had something like this in DC!
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37 Sarah May 18, 2011 at 11:12 am

What an awesome event! Biking + food and for only 8 bucks. You totally lucked out with that.

Going into a group setting like that by yourself is definitely awkward at first. Glad to see you made new friends and had a good time!
Sarah recently posted..Run Bake Bike

38 Samantha May 18, 2011 at 11:21 am

Wow, that looks like so much fun! I’m gonna have to scope around and see if they have something like this in NYC. Awesome!

39 Errign May 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

Great event πŸ™‚ so glad you’re having a great time exploring Tampa!

So totally with you on the helmet thing, but I’m curious – why don’t you feel the same way about wearing a helmet while skiing/snowboarding? πŸ™‚ (totally not trying to be a d-bag, honestly just curious!)
Errign recently posted..My Favorite Strength Routine

40 Jason & Kellie Cyr May 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Meghann,

THANK YOU SO MUCH for the awesome review, link sharing and these great pics from last night! You picked a great evening to join us and we hope to see you again and again and again…along with all of your faithful followers.

– Jason & Kellie (Owners, City Bike Tampa)
Jason & Kellie Cyr recently posted..May 17 and 26 Urban Restaurant Tour Route and Itinerary

41 Katy (The Singing Runner) May 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Looks like a great way to experience a city! Wish they had one of those here in Jax! Maybe I’ll have to go down to Tampa to do it! It would give me a good excuse to go down there. πŸ˜‰
Katy (The Singing Runner) recently posted..I Have A Box

42 Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles May 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm

What a brilliant idea! It’s stuff like this that I miss living in the country. No urban bike tours to cool restaurants. So glad you were able to stumble upon the opportunity.
Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles recently posted..I Loved This Book-The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

43 Lauren May 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

That looks like so much fun! Why didn’t I partake in any of these things when I (very briefly) lived in Tampa? I am filled with regret. πŸ™

Anyway, good for you for going as a party of one! If my boyfriend/friends are unavailable to accompany me to something I really want to go to, I almost always go by myself. I just did this with a concert a couple months ago. Initially I was convinced I’d feel awkward the whole time, but I ended up having so much fun, and meeting a lot of cool, friendly people.
Lauren recently posted..Run in the New Year

44 Lorin May 18, 2011 at 1:53 pm

That sounds like so much fun! Too bad I’m all the way in California or else I would totally check it out for myself. I don’t mind doing things by myself, sometimes it gives you more freedom. One time I went to the movies by myself, it was really nice; not that I don’t love hanging out with people too, I’m just an independent person I guess πŸ™‚ Actually in San Luis Obispo there’s this event called BIke night which is the first Thursday of every month where a bunch of people after Farmer’s ride around downtown and do a bunch of loops, a lot of college kids πŸ™‚

45 Brittney May 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

That’s awesome! I wish Charlotte had that!
Brittney recently posted..Cooking For Two Is Better Than One

46 Colleen May 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I had to open a twitter account for work and I was pretty reluctant, but now I am addicted! So cool to find activities like that!

47 Laura May 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm

that seems so fun!! and props to you for going alone. i have to ask, why couldn’t you have drug derrick to it? it seems that it would be something he’d enjoy too…?

48 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife May 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm

oh my goodness! that is SO freakin’ cool. I wish they had that where I live!

49 Fallon May 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Wow that looks like it was a blast! Great idea.
Fallon recently posted..Baked Chicken Taquitos

50 Stephanie @ LiveCookLove May 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm

This is encouraging to me because I’m heading to BlogHerFood this weekend and I’m also going solo!!! I’m really nervous that I won’t meet friends, but with so many other bloggers, I know I will be able to πŸ™‚

Looks like this event was a blast!!

51 bobbi May 18, 2011 at 3:42 pm

HOW fun! You know if I was close by I would be right there with you girl!

52 Clare @ Fitting It All In May 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm

It makes me feel so good to see you doing things on your own! I’m attending a social media event in st. louis tomorrow all alone and I’m so nervous.
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53 Kristin @ FoodFash May 18, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I’ve been wanting to do one of these but my bike is perma-locked to the bike rack (my mom lost the key!). And… I live in the building The Garage is in, so now you’ll know how to get here for a pool day this summer!
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54 Ashley May 19, 2011 at 4:48 am

A list of London twitter groups would be soooo helpful!

55 Amy @ Love4Living May 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Wow, that is so awesome! What a great idea! I wonder if Boston has something like that? Hmmm
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56 Charise May 20, 2011 at 9:12 am

This sounds like such a fun outing! I don’t have a bike, but in general a restaurant crawl with like-minded people would be good times.
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