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City Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator named 2018 Bicycle Professional of Year

Post Date:03/12/2019 2:45 PM

Culpepper_DarleneCity of Venice Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator Darlene Culpepper has been named the 2018 Bicycle Professional of the Year by the Florida Bicycle Association.

“Your hard work and dedication to bicycling is to be commended and celebrated,” Florida Bicycle Association Executive Director Becky Alfonso wrote in a letter to Culpepper notifying her of the award.

Culpepper, who has been with the City Engineering Department since July 2016, leads a monthly 6-mile bicycle ride around the island of Venice, open to the public. The next ride is at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 13; those interested can just bring their bike and a helmet to Venice City Hall.

“The purpose of the award is to bring attention to the efforts and achievements of groups, organizations and individuals that help shape our vision for all Florida bicyclists to be safe, respected and encouraged to bicycle for transportation and recreation. So when I received my letter, I was completely surprised and excited,” Culpepper said. “It is a good feeling when you are recognized for doing what you love. I love riding my bicycle and I want others to love it too.

“To promote a safer environment for cyclists, we need more people out there riding. It brings awareness to the motorists that we are here. My monthly ride does just that -- I teach safety while riding on the streets and how to ride and communicate in a group. I recently attended a Ride Leader/Ride Marshal Course that was held by the Florida Bicycle Association and received my certificate as an official Ride Leader. This allows me to have more confidence in leading and teaching others how to ride safely.

“I am very honored to receive such an award, when I know there are so many others putting forth great efforts to promote safe cycling as well.”

Said City Engineer Kathleen Weeden, “The City is so lucky to have an expert like Darlene on our team. She brings a very positive approach and is dedicated to improving bicycle and pedestrian safety by educating riders and improving facilities in the City.”

Culpepper will be presented with her award during the March 26 City Council meeting, as March is Florida Bicycle Month. Venice is also a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community.

Culpepper and her husband Wes have owned and operated Bicycles International in Venice since December 2014.

She can be reached at dculpepper@venicegov.com or 941-882-7448.

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