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Pedal Your Way Around Tampa in a Bike-'Flintstones' Car Hybrid Pedal Your Way Around Tampa in a Bike-'Flintstones' Car Hybrid

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Pedal Your Way Around Tampa in a Bike-'Flintstones' Car Hybrid

freewheel.jpgSure, you could get around Tampa in a fancy, air-conditioned lounge on wheels. Or you could schmooze with convention attendees while riding a tandem bike on steroids.

Health insurance company Humana's convention strategy is to promote a healthy and environmentally friendly way of getting around Central Florida by offering attendees "pedal buses." The vehicles have roofs, three rows and move when passengers pedal. Think of a bicycle-Flintstones car hybrid, with a very low carbon footprint.

"One of the things we're very explicitly working to do is to encourage people to change their level of activity," said Humana's central Florida market president Scott Latimer.

Humana offered bike-sharing through its Freewheelin program at the 2008 conventions. This year's Republican National Convention will have 10 pedal buses, scaled back from the originally-planned 20 due to Hurricane Isaac, and the Democratic National Convention will have 20. The buses run along routes.

Conventions aren't typically thought of as places to promote healthy habits and keep the calories to a minimum -- open bar, anyone? -- but Latimer said "the reason to do this is to raise some consciousness. And it's a social environment where people can do something a little different."

But will the Republican faithful really want to forgo cabs, cars and buses in lieu of cycling in the midst of the humid southern summer?

"Obviously, we certainly hope so," Latimer said, adding that each bus stop will have fresh cut fruit and cold water to help riders cool down.

And if that isn't enough to lure riders, perhaps a little healthy (pun intended) competition is; Humana will keep track of the numbers of riders and miles pedaled at each convention to see whether the GOP or Dems will win.

Photo courtesy of Humana/Flickr. Freewheelin pedal bus riders go past Tampa Theatre at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 26.

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